TEDxAddis – December 18, 2010 Speakers

Why you should listen to her:

Bruktawit began her professional career as a primary school teacher in Addis Ababa. Determined to reduce child mortality rates in her country, she looked for ways to educate children on health matters. In 2005, with her husband, Tigabu set up Whiz Kids Workshop. Working from their living room, using sock puppets, computer graphics and their own voices, they began producing "Tsehai Loves Learning", a television programme about a young, female giraffe, named Tsehai, which covers many health-related issues. Twenty-six episodes of this highly successful program, have now been created in Amharic, each one seen by an estimated 2.6 to 5 million children.

Bruktawit received the Rolex Award for Enterprise in 2010.  

Watch her video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G6TPYCbU5A

Why you should listen to him:

Dirk Hebel is currently holding the position of the Scientific Director of the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Before that, he taught at the Department of Architecture, ETHZ as the Director of the Master of Advanced Studies Program in Urban Design.

His research, at the Department of Architecture and the Institute of Urban Design, addresses the conceptual transfers between the human body and the contemporary city. The resulting work has been published in numerous academic journals and book publications, lately CITIES OF CHANGE: ADDIS ABABA with Marc Angélil and BATHROOM UNPLUGGED with Jörg Stollmann. Several of his Design-Research-Studios with international students from Bachelor to Master Level won international recognition. In this line, together with Marc Angélil, he published in 2008 the book DEVIATIONS, an experiment in architectural design pedagogy to initiate a plea for a new type of architectural practice.

Projects include the award winning project UNITED_BOTTLE, the international traveling exhibition “INVENTIONEERING ARCHITECTURE” and the pneumatic installation “ON_AIR” in Berlin. In 2007 UNITED_BOTTLE received the Van Alen Institute Fellowship Award, the Red Dot Design Award for Best Conceptual Design and the LANXESS Award Singapore.

Watch his video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alvOjMRj_w4


Why you should listen to him:

At 19 years old, Yohannes Gebregeorgis’ received the casual gift of a romance novel titled Love Kitten that changed his life forever. Forced to flee Ethiopia to Sudan and then to the United States in 1981 as a political refugee, Gebregeorgis put himself through university and a graduate degree in library science and in 1985, took a post at the San Francisco Public Library’s Children’s Section. There he discovered the wonder of a childhood of literature and determined to bring it to every child in his homeland.

In 2002, Gebregeorgis left his job to return to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with 15,000 donated books. With them, he opened the Shola Children’s Library in 2003 followed by The Awassa Reading Center and Ethiopia’s first Donkey Mobile Library, servicing the children of remote villages around the rural capital of Awassa.

Yohannes was recognized as a CNN Hero in 2008.

Watch his video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqfJbG-hyKU

Why you should listen to him:

Israel was born in the rural town of Ginchi, 90 km west of Addis Ababa in 1988. As a kid, he was fascinated with the way electrical things worked and by the age of 6 had already understood the basic mechanics of machines he found at home. It was at this tender age that he heard about a machine that let people in distant places talk to each other and his curious mind was fired up about the concept of telephones. He began with his quest, asking the adults around him to explain how it worked and going to the Telecommunication Center in his town to find out how voice can be transmitted across distance.

By the age of 13, he had built his own telephone network and had began to provide telephone service to his small town.  As a service provider, he soon caught the attention of the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) and was ‘discovered.’

Israel soon began his training as a student studying telecommunication basic transmission with the support of ETC and pursued his degree in Computer Engineering at Microlink Information Technology College.  Israel currently works as a researcher and has contributed many innovations such as video camera editing machines, voice recording systems, conferencing systems and has two patents for developing an independent telecommunication network and another for inventing a unique international car security system.

Watch his video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMp0GqeD5e0


Why you should listen to him:

Henock Temesgen is a bass guitarist, passionate musician, co-founder and teacher at the African Jazz School in Addis Ababa and a leading figure in the Ethiopian Music scene.    Born in Addis Ababa and moved to the U.S. at the age of 19, Henock started his career as an engineer before joining the Berklee College of Music and becoming an established performer in New York City. 

After two decades in the U.S. and a flourishing music career working alongside the giants of Ethiopian music, Henock returned to Addis Ababa four years ago to pursue his music career in his home country.  Since his return, Henock has kept himself busy.  Among his many projects, he collaborated with fellow musicians to start the African Jazz School with the dreams of becoming “a focal point for musicians in East Africa.”

Henock plays in three different bands in Addis Ababa and has regular shows around town.  

Watch his video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJT7Wmel63o

Why you should listen to him:

Dr. BT Costantinos is an professional with extensive national and international development and diplomacy experience. He has worked with the UN as a senior policy advisor in New York, and representative in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and South Africa.

He has also served and continues to serve as a board chairperson and member of major African networks and research institutions. He is author of numerous papers published in professional journals, presented to workshops and symposia.

His forthcoming publications include “Stemming state fragility, failure and collapse: a human security perspective”, “Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Development Management in Africa”, and “Effective States, Engaged States and Legal Empowerment of the Poor.”

Watch his video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40jVKc6nPOM


Why you should listen to him:

Belachew Girma is the holder of the Laughter Guinness World Record for 3 hours and 6 minutes of uninterrupted laughter. Belachew became a born-again-Christian after losing his wife to HIV-AIDS and losing his business to natural disasters.  After reading various books on psychology and laughter, he changed his outlook on life and, “laughter came to [his] life.” He since has become a laughter therapist, activist and a motivational speaker contributing as a guest on various media publications and TV programs such as BBC, Aljazeera, Canada TV,  Jerusalem Post and Ethiopian Herald.

Watch his video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk0ZXeWKD1o



Why you should listen to him:

Daniel Gad is an entrepreneur and “Farmer.” He worked for a major corporation (AT&T) in the telecommunications industry in the United States where his last assignment was as Vice President and Client Partner in the company. His career at AT&T also saw him as one of the founding members of the first consulting and outsourcing company called AT&T Solutions where he led global deals worth over $1.7 billion multi-year contracts.

Daniel decided to leave his post at AT&T and return home to Ethiopia in 2003. Since his return he has developed (and sold) a 28 hectare rose farm (MetroLux Flowers) and now manages and operates a vegetable production farm (Omega Farms). He is currently focused on further developing the vegetable producing and exporting company.

Watch his video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wU9sp5anU_Y