x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Significance and Singularity

This event occurred on
November 11, 2012
7:00am - 1:00pm CET
(UTC +1hr)
Frankfurt am Main, Hessen

Reflecting the Fulbright exchange program, TEDxFulbright seeks to facilitate experiences that embody the continued power of progress through international, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary connection and community action.

Twelve acclaimed Fulbright alumni from across Europe, the U.S., and Northern Africa shared their greatest ideas on the theme, "Significance and Singularity". The concept was inspired by Senator Fulbright's monumental quote, "Perhaps the greatest power of such intellectual exchange is to convert nations into peoples and to translate ideologies into human aspirations." Speakers highlighted accounts of powerful insight sparked by a single observation or experience, rich with a breadth and depth of information that tells a captivating story about the world or the human condition. The theme perpetuated the notion that even with the best understanding of the whole, it is still made of dynamic singulars.

TEDxFulbright Speakers and Performers: (all alums)
* Marika Hedin, Director at Vasa Museum, former Curator of the Nobel Museum
* Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the International Criminal Court
* Dan Drollette, former Science Journalist at CERN
* Michèle van de Roer, Contemporary Artist, The DNA of Creativity
* Hassan Mekouar, Professor of Poetry and Literature
* John Sargent, Co-Founder of BroadReach, Healthcare for the Developing World
* Isabel Torres de Noronha, former UNESCO Delegate in Environmental Policy
* Joes Segal, Expert in Cold War Germany, Professor of History
* Nathan Wolek, Professor of Digital Arts, Laptop Musician
* Ozgur Bolat, Leadership in Education Research Center, Cambridge University
* Juliane Kronen, Trustee of the Alternative Nobel Prize
* George Stoffan, former Captain of the US Air Force Band

Reflection on TEDxFulbright
By Euna Lhee, current Fulbright Young Journalist in Germany

November 11 marked the first European TEDxFulbright program, which kicked off at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany. During the six-hour event, 100 participants heard from 12 formidable Fulbright alumni from across the globe, which included two musical performers.

Professional broadcaster and former Fulbright Young Journalist David Patrician hosted and moderated the talks. Speakers came from diverse backgrounds, ranging from law and medicine to art and literature.

Addressing the topic “Significance and Singularity,” presenters engaged the audience with their life stories, work and even poetry. Hassan Mekouar, a Professor of American Literature at the University Mohammed C, Rabat, Morocco, entitled his speech, “A Modest Proposal,” which was reminiscent of Jonathan Swift’s satirical essay from 1729. In fifteen minutes of free verse, Mekouar dramatically articulated how edible trash would solve the issues of world hunger and overabundant trash.

Others presented their singular ideas in their own engaging styles. Opening with a comparison between a prison and a school, researcher Özgür Bolat of Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi, Turkey, talked about the happiness myth and how schools create unhappy children.

“My single idea is... the need for approval negatively affects all your behaviors and feelings in your life, including your happiness,” Bolat said.

Some speakers connected with the audience on a more personal level. Giving a vivid account on the brutalities of war, International Criminal Court judge Sang-Hyun Song spoke about his childhood experiences during the Korean War in the 1950s.

“I ask all of you here to stand in global solidarity, to ensure that everyone is protected from the worst atrocities,” Song said. He then talked about the role of the International Criminal Court and his career as its President.

All the speakers had inspirational messages, like BroachReach founder Dr. John Sargent, who expressed the power of the human spirit through his depiction of the HIV/AIDS situation in sub-Saharan Africa. And many had also led amazing lives, like freelance science journalist Dan Drollette, who had reported from the jungles of Vietnam and played the “great call” of the gibbon for the audience.

The day wasn’t only filled with speeches, however. Entertainment was also on the agenda, with clarinetist George Stoffan and audio artist Nathan Wolek, who considers his instrument to be his laptop computer.

During coffee breaks and the brown bag lunch, participants mingled with presenters, as well as with other Fulbright alumni in the natural sciences, arts, business and technology. The audience was able to keep track of their networking through special cards and stickers, which noted these different disciplines.

The day concluded with a champagne reception and the world premiere of the German Fulbright Alumni Association image video, which takes the viewer through the founding and goals of the Fulbright Program, as well as the German Fulbright Alumni Association.

Although these talks composed the inaugural TEDxFulbright in Europe, it’s actually the second ever TEDxFulbright event – the first being in Cambridge, Massachusetts in April 2012.

Deutsches Architekturmuseum
Schaumainkai 43
Frankfurt am Main, Hessen, 60596
Event type:
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Organizing team


Boston, MA, United States


Sacramento, CA, United States
  • Jan Anderssen
    Website, Technical Expert
  • Aytac Atac
    Performance Chair
  • Nancy Birkhölzer
    Participant Experience
  • Roselin Klever
    Speakers Coordinator
  • Lorcan Walsh
    Communications Chair
  • Agatha Brzezinski
    Communications Team
  • Liz Gabster
    Communications Team
  • Julian Fuchs
    Communications Team
  • Matthias Pauthner
    Communications Team
  • Panos Pantelides
    Sponsorship Co-Chair
  • Sarah Lowe
    Graphic Design
  • David Patrician
  • Nikki Anderssen
  • Dolissa Medina