TEDxBerlin 2012 "Thinking Change" Guya Merkle

Guya Merkle studied Management and Communication at the Business School Potsdam. During her studies she started working as a personal assistant for the executive board of betterplace.org, an online fundraising platform. This position enabled her to gain valuable insights into many aspects of social engagement, which would play an important role in the following activities.

In 2007 Guya took over her family's business, the jewellery company Vieri Haute Joaillerie in Switzerland, which has been family run for three generations. She took courses in business development, diamond grading & colourstone grading and jewellery design at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to deepen her knowledge of Haute Joaillerie. Guya Merkle represents a new type of entrepreneur that aims to achieve economic success in harmony with society and the environment. This aim is fueled by her passion for fine jewellery and quality.

Her motivation is to enthuse people for the beautiful things in life while encouraging a responsible approach to the earth and its natural resources. Each new collection is produced with ethically mined gold. To make a real change in customers’ minds and within the jewellery industry, Merkle is currently founding the "earthBeat Foundation". This foundation is committed to raising awareness of legal, safe, environmentally friendly and ethical gold mining in order to appreciate people's work. Guya Merkle lives and works in Zurich.


TEDxBerlin 2012 "Thinking Change" Lars Krückeberg

Lars Krückeberg studied architecture at the Technical University Braunschweig, Germany, the Universitá degli Studi di Firenze, Italy, and the German Institute for History of Art, Firenze, Italy. He graduated as Dipl.-Ing. Arch in Braunschweig and received his Master of Architecture at the Southern Californian Institute of Architecture SCI Arc, Los Angeles, USA.

In 1998 Lars Krückeberg established GRAFT in Los Angeles with Wolfram Putz and Thomas Willemeit. GRAFT is conceived as a ‘Label’ for Architecture, Urban Planning, Design, Music and the “pursuit of happiness”.

Since the firm was established, it has been commissioned to design and manage a wide range of projects in multiple disciplines and locations.

GRAFT has won numerous national and international awards and garnered international reputation for a wide-spread variety of projects throughout its 10 year existence. GRAFT today employs 100 architects and artists worldwide.

At TEDxBerlin, Lars Krückerberger will give an introduction of his project Solarkiosk - a modular system to electrify rural Africa for GTZ Ethiopia.


TEDxBerlin 2012 "Thinking Change" Dr. Ken Yeang

Ken Yeang [D.M.P.N., PhD. (Cantab), AA Dip., D.Lit. (Hon.), APAM, FSIA, RIBA, ARAIA, Hon. FAIA, Hon. FRIAS] is the Chairman and Design Director of Llewelyn Davies Yeang (UK), and director of its sister company Hamzah & Yeang (Malaysia).

He studied architecture at the AA (Architectural Association) School (London), and received his doctorate from Wolfson College, Cambridge University. He is best known for his signature deep green architecture and master plans and has completed over 200 projects.

He is widely regarded as the inventor of the ‘bioclimatic skyscraper’. His research and design work has been published in several authoritative books - the latest being Ecoarchitecture – The Work of Ken Yeang (publ. John Wiley & Sons, 2011). He is a recipient of the Gold Medal of the Malaysian Institute of Architects (2011). He is also the Distinguished Plym Professor at University of Illinois, and has served on the RIBA Council.



TEDxBerlin 2012 "Thinking Change" Gesine Schwan

Gesine Schwan was born in Berlin in 1943. She studied Roman Languages, History, Philosophy and Political Science in Berlin and in Freiburg/Breisgau, where she met her future first husband, the political scientist Alexander Schwan.

Research stays in Warsaw and Krakow for preparing the dissertation about the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski followed. In 1971, Gesine Schwan was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Free University Berlin and habilitated on the philosophical and economical bases of the social critique of Karl Marx in 1975. Gesine Schwan was appointed professor of Political Science, in particular of Political Theory and Philosophy, at the Free University Berlin in 1977.

Research stays in Washington D.C., Cambridge and New York followed. Her main fields of research are Political Philosophy and Theories of Democracy, recently also problems of Political Psychology and Political Culture. From October 1999 to October 2008, she was president of the Europe University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder).

She is one of the joint founders and president (as of June 2010) of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA School of Governance. Upon request of Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, she took the position of asCo-ordinator of the Federal Government for civil social cooperation with the Republic of Poland from January 2005 to September 2009.

From 2002 to 2009 she was Co-Chairwoman of the German-Polish Forum and has been a Member of the Board of Trustees of the German Institute of Poland (Deutsches Polen-Institut) since 2002. Gesine Schwan, who joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) in 1972, has collaborated with numerous political committees alongside her scientific career. From 1977 to 1984 and again from 1996, she was member of the “Commission for Fundamental Values” of the board of governors of SPD, and from 1985 to 1987 president of the German Association of Political Science, between 1993 and 1995 Dean of the Department of Political Science at the Free University Berlin. She was a member of the board of governors of the German Association of Political Science (DVPW) between 1994 and 2000.

In March 2004 as well as in May 2008, she ws nominated by SPD and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen as candidate for the office of Federal President. She was defeated during the elections by Horst Köhler, the candidate of CDU/CSU and FDP, with 589 to 604 votes on 23rd May 2004 and with 503 to 613 votes on 23rd May 2009. In 1989, her husband Alexander Schwan died after a long illness and left her with two children. Gesine Schwan remarried Prof. Dr. Peter Eigen in 2004.


TEDxBerlin 2012 "Thinking Change" Jacob Bilabel

Jacob Bilabel is Managing Director at Berlin based Think-Do Tank THEMA1 which is specialized in accelerating Social Change. He is the founder of the Green Music Initiative, which provides a platform for the music and entertainment industry to coordinate projects in the fight against climate change – with the objective to create demand for innovative and sustainable strategies – both from the climate and business points of view.

Prior to that, he worked as Vice President Communications and New Business at Universal Music Germany. In the following years he set up MySpace’s operations in Germany and joined the social media advisory board of the Green Party. In the 2005 elections he served as personal consultant to Mr. Joschka Fischer, Germany’s Foreign Minister.

He is a mentor at the Akademie der Künste (University of the Arts) in Berlin and Founding Member of the ReDesign Deutschland initiative. Mr Bilabel has been Chair of the Product Carbon Footprint World Forum since 2009.


TEDxBerlin 2012 "Thinking Change" Peter Seeberger

Peter H. Seeberger studied chemistry at the Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Colorado in 1995. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York City, he became Assistant Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in January 1998 and was promoted to Firmenich Associate Professor of Chemistry in 2002.

From June 2003 until January 2009 he held the position of Professor for Organic Chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland, where he served as chair of the laboratory in 2008. In 2009 he assumed positions as Director at the Max-Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and Professor at the Free University of Berlin.

He has been serving as an Affiliate Professor at the Burnham Institute in La Jolla, CA, since 2003. Peter H. Seeberger is the Editor of the Journal of Carbohydrate Chemistry and serves on the editorial advisory boards of seven other journals.

He is a founding member of the board of the Tesfa-Ilg “Hope for Africa” Foundation that aims to improve health care in Ethiopia, in particular by providing access to malaria vaccines and HIV treatments. The research done in professor Seeberger’s laboratory has resulted in two spin-off companies: One of them being Ancora Pharmaceuticals (founded in 2002, Medford, USA) which is currently developing a promising malaria vaccine.


TEDxBerlin 2012 "Thinking Change" Werner Aisslinger

The works of designer Werner Aisslinger, born 1964, span across a wide specturm of experimental artistic approaches as well as industrial design and architecture. He delights in making use of the latest technologies and has helped introduce new materials and techniques to the world of product design, for example with his unique gel furniture collection “soft cell“ and the chaise „soft“ for Zanotta in 2000.

The "Juli chair (cappellini)" was the first item of furniture to use a new type of foam called "polyurethane integral foam" and became the first German chair design to be selected as a permanent exhibit at the MoMA in New York since 1964.

In the process, he has created striking designs and received awards from all over the world — from Milan's Compasso d'Oro to the Design Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Red Dot Award as well as the FX Award in the UK. Werner Aisslinger´s „loftcube“–project became one of the most discussed modular and transportable housing projects within the last years.

His work is exhibited in the permanent collections of international museums such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the French Fonds National d´Art Contemporain in Paris, the Museum Neue Sammlung in Munich, and the Vitra Design Museum in Weil, Germany. Werner Aisslinger lives and works in Berlin.


TEDxBerlin 2012 "Thinking Change" Daniel Klink

Daniel Klink is an expert on the topic of "The Honorable Merchant". His research work at Humboldt University was honored with various academic awards. Klink runs an online platform dealing with the model of the honorable merchant. He is also involved in several economic and educational projects and works as a consultant for medium sized companies, advising them on their sustainable communication and business strategies.


TEDxBerlin 2012 "Thinking Change" Performance

Jim Kroft is a Scottish artist who promotes his projects himself. He lives in Berlin and has established himself as a singer/songwriter in Berlin’s thriving music scene. His second album entitled „The Hermit & The Hedonist“ was released in 2011.

Jim Kroft’s single "Memoirs From The Afterlife" was featured in the Top 100 Mainstream-Airplay Charts for two months, even though the artist has no record deal.

After performing in concerts with Peaches, Airbourne Toxic Event as well as support shows on the Anna Calvi Tour 2011, Jim Kroft toured Germany with the Swedish band The Pusher and Scottish singer/songwriter duo Martin and James. After completing a huge European tour with Sunrise Avenue, Jim Kroft has finally returned to Berlin to kick off his own tour. He is currently working on his third album.


TEDxBerlin 2012 "Thinking Change" Achmed Khammas

Born in 1952 to a German mother and Iraqi father, Achmed Khammas spent many years commuting between Berlin, Germany and Damascus, Syria. While completing Arabic high school in 1970, Achmed opened and managed the first record store for Rock Music in Damaskus, "Blow up". Additionally, he began an aircraft and rocket engineering internship at MBB/Hamburg.

Until 1976, he worked as a scientific free-lancer and has concentrated on the area of renewable energetic fields.

From 1977-1989, Achmed directed his father's, Dipl. Engineer M. Khammas engineering office in Damascus. Additionally, he has worked as a translator (Arabic/German) for many institutions, including the German Foreign Office, BMZ (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation), GTZ (Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit: Organization for Technical Cooperation), and the KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau: Credit Institute for Reconstruction ) and others.

In 1978 Achmed was an offical translator at the German embassy in Damascus and was sent to Germany together with HE President Hafez Al-Assad on his 5-day visit to Bonn and Hamburg.

In November 1993 Achmed won the "Swiss Design Price", Solothurn, for the extraordinary design of a ‘Splitted Blade Ventilation Device’ (together with the artist, Jörg Reckhenrich). In March 2000 Achmed won the "Multimedia Price 1999" of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, Berlin, for a stand-alone receiver for internet-audio-stream "NETradio".

Since 01.07.2001 he is back in Syria to continue his work on renewable energies, new irrigation devices and ecological basics.

In 2007 he published the Internet's largest site on renewable energy ("Buch der Synergie", in German) 

Achmed Khammas has two daughters and a two sons.


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