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Winner Announced: Build Your Own TEDxChange

Muhammad Yunus, Michelle Rhee, Pierre Ferrari, and Anders Wilhelmson, plus a performance by the Arcade Fire. That's part of the winning lineup.

We're happy to announce the winner of our contest, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in which we asked readers to come up with their ideal TEDxChange lineup. The winner is Chandra Wroblewski, whose lineup—Muhammad Yunus (pictured), Michelle Rhee, Pierre Ferrari, and Anders Wilhelmson (with musical guest Arcade Fire)—had the most exciting and topical selection of speakers. On top of that, it has an amazing idea audience interaction: social network gaming.

You can read all of Wroblewski's submission below, and you can see the other top five finalists here. We would like to thank everyone who participated. We hope to see all your suggestions at a TED event soon.

Chandra Wroblewski's TEDxChange:


Muhammad Yunus

Founder of Graamen Bank, “Bank for the Poor," Economist, Noble Peach Prize Winner

From Bangladesh

Graamen Bank, founded by Muhammad Yunus, provides small loans (micro-financing) to the world’s poorest people that otherwise could not secure a loan. Over 90 percent of his clientele are women, who are given a chance at a successful career through these services.

Video about starting his bank

Grameen bank website

Video: ideas on social business model

Michelle Rhee

Founder and CEO of Students First, Founder of The New Teacher Project, Former Chancellor of District of Columbia Schools

From Washington, D.C.

Activist and voice behind the push to fix the United States’ failing school systems, while her struggle may be more local, she once said “… if the country can make its education system the best in the world, economic success will follow.” Rhee faced much criticism during her tenure in the District, but is now moving forward with her mission to transform public education by putting the “students first.”

Students First

The New Teacher Project

Video: Waiting for 'Superman'

Video: inspiration to teach

Video, Oprah announcing students first

Pierre Ferrari

Chief Executive Officer at Heifer International, Board Member, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, President, Hot Fudge Social Venture Fund

From Congo, Kenya, and England

Ferrari left the Fortune 500 world to give his knowledge and expertise to social needs, beginning with CARE. A social entrepreneur, Ferrari currently leads Heifer International that uses an interesting approach to aid those in need: giving families livestock and training to “help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways.”

Heifer International

Video about Heifer

Video: 30-second mba

Anders Wilhelmson

Inventor of Peepoo, Architect

From Stockholm, Sweden

Wilhelmson, an architect by trade, invented the “Peepoo,” a single use biodegradable toilet bag created to provide sanitization to the over two million people globally without toilets. His invention is urea-lined so it first breaks down feces and then becomes an effective fertilizer.

Peepoo website

Video on peepoo

Video: TEDxstockholm

Musical Interlude

Arcade Fire

Aside from being an incredibly talented, internationally recognized band, they have a record of supporting good causes including need in Haiti through Partners in Health and most recently they pledged to match up to $1 million in support of Haiti through Foundation KANPE. They were nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year and recently won FWA’s website of the year, which shows their forward thinking nature and ability to engage their audience.

from Montreal, Canada

Singer, Régine Chassagne, originally from Haiti

Ways to Engage a Global Audience:

It’s game time!

Create a social networking game. For example, Global Mind Games challenges users to create solutions to the world’s problems through a Facebook application. The questions are not overly challenging, but it makes people think, become aware of issues, and get involved. It would also come up on News feeds to let friends and family know they are participating in TED virtually.

There could be TED specific questions that people can answer throughout the day. At TEDxChange a side screen could highlight some participants’ answers with their location and age. To break up the day, TED could Skype chat with a few participants about their answers. A simple, 15-second chat with a variety of people across the globe.


I was looking for an interesting mix of people to cover all areas that are important for global development and health. At first, someone might listen to these speakers’ stories and say “What were you thinking?” That, to me, makes it more interesting and shows they are truly thinking outside the box.

* Give money to people who might not pay you back?
* Shake up bureaucracy for student development?
* Create a poop bag? For… people?
* Free cows? Overseas?

My line-up features people of different trades, nationalities, locations, gender, ages, and causes – but they all have one thing in common, which is to believe in the potential of all people in the world. Each speaker’s ideas and approach to change betters the global community – improving education, creating opportunities, finding simple solutions, believing in one another, and lending a helping hand.

Additionally, I particularly like this line-up because all these speakers are smart, educated, very fortunate people that could have simply worked to make money, but made something more. If you listen to their stories you’ll notice they didn’t anticipate being where they are today -- Rhee, expected maybe to be a doctor. Yunus, always surprised about the new venture. Wilhemson, an architect by trade. Ferrari, making plenty of money at Coca-Cola. They all took their time and talents to create unique, sometimes controversial, solutions to help people near and far.

It’s inspirational to say they least, and I believe TEDxChange participants will learn a great deal about global development and health through these speakers.

Photo, by Hossain Toufique Iftekher, via Wikimedia Commons.

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