Kester Brewin biography

Kester BrewinKester Brewin teaches mathematics in South East London and is also an author and broadcaster. He has written and presented for BBC Radio 4, and spoke at TEDxExeter in 2013 on Mutiny! – his acclaimed work on pirate culture. His latest book Getting High – A savage journey to the heart of the dream of flight explores the human quest for altitude through the prism of the events of the 1960s. It has been praised by Simon Critchley, author of Bowie and Hans Jonas, professor of philosophy at the New School, New York, as ‘a beautiful meditation on flight, memory and meaning in a world still struggling to come to terms with the loss of the most high.’

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Kagemusha Taiko biography

Kagemusha TaikoDevon-based Kagemusha Taiko have toured in Japan as well as playing significant concerts in Europe and the USA, where they represented European taiko at the first World Taiko Concert in Los Angeles.  This performance at TEDx Exeter heralds a series of concerts to be played over the next few weeks, culminating in a headline performance at the 12th UK Taiko Festival, at the Exeter Northcott Theatre on 1st July.

Besides creating and performing original taiko work, Kagemusha Taiko deliver workshops in a wide range of situations, from special programmes for business leaders to access workshops for the general public, from workshops in mainstream schools to sessions for adults and young people with special needs. 

For the members of the group, taiko is more than just drumming. It’s a wonderful way to increase the global quotient of human happiness. Performers:  Jonathan Kirby, Lucy Thomas, Pippa Kirby, Oliver Kirby, Michael Brailey, George Howe, Esther Pike, Kate Montagne and Victoria Rowledge.

 

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Karima Bennoune biography

Karima Bennoune BW

Karima Bennoune is a professor of international law and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall Research Scholar at the University of California–Davis School of Law. She grew up in Algeria and the United States and now lives in California.

In 2015, she was appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights. During her first year in post, she focused on the issue which will be the subject of her 2017 TEDxExeter talk – the intentional destruction of cultural heritage as a violation of human rights. She authored two reports, including one for the General Assembly that was endorsed by Maestro Placido Domingo. She also carried out related country missions to Cyprus, Serbia and Kosovo. As special rapporteur, she has worked hard to promote the recognition of cultural heritage as a human rights issue, taking this message to diverse gatherings organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNESCO, the Smithsonian Institution, NATO, and others and ultimately seeing this view endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council. During the second year of her term, her priority will be the impact of diverse forms of fundamentalism and extremism on cultural rights.

In her personal capacity, she is the author of Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism, inspired by her father’s experiences in his native Algeria, and based on interviews with more than 300 people of Muslim heritage from more than 30 countries – including artists, museum directors, and cultural arts promoters – working against extremism and terror. The book won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2014, and was labelled one of the “books we should all be reading” by The Guardian. It was also the basis of her first TEDxExeter talk: When people of Muslim heritage confront fundamentalism which has been viewed nearly 1.4 million times.

She has appeared frequently on television and radio to discuss related issues, including on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox Business News, as well BBC Radio and National Public Radio, and has published widely in many leading academic journals, as well as in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian: Comment is Free, with Reuters and on the websites of the Huffington Post, Open Democracy and Al Jazeera English.

In 2016, she was honored by the International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law with its Rights and Leadership Award..

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Howard Johns biography

Howard JohnsHoward Johns works for a community-owned renewable energy revolution. He has founded and led an award winning solar business, a pioneering community-owned energy company and written a guide book to help others to do the same. He has campaigned on energy and climate issues from in treehouses and in parliament – and everywhere in between.

Author of Energy Revolution – Your guide to repowering the energy system, Howard is an energy engineer, entrepreneur, business leader and activist. Following his degree in energy technology and environment, he was a protested against, among other things, the digging of an open cast coal mine, and was evicted from a tree in the process.

Moving on from saying no to the problems, Howard set about building solutions, eventually founding a national solar energy company, and a locally owned renewable energy co-operative – the first one in the UK to build a solar energy project with a community share offer. At the same time he chaired the trade body representing the UK solar industry, finding himself campaigning on energy policy again in the process.

Howard is convinced we have all the technology and money we need to implement the right climate and energy solutions. Now it is time for lots of people to get involved in making it happen. He still works with his local community energy company Ovesco – to scale this project and increase its impact. He is also managing director of a business that manages hundreds of megawatts of solar power stations around the UK, as well as chairman of the positive climate change charity 10:10.

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Gulalai Ismail biography

Gulalai IsmailGulalai Ismail was just 16 when she co-founded Aware Girls, in Pakistan, with her sister, Saba. Driven by a passion to challenge a culture of intolerance and extremism, Gulalai and Saba began running workshops in their home town to provide girls and young women with leadership skills to challenge oppression and fight for their rights to an education and equal opportunities.

Based in Peshawar, north-west Pakistan, Aware Girls has grown into an internationally renowned organisation that has trained, empowered and inspired hundreds of youth in Pakistan since 2002.

A winner of the 2009 Youth Action Net Fellowship, the 2014 International Humanist Award and the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Award for Asia, Gulalai was named as one of Foreign Policy’s Global Thinkers in 2013 and has been featured by the BBC, Guardian, Huffington Post and more. In November 2016, Aware Girls was awarded the Chirac Peace Prize in recognition of their exceptional peacebuilding work in Pakistan.

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Matt Harvey biography

Matt HarveyPoet and lyricist Matt Harvey was first official Poet-in-Residence at the Wimbledon Championships (“brilliant” The New Yorker) and has been commissioned by – among others – the Science Museum, the Open University and the Energy Ombudsman. He has been a familiar voice on Radio 4 since 2001 when he co-wrote and co-starred in One Night Stanza. He also served seven years as regular poet on Saturday Live, hosted two series of The Wondermentalist Cabaret and wrote and performed the adventures of superhero Empath Man.

Matt is the author of The Hole in the Sum of my Parts, Where Earwigs Dare and Mindless Body Spineless Mind and two picture books for children, Shopping With Dad and Beastie and the Boys. With composer Stephen Deazley he collaborated on children’s song cycles A Little Book of Monsters and The Songbook of Unsingable Songs and with Thomas Hewitt Jones he wrote The Same Flame and the hit musical Rumpelstiltskin.

For three years he wrote the Desktop Poetry slot in the Guardian, and currently writes a regular column, Qwerty Something, for Resurgence Magazine. Matt was nominated for a PEA Award for the energy-inspired poems in The Element in the Room, written while Poet-in-Residence with RegenSW. His most recent book is Sit!, a collaboration with illustrator Claudia Schmid. He is a regular visitor to TEDxExeter.

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Andrew Solomon biography

Andrew Solomon photographed by Annie LiebowitzAndrew Solomon is a writer, lecturer and professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University. He is president of PEN American Center. He writes regularly for The New Yorker and the New York Times.

Andrew’s newest book, Far and Away: Reporting from the brink of change, seven continents, twenty five years was published in April, 2016. He is author of many previous books including Far From the Tree: Parents, children and the search for identity, which won the National Book Critics Circle award for nonfiction, the Wellcome Prize and 22 other national awards. It tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so. It was a New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback editions.

An activist in LGBT rights, mental health, education and the arts, Andrew is a member of the boards of directors of the National LGBTQ Force and Trans Youth Family Allies. He is a member of the Board of Visitors of Columbia University Medical Center, serves on the National Advisory Board of the Depression Center at the University of Michigan, is a director of Columbia Psychiatry and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. He also serves on the boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yaddo and The Alex Fund, which supports the education of Romani children. Andrew is also a fellow of Berkeley College at Yale University and a member of the New York Institute for the Humanities and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Andrew is a regular on the TED stage. His talk Love no matter what featured at TEDMED in 2013. Later that year he also spoke at TEDxMet on Depression, the secret we share. The video of Andrew’s TED2014 talk How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are, was also shown at TEDxExeter 2015. 

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Vik Mohan biography

Vik MohanDr Vik Mohan is a GP in Exeter, medical director at Blue Ventures Conservation, and the architect of Blue Ventures’ award-winning integrated health and conservation programme.

While working with communities in Madagascar on Blue Ventures’ community-based marine conservation programme, Vik’s interest in community health led him to uncover a huge unmet need for health care, and sexual and reproductive health care in particular. Responding to this need, he led the development of the region’s first sexual and reproductive health service and oversaw its integration into the Blue Ventures’ activities, to form an integrated population, health and environment programme.

Improved natural resource management and community resilience, through to improvements in maternal and child health are some of the many benefits Vik has seen as a result of nearly 10 years of working in this way. He now wants to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from this “whole system” approach to conservation and sustainable development. He now focuses on supporting  others to adopt this approach, in Madagascar and beyond.

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Christina Lamb biography

Christina LambChristina Lamb is one of Britain’s leading foreign correspondents and a bestselling author. She has reported from most of the world’s hotspots but her particular passions are Afghanistan and Pakistan which she has covered since an unexpected wedding invitation led her to Karachi in 1987 aged just 21.

Within two years Christina had been named Young Journalist of the Year. Since then she has won numerous awards including five times being named Foreign Correspondent of the Year and Europe’s top war reporting prize, the Prix Bayeux. She was made an OBE in 2013. In 2016 she won the Foreign Press Association award for Feature of the Year for reporting on the Chibok girls in Nigeria and in 2015 Amnesty International’s Newspaper Journalist of the Year for reporting from inside Libyan detention centres.

Currently chief foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times of London, Christina’s postings have included South Africa, Pakistan, Brazil and Washington and she has recently reported on the refugee crisis across Europe and the Yazidi women enslaved by ISIS in Iraq.

Christina has written eight books including the bestselling The Africa House and I Am Malala and is a patron of Afghan Connection and on the board of the Institute of War and Peace Reporting. Her latest books are Farewell Kabul; From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World and Nujeen; One Girl’s Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair.

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Gill Hayes biography

Gill Hayes

A four month sabbatical in the French Alps in 2008 gave Gill Hayes and her family space and time to think about what was really important to them in life. As a result her husband sold his business and they relocated to Devon for a better quality of life for themselves and their children.

Gill decided to retrain as a yoga teacher. However, ‘living the dream’ didn’t go quite according to plan and she became severely depressed. By sharing her story of recovery, Gill wishes to spread hope to others with depression, to challenge some of the beliefs around mental illness and to encourage us to all to play a role in the mental health revolution.

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