x = independently organized TED event


This event occurred on
May 3, 2013
12:00am - 12:00am EEST
(UTC +3hrs)

TEDxTallinn 2013: On the Edge

TEDxTallinn is an inspirational conference, which presents exceptional speakers from different fields of life: fanatical devotees, thinkers, creators, executors – people with ideas that are worth sharing.
The title of TEDxTallinn 2013 is On the Edge, to signify the situation of Estonia in the broader (geopolitical) perspective as well as more intimately as the (spiritual) state of people in a more private sphere. The current situation involves a lot of internal confusion, anxious anticipation and justified questions on more than one level. We will be looking for answers to these very questions together and from different perspectives so we can make the best decision when facing the different alternatives – or in other words – to distinguish between the options and inevitability. Examples, whether realized or in progress, domestic or global, point to topical issues, that are awaiting for a solution that means actual steps that have to be taken.

A boundary usually marks a transition between different opinions, positions or characteristics (familiar or strange; good or bad; now or never; all or nothing), marking a sort of no-man’s-land between the extremes. In this sense the life on the edge may seem safe and easy, because no difficult decisions are made and no unnecessary (that is unessential) risks taken, but our reality, past and future imply that we can only change the world by shifting the boundaries – the powers of changing the course of human development are at the hands of the people.

The inspirational TEDxTallinn 2013 will give the floor to the people whose speeches may encourage the participants to find ways of improving their lives or societies. We are all standing on the edge, there are innumerable boundaries but our tomorrow depends on the decisions we are making today. Let us cross these limiting boundaries together!

TEDxTallinn 2013: On the Edge took place on 3 May at the Salme Kultuurikeskus.

Salme Kultuurikeskus
Salme 12
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Michael Vassar

Michael Vassar is a futurist, entrepreneur and the Chief Science Officer of MetaMed Research, a company offering personalized medical services. The scope of Michael Vassar's actions is illustrated by the list of his past jobs (a volunteer at the Peace Corps, a teacher, founder of several start-ups and the president of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence) as well as his topics of research – molecular biology, genetics and nano-physics. Michael has so far not come across any “official” worldview that would be close to his heart but as a response has come up with a personal interpretation based on his own experience and on the ideas of other unique thinkers. He realized that today’s healthcare system needs a reform by discovering that the majority of revolutionary developments in medicine are never implemented in everyday practice and are therefore inaccessible for the patients.

Igor Kotjuh

Igor Kotjuh is an Estonian poet, translator and publisher, who thinks and writes poems in his native Russian language. He has dedicated more than a decade to promoting Estonian Russian-language literature thus being an endorser of “a less prejudiced Estonia”, as was acknowledged in 2011 at the award ceremony of the President’s Young Cultural Figure competition. This was a well-deserved recognition since Igor Kotjuh is a founding member of the first Estonian bilingual literary society "Tuulelohe-Воздушный змей", for several years he has been publishing the works of dozens of contemporary Russian-Estonian authors, has written and published two Russian language poetry books and has himself translated his poems into Estonian. In addition he translates poetry and essays into Estonian as well as Russian. He has been a lecturer of contemporary Estonian literature at the St Petersburg National University and of Russian-language poetry in Estonia at the Universities of Tartu and Tallinn. His latest project is the recently launched portal of Estonian Russian-language literature www.oblaka.ee.

Polly Higgins

Polly Higgins is a solicitor, writer and a visionary, who following years of handling discrimination cases and matters of business law, has taken the planet Earth as her chief client – she is dreaming of ending ecocide by 2020 and has proposed to the UN to make it the fifth item on it’s list of crimes against peace. Ecocide is the extensive damage, extermination or loss of the ecosystem of a specific region. The pan-European End Ecocide in Europe campaign has been launched to apply for criminalization of ecocide. The organizers are hoping to raise one million signatures that would oblige the European Commission to discuss and respond to the proposal. The campaign has already gained 14 500 signatures at www.endecocide.eu.

Ton Zijlstra

Ton Zijlstra engages the digital technology to the benefit openness, participation and cooperation because he believes that the way we work, learn and organize ourselves is the key to solving many important social issues. Over more than 15 years he has taken part in or initiated the emergence of a number of social media, open digital production (FabLab), open government and open data communities. Having a background in philosophy and technology, Tom has cooperated with local, national and international governing bodies and is today one of the advocates of these issues in Europe. Since 2002 he blogs about topics of interest at http://zylstra.org/blog.

Kristjan Randalu

Kristjan Randalu is one of the most original younger generation pianists, a composer and an arranger. Born in Estonia, he grew up in Germany, studied in Cologne, London and New York, he has performed with many famous musicians and orchestras such as the Nguyên Lê, Dhafer Youssef, Ben Monder, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and played in many legendary concert halls such as the Carnegie, Lincoln Center in NYC and the Berlin Concert Hall. Kristjan has been nominated for Grammy and has received numerous jazz prizes. In 2012 he received the Estonian Music Award For the Best Jazz Album. Despite his international commitments he spends most of his time between concerts surrounded by the forests of Viljandi County, where he has the peace and quiet and the inspiring nature that he builds his works on.


Okeiko is a fairy-like artist who draws, takes photos and shoots films, designs reflectors and stickers and clothes and creates background visuals for music events. Her main activity is a type of character design called kawaii. Original and determined Okeiko has never received formal art training and possibly because of that sees the world differently and has an enchanting way of expressing it. Her desire is to create a world where she herself would like to live – a bright and gratifying place, where people have the courage to dream and be sincerely kind.

Frida Monsén

Frida Monsén lives and works in Stockholm as a teacher of English, Swedish and social sciences. She works at the progressive Vittra Telefonplan School where all the students use the school’s laptops and a unique diverse study environment has been created instead of ordinary classrooms – the school space is motivating instead of disciplining. This creates new ways for teaching and learning but also requires different qualities from the teacher and poses different challenges. Frida is dedicated to improving language skills as well as writing and reading skills and is developing new learning situations and methods that build on the digital age. She uses social media as one of her tools and she is leading the Gamification project that helps the students visualize what they are learning. Frida has also embarked on establishing the 21st century school library – in her view this would no longer be a physical place, but a part of contemporary literacy skills that everyone should possess.

Robin Hanson

Robin Hanson is a Professor of Economics at the George Mason University in the US and a researcher at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. He is an expert on prediction markets and the social implications of future technologies, e.g. artificial intelligence and nano-technology and their influence on the economy and society. Politically he supports futarchy – a society where policy decisions are made based on open prediction markets. Robin has a diverse background: he has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in physics but a PhD in social sciences. Robin has researched the artificial intelligence and Bayesian statistics at NASA and developed a prediction market predicting the political stability, economic growth and military activity of foreign countries for the US Department of Defense. Robin’s ideas often cause controversial reactions and he wishes to find ways to more effectively decentralize the government’s tasks.

Peeter Jalakas

Peeter Jalakas is a theatre manager shunning the mainstream, a brave and determined innovator and a leader of social undertakings, who raises issues that would more easily be left untouched and drives changes in the society that have shaped the everyday environments and enjoyable cultural surroundings for many of us. Jalakas studied drama and has been the founding force behind the VAT Theatre, Ruto Killakund troupe, the Baltoscandal Festival as well as the establishing of the Von Krahl Theatre. He also uses different types of media for communicating his social agenda: he is the owner of the natural food restaurant Von Krahli Aed and store Ökosahver, one of the founding members of the Estonian Green Party, the former manager of the Tallinn Culture Hub and in addition the initiator of the Straw Theatre Project. Among other things, he has managed to make his country home completely independent of the nation-wide electricity grid.

Rein Maran

Rein Maran has spent an immeasurable part of his life out in the wild observing the plant and animal kingdoms and capturing them on film. His curiosity and drive to get to know as intimately as possible the parallel worlds existing around us, be it a moose’s or a spider’s, have forced him to carry on and on. The distinguished master of Estonian nature films - a screen writer, director, cameraman, sound engineer and producer only recently introduced his first documentary – Charm of Secret Groves. Rein Maran has made a significant contribution to Estonian film. He has worked at more than 100 films of different genres, he is a respected lecturer currently teaching at the Baltic Film and Media School and a founder of a new school of Estonian cinematography. He should also be recognized as the promoter of natural history education and nature-friendly way of living.

Jaan Einasto

Jaan Einasto is an eminent Estonian astrophysicist whose object of study is the Universe as a whole, and his mission is to help mankind improve its understand of the universe so that we may act and react accordingly. After years of consistent work on many important questions, Jaan Einasto has expanded our understanding about the origin and structure of galaxies and the Universe; literally broadening our perception about the world. As a longtime scientist at Tartu Observatory, Einasto has been awarded with many important prizes, among others: the 2nd class Order of the National Coat of Arms of Estonia, the Marel Grossmann award for studying dark matter and the structure of the universe, and the Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize for outstanding scientists in the field of astronomy and astropyhsics. He is an Honorary Doctor of the University of Tartu and a member of Estonian Academy of Sciences and Academia Europaea. To top all honours, a minor planet „11577 Einasto“ has been named after him.

Olesja Katšanovskaja

Olesya Kachanovskaya, also known artistically as "Solaye Nova", is an Estonian artist who has been influenced both by the Estonian and Russian school. She graduated in painting from the University of Tartu and successfully defended her Master’s Degree with honours in Art Pedagogy at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Her Master's project at the Art Museum of Estonia identified new steps in blossoming art education in the curriculum of primary education. Quite naturally, she has also worked as a teacher. When speaking about her work, Olesya wishes to create art that is beautiful to look at, and in addition, captures the uniqueness and intimacy of the current space and time. Her paintings can be characterized by their warm colours and topics, consequently involving a richness in fantasy that has been inspired by her love for nature.

Jaan Priisalu

"How secure is it to live in Estonia? since evolving to be a country which favors openness, automation and digital systems", says Jaan Priisalu, General Director of the Estonian Information System’s Authority. Priisalu is the co-founder and Head of Tallinn's Department of the Estonian Defence League’s Cyber Unit - an orgnisation that defends the Estonian cyber space and unites voluntary IT-specialists - and member of the Estonian Information Systems Audit Association, Priisalu has almost two decades of practical experience on the matter of preventing and defending cyber attacks. Before entering the public sector, Priisalu worked at Guardtime, Ühispank, Cybernetica and served as the head of SIRT (Security Incidents Response Team) at Swedbank; having worked through the 2007 cyber attacks. Named as one of the leading cyber security experts in the world, Jaan Priisalu earned his academic education from the Tallinn University of Technology and Toulouse III (Université Paul Sabatier) in France.

Kadri Seeder

Kadri Seeder is the leader of the Smart Work Association and currently freelancer. She holds a Master's degree in Sociology, and is a proponent in the theory that flexible work management, which considers the needs of both employers and employees, will create more freedom and responsibilities for both parties, and in effect, contributes to the development of rural areas and sustainable use of resources. According to Kadri, the widespread belief that everyone in Estonia should cope on their own and not co-operate is nonsense. Having said that, in 2009 she moved to the countryside and founded a co-operative remote working organization in her village. Kadri emphazises the importance of teaching smart internet use and providing a fast and reliable internet connection across Estonia. She has been involved in programme called „Ole kaasas!“(„Be up to Date!“) and its mission is to reduce the digital gap and improve the skills of those in labour market and studies. The programme's target is to train 100 000 people and help bring 50 000 new families a little closer to the Internet. Kadri has also participated in parents and youth employment projects that aim to reduce exclusion, discrimination and inequality in the labour market.

Heigo Rosin

Heigo Rosin is a percussion virtuoso and a finalist of the TV show „Klassikatähed“ („Classical Stars“). Thanks to Rosin, the people of Estonia now know what a marimba is and which sounds you can create with it. But his musical scope does not just stop there. During his graduate studies at the Estonian Music and Theater Academy and The Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, Rosin learnt how to play the kettledrums, drums, cymbals, vibraphone, gongs, tamtams and many more. Rosin has performed solo programmes and given concerts within different orchestras in Estonia and abroad. He has performed with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, the Estonian National Opera Orchestra, the Liége Royal Filharmonic Orchestra, and the Royal Flemish Opera Orchestra de Munt. Many have described him by his reach for perfection; before important performances, he can practice up to 10-12 hours a day. After 12 years of practicing karate, one can say that he developed his strokes to be as punctual as a metronome.

Organizing team


Tallinn, Estonia


Tallinn, Estonia
  • Annika Tallinn
  • Teve Floren
  • Edgar Špongolts
  • Elo Kiivet
  • Hedi Mardisoo
  • Henri Laupmaa
  • Ivar Laks
  • Kadri Kontus
  • Laura Rüngas
  • Madis Sein
  • Marit Valge
  • Mihkel Tepp
  • Piret-Klea Velleste
  • Reigo Kinusar
  • René Lasseron
  • Tanel Kärp
  • Vivian Siirman
  • Salme-Riine Uibo
  • Aljona Galazan
  • Helen Kask
  • Ulrika Rosenblad