Why veterans miss war
Civilians don’t miss war. But soldiers often do. Journalist Sebastian Junger shares his experience embedded with American soldiers at Restrepo, an outpost in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley that saw heavy combat. Giving a look at the "altered state of mind" that comes with war, he shows how combat gives soldiers an intense experience of connection. In the end, could it
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The unheard story of David and Goliath
It's a classic underdog tale: David, a young shepherd armed only with a sling, beats Goliath, the mighty warrior. The story has transcended its biblical origins to become a common shorthand for unlikely victory. But, asks Malcolm Gladwell, is that really what the David and Goliath story is about?
The surprising decline in violence
Steven Pinker charts the decline of violence from Biblical times to the present, and argues that, though it may seem illogical and even obscene, given Iraq and Darfur, we are living in the most peaceful time in our species' existence.
The walk from "no" to "yes"
William Ury, author of "Getting to Yes," offers an elegant, simple (but not easy) way to create agreement in even the most difficult situations -- from family conflict to, perhaps, the Middle East.
Listen, learn ... then lead
Four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. How can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning -- and addressing the possibility of failure.
John Hunter on the World Peace Game
John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4'x5' plywood board -- and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches -- spontaneous, and always surprising -- go further than classroom lectures can.
Fighting with non-violence
How do you deal with a bully without becoming a thug? In this wise and soulful talk, peace activist Scilla Elworthy maps out the skills we need -- as nations and individuals -- to fight extreme force without using force in return. To answer the question of why and how non-violence works, she evokes historical heroes -- Aung San Suu Kyi, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela
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Why I chose a gun
Peter van Uhm is the Netherlands’ chief of defense, but that does not mean he is pro-war. At TEDxAmsterdam he explains how his career is one shaped by a love of peace, not a desire for bloodshed -- and why we need armies if we want peace.
This gel can make you stop bleeding instantly
Forget stitches — there's a better way to close wounds. In this talk, TED Fellow Joe Landolina talks about his invention — a medical gel that can instantly stop traumatic bleeding without the need to apply pressure. (Contains medical images.)
Cracking Stuxnet, a 21st-century cyber weapon
When first discovered in 2010, the Stuxnet computer worm posed a baffling puzzle. Beyond its sophistication loomed a more troubling mystery: its purpose. Ralph Langner and team helped crack the code that revealed this digital warhead's final target. In a fascinating look inside cyber-forensics, he explains how -- and makes a bold (and, it turns out, correct) guess at
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Inside a school for suicide bombers
Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy takes on a terrifying question: How does the Taliban convince children to become suicide bombers? Propaganda footage from a training camp is intercut with her interviews of young camp graduates. A shocking vision.
Parag Khanna maps the future of countries
Many people think the lines on the map no longer matter, but Parag Khanna says they do. Using maps of the past and present, he explains the root causes of border conflicts worldwide and proposes simple yet cunning solutions for each.
The music of a war child
For five years, young Emmanuel Jal fought as a child soldier in the Sudan. Rescued by an aid worker, he's become an international hip-hop star and an activist for kids in war zones. In words and lyrics, he tells the story of his amazing life.
When people of Muslim heritage challenge fundamentalism
Karima Bennoune shares four powerful stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities — refusing to allow the faith they love to become a tool for crime, attacks and murder. These personal stories humanize one of the most overlooked human-rights struggles in the world.
One day of peace
Here's a crazy idea: Persuade the world to try living in peace for just one day, every September 21. In this energetic, honest talk, Jeremy Gilley tells the story of how this crazy idea became real -- real enough to help millions of kids in war-torn regions.
A radical experiment in empathy
By leading the Americans in his audience at TEDxPSU step by step through the thought process, sociologist Sam Richards sets an extraordinary challenge: can they understand -- not approve of, but understand -- the motivations of an Iraqi insurgent? And by extension, can anyone truly understand and empathize with another?
Rethinking America's military strategy
In this bracingly honest talk, international security strategist Thomas Barnett outlines a post-Cold War solution for the foundering U.S. military that is both sensible and breathtaking in its simplicity: Break it in two.
Irwin Redlener on surviving a nuclear attack
The face of nuclear terror has changed since the Cold War, but disaster-medicine expert Irwin Redlener reminds us the threat is still real. He looks at some of history's farcical countermeasures and offers practical advice on how to survive an attack.
Our lonely society makes it hard to come home from war
Sebastian Junger has seen war up close, and he knows the impact that battlefield trauma has on soldiers. But he suggests there's another major cause of pain for veterans when they come home: the experience of leaving the tribal closeness of the military and returning to an alienating and bitterly divided modern society. "Sometimes, we ask ourselves if we can save the
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Samantha Power on a complicated hero
Samantha Power tells a story of a complicated hero, Sergio Vieira de Mello. This UN diplomat walked a thin moral line, negotiating with the world's worst dictators to help their people survive crisis. It's a compelling story told with a fiery passion.
Sean Gourley on the mathematics of war
By analyzing raw data on violent incidents in the Iraq war and others, Sean Gourley and his team claim to have found a surprisingly strong mathematical relationship linking the fatality and frequency of attacks.
FBI, here I am!
After he ended up on a watch list by accident, Hasan Elahi was advised by his local FBI agents to let them know when he was traveling. He did that and more ... much more.
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita predicts Iran's future
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita uses mathematical analysis to predict (very often correctly) such messy human events as war, political power shifts, Intifada ... After a crisp explanation of how he does it, he offers three predictions on the future of Iran.
There are no scraps of men
Alberto Cairo's clinics in Afghanistan used to close down during active fighting. Now, they stay open. At TEDxRC2 (the RC stands for Red Cross/Red Crescent), Cairo tells the powerful story of why -- and how he found humanity and dignity in the midst of war.
Joseph Nye on global power shifts
Historian and diplomat Joseph Nye gives us the 30,000-foot view of the shifts in power between China and the US, and the global implications as economic, political and "soft" power shifts and moves around the globe.
I was held hostage for 317 days. Here's what I thought about…
Vincent Cochetel was held hostage for 317 days in 1998, while working for the UN High Commissioner on Refugees in Chechnya. For the first time, he recounts the experience — from what it was like to live in a dark, underground chamber, chained to his bed, to the unexpected conversations he had with his captors. With lyricism and power, he explains why he continues his
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Suspended animation is within our grasp
Mark Roth studies suspended animation: the art of shutting down life processes and then starting them up again. It's wild stuff, but it's not science fiction. Induced by careful use of an otherwise toxic gas, suspended animation can potentially help trauma and heart attack victims survive long enough to be treated.
Let’s help refugees thrive, not just survive
50 million people in the world today have been forcefully displaced from their home — a level not seen since WWII. Right now, more than 3 million Syrian refugees are seeking shelter in neighboring countries. In Lebanon, half of these refugees are children; only 20% are in school. Melissa Fleming of the UN's refugee agency calls on all of us to make sure that refugee
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The military case for sharing knowledge
When General Stanley McChrystal started fighting al Qaeda in 2003, information and secrets were the lifeblood of his operations. But as the unconventional battle waged on, he began to think that the culture of keeping important information classified was misguided and actually counterproductive. In a short but powerful talk McChrystal makes the case for actively
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Meet the women fighting on the front lines of an American war
In 2011, the US Armed Forces still had a ban on women in combat — but in that year, a Special Operations team of women was sent to Afghanistan to serve on the front lines, to build rapport with locals and try to help bring an end to the war. Reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells the story of this "band of sisters," an extraordinary group of women warriors who helped
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The secret to effective nonviolent resistance
We're not going to end violence by telling people that it's morally wrong, says Jamila Raqib, executive director of the Albert Einstein Institution. Instead, we must find alternative ways to conduct conflict that are equally powerful and effective. Raqib promotes nonviolent resistance to people living under tyranny — and there's a lot more to it than street protests.
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Dean Kamen previews a new prosthetic arm
Inventor Dean Kamen previews the prosthetic arm he’s developing at the request of the US Department of Defense. His quiet commitment to using technology to solve problems -- while honoring the human spirit -- has never been more clear.
Eve Ensler on security
Playwright Eve Ensler explores our modern craving for security -- and why it makes us less secure. Listen for inspiring, heartbreaking stories of women making change.
The kill decision shouldn't belong to a robot
As a novelist, Daniel Suarez spins dystopian tales of the future. But on the TEDGlobal stage, he talks us through a real-life scenario we all need to know more about: the rise of autonomous robotic weapons of war. Advanced drones, automated weapons and AI-powered intelligence-gathering tools, he suggests, could take the decision to make war out of the hands of
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Poems of war, peace, women, power
Poet Suheir Hammad performs two spine-tingling spoken-word pieces: "What I Will" and "break (clustered)" -- meditations on war and peace, on women and power. Wait for the astonishing line: "Do not fear what has blown up. If you must, fear the unexploded."
See Yemen through my eyes
As political turmoil in Yemen continues, the editor of the Yemen Times, Nadia Al-Sakkaf, talks at TEDGlobal with host Pat Mitchell. Al-Sakkaf's independent, English-language paper is vital for sharing news -- and for sharing a new vision of Yemen and of that country's women as equal partners in work and change.
The emotion behind invention
Soldiers who've lost limbs in service face a daily struggle unimaginable to most of us. At TEDMED, Dean Kamen talks about the profound people and stories that motivated his work to give parts of their lives back with his design for a remarkable prosthetic arm.
Ending hunger now
Josette Sheeran, the head of the UN's World Food Program, talks about why, in a world with enough food for everyone, people still go hungry, still die of starvation, still use food as a weapon of war. Her vision: "Food is one issue that cannot be solved person by person. We have to stand together."
Everyday objects, tragic histories
Ziyah Gafić photographs everyday objects—watches, shoes, glasses. But these images are deceptively simple; the items in them have been exhumed from the mass graves of the Bosnian War. Gafić, a TED Fellow and Sarajevo native, is photographing every item from these graves in order to create a living archive of the identities of those lost.
What I saw in the war
Reporter Janine di Giovanni has been to the worst places on Earth to bring back stories from Bosnia, Sierra Leone and most recently Syria. She tells stories of human moments within large conflicts -- and explores that shocking transition when a familiar city street becomes a bombed-out battleground.
Time to end the war in Afghanistan
British MP Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan after 9/11, talking with citizens and warlords alike. Now, a decade later, he asks: Why are Western and coalition forces still fighting there? He shares lessons from past military interventions that worked -- Bosnia, for instance -- and shows that humility and local expertise are the keys to success.
The power of cartoons
In a series of witty punchlines, Patrick Chappatte makes a poignant case for the power of the humble cartoon. His projects in Lebanon, West Africa and Gaza show how, in the right hands, the pencil can illuminate serious issues and bring the most unlikely people together.
Escaping the Khmer Rouge
TED Fellow Sophal Ear shares the compelling story of his family's escape from Cambodia under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. He recounts his mother's cunning and determination to save her children.
Art can heal PTSD's invisible wounds
Trauma silences its victims, says creative arts therapist Melissa Walker, but art can help those suffering from the psychological wounds of war begin to open up and heal. In this inspiring talk, Walker describes how mask-making, in particular, allows afflicted servicemen and women reveal what haunts them — and, finally, start to let it go.
Pay attention to nonviolence
In 2003, the Palestinian village of Budrus mounted a 10-month-long nonviolent protest to stop a barrier being built across their olive groves. Did you hear about it? Didn't think so. Brazilian filmmaker Julia Bacha asks why we only pay attention to violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict -- and not to the nonviolent leaders who may one day bring peace.
Why civilians suffer more once a war is over
In a war, it turns out that violence isn't the biggest killer of civilians. What is? Illness, hunger, poverty — because war destroys the institutions that keep society running, like utilities, banks, food systems and hospitals. Physician Margaret Bourdeaux proposes a bold approach to post-conflict recovery, setting priorities on what to fix first
Women, wartime and the dream of peace
In war we often see only the frontline stories of soldiers and combat. AT TEDGlobal 2010, Zainab Salbi tells powerful "backline" stories of women who keep everyday life going during conflicts, and calls for women to have a place at the negotiating table once fighting is over.
A Navy Admiral's thoughts on global security
Imagine global security driven by collaboration -- among agencies, government, the private sector and the public. That's not just the distant hope of open-source fans, it's the vision of James Stavridis, a highly accomplished Navy Admiral. Stavridis shares vivid moments from recent military history to explain why security of the future should be built with bridges
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The chilling aftershock of a brush with death
In April 2003, just as American troops began rolling into Baghdad, a shell smashed into the building author and war correspondent Jean-Paul Mari was reporting from. There he had a face-to-face encounter with death, beginning his acquaintance with a phantom that has haunted those who have risked their lives on battlefields since ancient times. "What is this thing that
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The moral dangers of non-lethal weapons
Pepper spray and tasers are in increasing use by both police and military, and more exotic non-lethal weapons such as heat rays are in the works. At TEDxCanberra, ethicist Stephen Coleman explores the unexpected consequences of their introduction and asks some challenging questions.
The logic of non-zero-sum progress
Author Robert Wright explains "non-zero-sumness" -- the network of linked fortunes and cooperation that has guided our evolution to this point -- and how we can use it to help save humanity today.
Fighters and mourners of the Ukrainian revolution
“Men fight wars, and women mourn them,” says documentary photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind. With stark, arresting images from the Maidan protests in Ukraine, the TED Fellow shows us intimate faces from the revolution. A grim and beautiful talk.
A forensic anthropologist who brings closure for the "disappeared"
In Guatemala’s 36-year conflict, 200,000 civilians were killed — and more than 40,000 were never identified. At the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala, Fredy Peccerelli and his team use DNA, archeology and storytelling to help families find the bodies of their loved ones. It’s a sobering task, but it can bring peace of mind — and sometimes, justice. (
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How cyberattacks threaten real-world peace
More and more, nations are waging attacks with cyber weapons -- silent strikes on another country's computer systems that leave behind no trace. (Think of the Stuxnet worm.) At TEDxParis, Guy-Philippe Goldstein shows how cyberattacks can leap between the digital and physical worlds to prompt armed conflict -- and how we might avert this global security hazard.
Asher Hasan's message of peace from Pakistan
One of a dozen Pakistanis who came to TEDIndia despite security hassles entering the country, TED Fellow Asher Hasan shows photos of ordinary Pakistanis that drive home a profound message for citizens of all nations: look beyond disputes, and see the humanity we share.
How to stop torture
Political prisoners aren't the only ones being tortured -- the vast majority of judicial torture happens in ordinary cases, even in 'functioning' legal systems. Social activist Karen Tse shows how we can, and should, stand up and end the use of routine torture.
My father the forger
Sarah Kaminsky tells the extraordinary story of her father Adolfo and his activity during World War II -- using his ingenuity and talent for forgery to save lives.
Gordon Brown on global ethic vs. national interest
Can the interests of an individual nation be reconciled with humanity's greater good? Can a patriotic, nationally elected politician really give people in other countries equal consideration? Following his TEDTalk calling for a global ethic, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown fields questions from TED Curator Chris Anderson.
Deborah Scranton on her "War Tapes"
Filmmaker Deborah Scranton talks about and shows clips from her documentary The War Tapes, which puts cameras in the hands of soldiers fighting in Iraq.
The path to ending ethnic conflicts
Civil wars and ethnic conflicts have brought the world incredible suffering, but Stefan Wolff's figures show that, in the last 20 years, their number has steadily decreased. He extracts critical lessons from Northern Ireland, Liberia, Timor and more to show that leadership, diplomacy and institutional design are our three most effective weapons in waging peace.
Noah Feldman says politics and religion are technologies
Noah Feldman makes a searing case that both politics and religion -- whatever their differences -- are similar technologies, designed to efficiently connect and manage any group of people.
Demand a fair trade cell phone
Your mobile phone, computer and game console have a bloody past — tied to tantalum mining, which funds the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Drawing on his personal story, activist and refugee Bandi Mbubi gives a stirring call to action. (Filmed at TEDxExeter.)
A young poet tells the story of Darfur
Emtithal "Emi" Mahmoud writes poetry of resilience, confronting her experience of escaping the genocide in Darfur in verse. She shares two stirring original poems about refugees, family, joy and sorrow, asking, "Will you witness me?"
David Hoffman shares his Sputnik mania
Filmmaker David Hoffman shares footage from his feature-length documentary Sputnik Mania, which shows how the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to both the space race and the arms race -- and jump-started science and math education around the world.
Newton Aduaka tells the story of Ezra
Filmmaker Newton Aduaka shows clips from his powerful, lyrical feature film "Ezra," about a child soldier in Sierra Leone.
Corneille Ewango is a hero of the Congo forest
Botanist Corneille Ewango talks about his work at the Okapi Faunal Reserve in the Congo Basin -- and his heroic work protecting it from poachers, miners and raging civil wars.
A boat carrying 500 refugees sunk at sea. The story of two survivors
Aboard an overloaded ship carrying more than 500 refugees, a young woman becomes an unlikely hero. This single, powerful story, told by Melissa Fleming of the UN's refugee agency, gives a human face to the sheer numbers of human beings trying to escape to better lives ... as the refugee ships keep coming ...
Governments don't understand cyber warfare. We need hackers
The Internet has transformed the front lines of war, and it's leaving governments behind. As security analyst Rodrigo Bijou shows, modern conflict is being waged online between non-state groups, activists and private corporations, and the digital landscape is proving to be fertile ground for the recruitment and radicalization of terrorists. Meanwhile, draconian
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The real harm of the global arms trade
In some parts of the world, it's easier to get an automatic rifle than a glass of clean drinking water. Is this just the way it is? Samantha Nutt, doctor and founder of the international humanitarian organization War Child, explores the global arms trade — and suggests a bold, common sense solution for ending the cycle of violence. "War is ours," she says. "We buy it,
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How the US should use its superpower status
Americanization and globalization have basically been the same thing for the last several generations. But the US's view of the world — and the world's view of the US — is changing. In a fast-paced tour of the current state of international politics, Ian Bremmer discusses the challenges of a world where no single country or alliance can meet the challenges of global
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Two nameless bodies washed up on the beach. Here are their stories
When two bodies wearing identical wetsuits washed ashore in Norway and the Netherlands, journalist Anders Fjellberg and photographer Tomm Christiansen started a search to answer the question: who were these people? What they found and reported in Norway’s “Dagbladet” is that everybody has a name, everybody has a story and everybody is someone.
How Syria's architecture laid the foundation for brutal war
What caused the war in Syria? Oppression, drought and religious differences all played key roles, but Marwa Al-Sabouni suggests another reason: architecture. Speaking to us over the Internet from Homs, where for the last six years she has watched the war tear her city apart, Al-Sabouni suggests that Syria's architecture divided its once tolerant and multicultural
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We train soldiers for war. Let's train them to come home, too
Before soldiers are sent into combat, they're trained on how to function in an immensely dangerous environment. But they also need training on how to return from the battlefield to civilian life, says psychologist Hector Garcia. Applying the same principles used to prepare soldiers for war, Garcia is helping veterans suffering from PTSD get their lives back.
Behind the lies of Holocaust denial
"There are facts, there are opinions, and there are lies," says historian Deborah Lipstadt, telling the remarkable story of her research into Holocaust deniers — and their deliberate distortion of history. Lipstadt encourages us all to go on the offensive against those who assault the truth and facts. "Truth is not relative," she says.
The risky politics of progress
Global problems such as terrorism, inequality and political dysfunction aren't easy to solve, but that doesn't mean we should stop trying. In fact, suggests journalist Jonathan Tepperman, we might even want to think riskier. He traveled the world to ask global leaders how they're tackling hard problems — and unearthed surprisingly hopeful stories that he's distilled
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Inge Missmahl brings peace to the minds of Afghanistan
When Jungian analyst Inge Missmahl visited Afghanistan, she saw the inner wounds of war -- widespread despair, trauma and depression. And yet, in this county of 30 million people, there were only two dozen psychiatrists. Missmahl talks about her work helping to build the country's system of psychosocial counseling, promoting both individual and, perhaps, national
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Inside the mind of a former radical jihadist
"For a long time, I lived for death," says Manwar Ali, a former radical jihadist who participated in violent, armed campaigns in the Middle East and Asia in the 1980s. In this moving talk, he reflects on his experience with radicalization and makes a powerful, direct appeal to anyone drawn to Islamist groups that claim violence and brutality are noble and virtuous:
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