x = independently organized TED event

Theme: 2020s Under Construction

This event occurred on
November 14, 2020
12:00pm - 4:00pm CET
(UTC +1hr)
Göttingen, Niedersachsen

A construction site is a mysterious thing to bystanders. For the longest time it seems like nothing is really happening and then suddenly it is finished and you have an amazing building where the construction site once was. Our theme 2020s Under Construction aims to shed light on what’s going on behind the curtain of the construction site that is the upcoming decade. With climate change, digitalization, the fight against racism, fake news, a pandemic and many other things going on all at once, it is impossible to stay on top of things. Though seemingly unconnected, all these things work together in some way to construct our future. With this year’s TEDxUniGoettingen Conference we want to give you new perspectives and insights on a few of the many fields that are undergoing rapid change. So by the end the conference, we will be able to understand the change that is happening around us a little better. Maybe we will even be inspired to take charge of a small part of the construction site of the 2020s ourselves. This way, when the construction is finished, we will hopefully all find something we like.

Göttingen, Niedersachsen, 37073
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Aspasia Werner & Gbenga Afolabi

In some places oppression and discrimination are part of everyday life. However, most people consider these issues to be only present in lesser developed countries. Therefore, this talk focuses on the different manifestations of racism present in our global society. Gbenga Afolabi and AspaSia Werner, both students at the University of Göttingen will elaborate on this topic from a structural and personal perspective. Through this, they aim at fostering greater understanding of social inequality originating from institutional and mental frameworks.

Dr. Jeremy Walton

Cultural anthropologist
How might the neglected past help to form a blueprint for the future under construction? What might a dusty handful of coins from another era, preserved under a literal construction, teach us about dwelling together in the 2020s? In this talk, Jeremy F. Walton, a cultural anthropologist based at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (Göttingen) whose research focuses on the forms in which the past exists in the present, conveys us to a dusty lot in Zagreb, Croatia, where the past unexpectedly rises to the present in the form of coins from socialist Yugoslavia. By doing so, he draws attention to the ways in which individual and collective pasts are inseparable from the project of dwelling together in the future. He also reflects on the coins themselves as metaphors for endurance in inclement times and climes.

Dr. Jonatan Kurzwelly

Postdoctoral researcher
Why are identities important? And why are they dangerous? Dr Jonatan Kurzwelly is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Göttingen (Germany) and a research fellow at the University of the Free State (South Africa). His research and writing explore different aspects of personal and social identities, essentialism, nationalism, radicalisation, and various experimental and collaborative research methods. Jonatan holds two citizenships, German and Polish, but identifies with no nationality.

Dr. Marion Reichenbach

Livestock scientist
When is the last time you saw a cow? Despite the fact that we eat food every day, in our urban world, we are disconnected from our food systems. Marion Reichenbach is a livestock scientist at the Universities of Kassel and Göttingen. During her fieldwork in India on the impacts of urbanization on dairy production, she petted numerous cows while asking herself why and how urbanization dichotomizes rural and urban worlds. In her talk, Marion examines why the design of our food systems has to be changed because of urbanization and how this change can start during the decade to come.

Dr. Muhammad Jawad Noon

Medical doctor and researcher
Almost no platform is free from COVID-19 misinformation. This talk gives insight into how we should consume information during these turbulent times and how we can play a part in fighting the tidal wave of misinformation. Muhammad Jawad Noon is a medical doctor and researcher. He was the Noon Scholar at the University of Oxford, UK and currently works as a researcher at the University of Goettingen, Germany exploring precision global health, economics, and policy. His work has been covered by international authors, researchers and top media outlets including CNN News, Business Insider UK, MSN and Medical Daily.

Felix Dossmann

Business consultant
Digital transformation is a trending buzzword - but very few seem to know about its real potential and its risks. It is discussed in companies, IT circles and chat forums but it is not a matter of public discourse. Felix Dossmann is an old school nerd, a serial entrepreneur and has transformed food logistics with his software concepts. In his talk, Felix would like to show you how much we could do with the IT tools we already have if we as a a society knew about them and decided to apply them for the right causes, without sacrificing the convenience we’ve gotten used to.

Steve Sechrist

Study Abroad Advisor
Steve has worked in the field of international education for nearly 20 years. He spent the majority of his career in the US overseeing programs and services for international students, scholars and their families at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. In 2019 Steve and his family moved from the US to Germany. He now works at the University of Göttingen administering exchange programs between Germany and North America, South America, Australia, Africa and Japan. What continues to draw Steve to his field is the opportunity to connect people across borders through life-changing educational opportunities. He firmly believes that to advance the world we live in requires meaningful interaction between people of different cultures, people with different worldviews, people across borders. The field of international education provides that space.

Organizing team


Göttingen, Germany


  • Olena Traud
  • Zeqi Zhao