x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Fulbright Alumni: Inspiration and Innovation

This event occurred on
April 24, 2012
9:30am - 8:00pm GST
(UTC +4hrs)
Cambridge, MA
United States

Each year, several thousand people from around the world are awarded a prestigious Fulbright scholarship to teach and do research in fields related to science and technology.

The TEDxFulbright gathering in April 2012 had 74 Fulbright scholars, alumni and special guests. We wanted to create an opportunity for these bright minds to share their inspirations, their innovations and their ideas. We wanted to leverage our unique knowledge and skills and create opportunities for collaboration -- in essence, be a catalyst for change.

This was the inaugural TEDxFulbright meeting. A small planning team of Fulbright alumni based in North Carolina, Virginia, Minnesota, Maine, Massashusetts and Germany did most of the work. The Fulbright Exchange Program was not involved in the planning or implementation of the TEDxFulbright meeting; the meeting was being organized by the alumni. Alumni in Germany have agreed to work with us on the second TEDxFulbright in November 2012.

The registration fee covered the cost of lunch, coffee breaks and some of the organizational costs (such as videotaping and posting the video to the web). TEDx meetings include a video presentation, we also showed four talks given at prior TEDs by alumni of the Fulbright Exchange Program.

Many thanks to the Fulbright Academy of Science & Technology and the British Consulate, the main sponsors for the event.

British Consulate
One Broadway
Cambridge, MA
United States
See more ­T­E­Dx­Fulbright events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Tala Khudairi

Dr Tala Khudairi has been Dean of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (S.T.E.M.) at Roxbury Community College since 2007. Tala was born in Baghdad. Science runs in her family: her father is a botanist and her mother has a master’s degree in entomology. She attended elementary school and part of middle school in Iraq and came to the USA with her parents at the start of the Iran-Iraq War. Because of her math ability, Tala studied electrical engineering and biomedical engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and then earned a Master of Science in cardiopulmonary sciences and clinical exercise physiology and a Ph.D. in Biology/Pharmaceutical Sciences from Northeastern University. Tala’s 2010-2011 Fulbright allowed her to spend time at the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan, where she joined the Faculty of Pharmacy as a Visiting Professor. While work focused on “Teaching and Learning of STEM Programs”, her memories of Jordan were also impacted by the “Arab Spring.”

Nishant Lalwani

Nishant Lalwani found his calling in the world of international development, via a stint with the United Nations Development Program in Zambia. In 2007 he joined The Monitor Group Mumbai, where he helped found Monitor Inclusive Markets, a specialist consultancy and think tank that supports social enterprises in emerging markets. His work on market-based solutions for poverty has been published in India, Europe and the United States, including the Harvard Business Review in 2011. Nishant sits on the Board of Directors of Shivia, an Indian microfinance institution, and has acted as an advisor on education policy to the Indian government. Back in 2003, he set up the UK’s first student Speed Dating company, but later sold it and became a strategy consultant, working with Marakon Associates for three years in London, Amsterdam, Switzerland and New York. Nishant graduated from Christ’s College, Cambridge with Bachelors and Masters degrees in Aeronautical Engineering. In college, directed several plays, played for the football and cricket teams and was President of the Photography Society. As a Fulbright Scholar in 2011-12, he is completing an MBA at Harvard Business School.

Larry Hott

Lawrence R. Hott has been producing documentary films since 1978, when he left the practice of law to join Florentine Films. Most of his films have been broadcast on national PBS: Through Deaf Eyes, American Masters John James Audubon: Drawn From Nature, Niagara Falls, The Return of the Cuyahoga, Wild By Law and Imagining Robert to name just a few. He is now producing Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America and Rising Voices: The Revitalization of the Lakota Language. His awards include an Emmy, two Academy Award nominations, the duPont-Columbia Journalism Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, five American Film Festival Blue Ribbons, and Fourteen CINE Golden Eagles. Because the TEDxFulbright event is hosted by the British Consulate, he plans on talking about the making of a documentary on The War of 1812 and the recent changes in documentary production. Larry was the Fulbright Fellow in Film and Television in the United Kingdom in 1994.

Mary Ann Bates

Mary Ann Bates is a policy manager at MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). She manages J-PAL’s policy publications, which disseminate findings from randomized impact evaluations of anti-poverty programs around the world, with the mission of reducing poverty by ensuring that policy is based on scientific evidence. She began her life in Ohio’s Amish Country. Her passion for working to improve educational and life prospects for others stems from experiences opened to her when her parents chose to leave the community. (For example, she and her brother were the first of her extended family to attend high school.) She spent her Fulbright year (2006) in Bern, Switzerland connecting historical narratives of early Amish history to current debates about minorities and multiculturalism in Switzerland. She thenn pursued international development projects in Jordan and Thailand. She holds a B.A. from Denison University and a Master of Public Policy from UC Berkeley.

Catherine Craig

Dr. Craig is the founder and President of Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, International (www.cpali.org) and a Research Associate at Harvard University. She was a Fulbright Research Scholar in Madagascar from 2007-2008. With SEPALI Madagascar’s team, a spin-off of CPALI, she is teaching local farmers how to raise native species of silkworms and inter-crop native host plants on their farms. Farmers are able to increase their tradable income by 30%-200% while enhancing the barrier forest around the Makira Protected Area (MPA), the largest remaining block of forest in Madagascar and that is critical to the survival of multiple species of endangered plants and animals found no where else in the world. Prior to founding CPALI, Dr. Craig served on the biology faculty of Yale University. She has a twenty five-year record of teaching and course design, research and has published over thirty peer-reviewed papers, and written two books. She is a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Society, the American Association of University Women and received a BS from Stanford University, an MS from the University of California at Berkeley, and a PhD from Cornell University.

Eric Howard

Eric Howard has been running alumni programs for the Fulbright Academy of Science & Technology for nearly a decade. These are one-day forums to multi-day conferences and workshops on every continent except Australia and Antarctica, addressing topics such as sustainability, public health, digital media, and entrepreneurship. To support the programs, he has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and in-kind contributions from corporations, government agencies and foundations. He studied business at Georgetown University, and has degrees in geology and environmental policy from Wesleyan University and the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. In the 1990's, he worked for IUCN, WWF, UNEP and USAID. His 1989 Fulbright took him to (West) Germany, where he did research on regional planning.

Bulent Kiziltan

Bülent Kiziltan is a Research and Teaching Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics where he is also affiliated with the Institute for Theory and Computation at Harvard University. His current research focuses on the evolution of compact objects (e.g. neutron stars) which serve as unique tools to probe fundamental laws of Physics. His obsessive fascination with challenging fundamental questions led him to pursue a college degree in Physics despite pressure from his peers and teachers. Since then, he has been involved in research on the beautifully exotic compact piece of the larger cosmic jigsaw puzzle. Bülent Kiziltan was a Fulbright Scholar between 1998-2000. He received B.S. degrees from the Middle East Technical University in Turkey, and M.Sc. degrees from Pennsylvania State University and the University of California. After working as a consultant at the Space Telescope Science Institute (NASA), he earned a Ph.D. in Astronomy & Astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Sandra Knight

Sandra Knight is a medical doctor and in public health specialist, most recently with the Caribbean Regional Office of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she managed a regional AIDS program. Her work has focused on the development of HIV case-based surveillance systems, public health systems strengthening, and survey strategies of HIV infections in most-at-risk populations. In the past she has managed and implemented systems to strengthen programs relating to HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Dengue, H1N1, Hepatitis and chronic non-communicable diseases. She is past president of the Caribbean College of Family Physicians. She enjoys running marathons and is an expert Spanish speaker in addition to her native English. She received a Fulbright/ Humphrey fellowship to the Rollins School of Public Health/ Emory University.

Bob Massie

Bob Massie is the President and CEO of the New Economics Institute. An ordained Episcopal minister, he graduated from Princeton Unversity and Yale Divinity School. He aso received his doctorate in business policy from Harvard Business School in 1989. In 1993 he was a senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business. From 1989 to 1996 he taught at Harvard Divinity School, where he served as the director of the Project on Business, Values, and the Economy. His 1998 book, Loosing the Bonds: The United States and South Africa in the Apartheid Years, won the Lionel Gelber prize for the best book on international relations in the world. He was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1994 and a candidate for the United States Senate in 2011. Over his career he has created or led three ground-breaking sustainability organizations, serving as the president of Ceres (the largest coalition of investors and environmental groups in the United States), the co-founder and first chair of the Global Reporting Initiative, and the initiator of the Investor Network on Climate Risk which currently has over 100 members with combined assets over $10 trillion. His autobiography, A Song in the Night: A Memoir of Resilience, is being published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in 2012.

Justin Mih

Justin Mih is the CEO of Matrigen Life Technologies, a startup based in Worcester, MA that he founded after completing his Sc.D. at the Harvard School of Public Health. His company’s mission is to bring cell culture closer to life by replicating the softness of the body’s tissues in a Petri dish. Justin’s interest in the influence of physical forces on cell behaviors was cultivated during his 2003-04 Fulbright at Russia’s Institute for Biomedical Problems, which oversees biological studies conducted onboard the International Space Station. He is a co-inventor of three patent applications, filed while he was a graduate student, and a lead inventor of one.

Christina Page

Christina Page joined Yahoo! in July of 2007 and is the director of Climate and Energy Strategy to overseeing the company’s data center design efficiency, clean tech and climate initiatives. Christina provides technical support to Yahoo!’s all-volunteer Green Team, an employee group that harnesses the collective energy of Yahoos around the world to reduce Yahoo!’s carbon footprint and improve overall environmental practices. Prior to joining Yahoo!, Christina was a senior consultant on the Energy and Resources Team at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a Colorado-based “think-and-do tank” founded by energy efficiency guru Amory Lovins. She has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from Brown University and a Masters in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her Fulbright was to study Canadian perspectives on sustainability.

Tom Reid

Tom Reid manages the Energy and Sustainability Division for the VERTEX Companies, a Boston-based international environmental consulting firm. Prior to Boston, he lived in Europe (UK, Italy Spain) as a Fulbrighter to the European Union (2006-2007) and working in the program administration of the International MBA program at IE Business School in Madrid. He then spent several years working in green building consulting in Dubai. Originally from Kansas, Tom holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies and Spanish and a master’s in European Politics, Policy and Society granted jointly by the University of Bath (UK) and other members of the Euromaster’s consortium of European universities. Tom is a LEED® Accredited Professional (AP) and has has been an invited speaker on green building and sustainability at conferences and universities.

Organizing team


Boston, MA, United States
  • Alice Adams
  • Agatha Brzezinski
  • Saeb Ahsan
  • Liz Gabster
  • Julianne McCall
    Coordinator for Germany 2012
  • Scott Stevens
    Coordinator for Boston Logistics
  • Sam Kauffmann
    Video cordinator
  • Alvin Koh
    Still photographer