101 Zellerbach Hall #4800
Berkeley, CA 94720
The phrase “moonshot” has its origins in the audacious mission to put humans on the moon, a feat that most thought would be impossible. In his famous 1962 speech announcing the start of the American moonshot, President John F. Kennedy famously remarked that “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
Many doubted that America would be able to achieve such a lofty goal in such a short time frame, but through bold innovations and sheer perseverance in the face of obstacles, we achieved the impossible. Fast forward 50 years. We live in an incredible time — an era of new possibilities in realms that were previously unimaginable.
TEDxBerkeley 2020 hopes to capture the sense of wonder and enthusiasm for discovery that comes with the beginning of a new decade. Today’s issues are not just limited to technological progress and instead cut across all aspects of society. We need moonshots — solutions that aim to address the insurmountable — to solve humanity’s most pressing problems, from climate change to human rights violations.
Paving the way forward will not be easy, but the most remarkable challenges are always big and bold. To turn these obstacles into opportunities, it is up to us, as individuals, to hone our unique skills and unite to achieve a purpose greater than just our own.
A little bit more about each of our wonderful speakers!
Atiaf Z. Alwazir was born in Sana’a, spent her childhood in Beirut and Jeddah, and as a teenager settled in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. She currently lives in Brussels where she is a research consultant by day and writer by night, with extensive knowledge of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), focusing on gender, human rights and the intersection of Art and politics. She has worked in non-governmental organizations and research institutions in Washington D.C., Cairo, Sana'a, Tunis, Beirut, Berlin, Lille and Brussels and carries each city with her, making her identify as a world citizen. In 2011, she actively participated in the Yemeni Revolution, documented the events on her blog and co-founded SupportYemen, a storytelling collective. Her articles have been published in several outlets including the Guardian, Foreign Policy, openDemocracy, Fair Observer, and Al-Jazeera English. She is the co-author of Change Square, a photo book on Yemen’s revolution.
Sophia Yen, M.D., M.P.H. is the CEO and Co-Founder of PandiaHealth.com, a birth control delivery, a digital health startup providing convenient, confidential, and reliable access to healthcare via telemedicine and medication delivery, starting with birth control. She has a passion for making women’s lives easier and preventing unplanned pregnancies. Dr. Yen graduated from MIT, UCSF Medical School, and UC Berkeley’s MPH program. With 20+ years in medicine, she serves as a Clinical Associate Professor at Stanford Medical School and on the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics’s Section On Adolescent Health. She focuses on Reproductive Health and co-founded 2 non-profit projects to improve the lives of women: The Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women and SheHeroes.org. Pandia Health is the ONLY #WomenFounded #WomenLed #DoctorFounded/Led birth control delivery company. She was named one of the Top Women Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2017 by Bustle.
Leila Salazar-Lopez is a mother; proud Chicana-Latina woman; and passionate defender of Mother Earth, the Amazon, indigenous rights and climate justice. Since 2015, she has served as the Executive Director of Amazon Watch, leading the organization in its work to protect and defend the bio-cultural and climate integrity of the Amazon rainforest by advancing indigenous peoples' rights, territories, and solutions, including solar for energy, communications and transport in the Amazon. For 20+ years Leila has worked to defend the world's rainforests, human rights, and the climate through grassroots organizing and international advocacy campaigns at Amazon Watch, Rainforest Action Network, Global Exchange, and Green Corps. She is currently a Greenpeace Voting Member and a Global Fund for Women Advisor for Latin America. She was recently acknowledged in Make it Better Media’s "17 Bay Area Environmentalists Making a Difference."
Emily Levesque is an astronomer, professor, and author whose research is focused on understanding how the most massive stars in the universe evolve and die. In 2014 she led a research group in discovering a completely new type of star known as a Thorne-Zytkow object, a luminous star supported by a dead stellar core that had been predicted by stellar theory nearly forty years earlier but never observed. In 2014 Emily was awarded the Annie Jump Cannon Prize by the American Astronomical Society. She is also a 2015 Scialog Fellow, a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Physics, a 2018 Kavli Fellow, and was chosen as one of twenty-four Cottrell Scholars nation-wide in 2019. She received her bachelors degree in physics from MIT and her PhD in astronomy from the University of Hawaii. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Astronomy at the University of Washington. Emily's upcoming popular science book, "The Last Stargazers" shares some of the many incredible stories behind what it’s like to work at a telescope and will be published by Sourcebooks in August of 2020.