Crossing Boarders



What limits and borders are we faced with as individuals, as a society? Who or what defines these boundaries? What are the results of barriers that may even result in scientific and artistic limitations to us as individuals and society as a whole? And what happens if we overcome these borders? TEDxBerlin “Crossing Borders” is going to ask these questions and attempt to find diverse answers. We will meet “border-crossers”, scientists, activists and athletes that dare to cross borders and have undergone life-changing experiences, personalities that have the ability to extend the space of the achievable and that alter our perspectives and attitudes as well as our perception of reality. The word “multidisciplinary” has become a focal topic of discussion within the fields of science and the arts during the last two decades: multidisciplinary research, multi-medial art, cross-medial communication – these areas have managed to cross previously existing borders and they underline the necessity of eliminating restricting boundaries. Where and what are these borders today and who calls them into existence? What are the motivations of border-crossing individuals? TEDxBerlin “Crossing Borders” wants to provide insight into these aspects and a platform for deep discussion.



  • Ben Scott
    Ben Scott

    As a Senior Advisor to the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation in Washington DC and a Visiting Fellow at the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung in Berlin, Ben Scott has been concentrating on new media and expanding affordable access to an open Internet as well as fostering more public service journalism. Previously he was Policy Advisor for Innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton where he helped steward the 21stCentury Statecraft agenda, which aims to unite the aspects of an interconnected world withtraditional foreign policy tools.For six years he also headed the Washington office for the NGO Free Press for six years. At Free Press, the largest non-profit organization in the US, he dealt exclusively with media and communications policy. There he headed a team of lawyers, researchers, and advocates and strived to reform the landscape of media in relation to politics.

  • Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster
    Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster

    Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster, a 29-year-old Argentine-American, graduated from Georgetown University in 2005, where she double majored in Government and Art History. Upon graduating cum laude, Carolina was accepted to the London School of Economics and Political Science where she received her Masters in Latin American Comparative Politics. A year later, she was hired by the William J. Clinton Foundation to help set up the London office and work for the Clinton Climate Initiative. In 2007, Carolina joinedGoldman Sachs where she worked as a financial analyst for two years before co-founding Walkabout Foundation, a US and UK based charity, that actively pursues a cure for paralysis by funding research and donates wheelchairs to those in need around the world. She co-founded Walkabout Foundation with her oldest brother Luis, who suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident and became paralyzed from the chest down.

    In January 2010, Carolina graduated with a Masters in Business Administration from the Said Business School at Oxford University. Since then, Carolina has devoted herself full time to the Walkabout Foundation, distributing all-terrain “RoughRider” wheelchairs around the world and establishing a wheelchair factory which will employ people with disabilities Haiti. Since inception, Walkabout Foundation has donated nearly 3,000 wheelchairs to countries such as Haiti, Dominican Republic, Chile, Pakistan, Ghana, Rwanda, and Malawi, and has donated millions of dollars in research to leading scientific centers around the United States. In November 2010, Carolina won the Woman of the Future Award in London and the Christopher Reeve Spirit of Courage Award in New York. Additionally, the Sunday Times listed her as the top “35 Women Under 35” in the United Kingdom and the Evening Standard has ranked her next to Tony Blair as “London’s 1,000 Most Influential People in Philanthropy.”


  • Alexander Görlach
    Alexander Görlach

    Dr. Dr. Alexander Goerlach, born in 1976, is founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of The European Magazine.

    Before, Goerlach was the editor-in-chief of Cicero-Online. He has also worked for the German television station ZDF and published in notable German newspapers such as Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Die Welt. He has also spent several years abroad, studying in the US, the UK, Italy, Egypt and Turkey.

    Goerlach holds a PhD in theology and in philology, and he gives lectures on digital media at the Free University Berlin, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and the Zeppelin University.

    Since summer 2011 Alexander Goerlach is a Young Leader of Atlantik-Brücke.

    Twitter: @agoerlach | Website:

  • John Bunzl
    John Bunzl

    John Bunzl is a business man with a simple and yet powerful new vision for global governance: simultaneous policy action.

He is a passionate speaker on global simultaneous policy, and its relevance for a wide range of topics: from tax justice and regulation of financial markets; sustainability standards; to global warming. John has spoken at a number of events, including the World Trade Organisation, the World Social Forum and TEDx events.

In 2000 John founded the International Simultaneous Policy Organisation (ISPO) and launched the Simultaneous Policy (Simpol) campaign; an exciting new way for citizens to actively use their votes to propel their governments to act together to solve global problems.

John has used, and continues to use the Simpol campaign tirelessly to reach out to citizens, activists, non-governmental organisations, politicians and business people to raise both their awareness and understanding of what global simultaneous policies could mean for humanity, prosperity and peace.

    Twitter: @JohnBunzl | Website:

  • Jon "Maddog" Hall
    Jon "Maddog" Hall

    Jon "maddog" Hall is the Executive Director of Linux International (, an association of computer users who wish to support and promote the Linux Operating System. During his career in commercial computing which started in 1969, Mr. Hall has been a programmer, systems designer, systems administrator, product manager, technical marketing manager, author and educator.

    He has worked for such companies as Western Electric Corporation, Aetna Life and Casualty, Bell Laboratories, Digital Equipment Corporation, VA Linux Systems, and SGI. He currently works as an independent consultant, and is currently involved with bringing environmentally friendly computing to emerging marketplaces through Project Cauã (, as well as consulting for Futura Networks, the parent company of

    Mr Hall has worked on many systems, both proprietary and open, having concentrated on Unix systems since 1980 and Linux systems since 1994, when he first met Linus Torvalds and correctly recognized the commercial importance of Linux and Free and Open Source Software.

    He has taught at Hartford State Technical College (HSTC), Merrimack College and Daniel Webster College. While at HSTC his students gave him the nickname of "maddog".

    Mr. Hall is the author of numerous magazine and newspaper articles, many presentations and one book, "Linux for Dummies".

    Mr. Hall has consulted with the governments of China, Malaysia and Brasil as well as the United Nations and many local and state governments on the use of Free and Open Source Software.

    Mr. Hall serves on the boards of several companies, and several non-profit organizations.

    Mr. Hall has traveled the world speaking on the benefits of Open Source Software having received his BS in Commerce and Engineering from Drexel University, and his MSCS from RPI in Troy, New York.

    Twitter: @maddoghall | Website:


  • Andrea Kolb
    Andrea Kolb

    Andrea Kolb is an experienced marketing expert and social entrepreneur. She studied economics and cultural management. After working for various agencies in Frankfurt, London and Monaco, she founded the agency “Calliope - Inspiring Brand Communication” in Munich in 2001. She developed marketing projects for Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank AG, o2 Germany, Mercedes-Benz and others. In 2006 she moved to Berlin. In 2007, together with her husband, Bernd Kolb, she developed and realised the concept of AnaYela – "A place of Inspiration" in the Medina, the old city of Marrakesh – that has won the World Hotel Award four times. In May 2011 she started the social business “ABURY”. Under the positioning of “Beyond Fashion”, ABURY combines the desire for style and ethics, exclusiveness and sustainability in a unique and innovative concept.


  • Brandalism

    Simon Templeton & Joe Elan are representatives of the Brandalism project. Following on from the guerilla art traditions of the 20th Century and by taking inspiration from various art movements and creative mischief makers, the Brandalism Project saw the largest reclamation of outdoor advertising space in UK history. Through collaboration with renowned visual artists from around the world, Brandalism sees artists stepping outside the boundaries of daily life, law and comfort to challenge the authority and legitimacy of the advertising industry within our streets and our culture.

    Twitter: @BrandalismUK | Website:

  • Anwar Daffa-Alla
    Anwar Daffa-Alla

    Anwar Dafa-Alla was born in Port Sudan in 1978. He is passionate about developing intellectual communities, especially in Sudan. He believes that developed nations should provide education and technological knowledge and support rather than financial aid to the developing countries. When hearing Neil Turok’s TED Talk “African Einstein”, he was so motivated that he started to translate TED Talks into Arabic in order to spread influential and impelling talks among the Arabic- speaking populations, in particular those in Sudan. He is the only person who has translated over 770 TED Talks through the TED Open Translation Project. In 2011 he organized the first TEDxKhartoum event and has spoken at numerous other TEDx conferences as well as TED Global.

    Twitter: @AnwarKing 


  • Thomas Petzold
    Thomas Petzold

    Thomas Petzold is a social technology researcher who looks at how people’s lives are altered by technological and social change. He is challenging the boundaries of current thinking by sharing his passion for provocative and meaningful arguments and crossing personal and cultural borders by working and living in Australia, Bulgaria, Russia and the UK. He is currently a Research Fellow and Project Leader at the Social Science Center in Berlin and the Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation in Brisbane, Australia.

  • Sven Helbig
    Sven Helbig

    Sven Helbig has composed and produced music for a wide range of artists such as Rammstein, the Pet Shop Boys, Snoop Dogg, opera singer René Pape, and the Fauré Quartett, amongst many others. He is the founder of the Dresdner Sinfoniker and has composed numerous, highly acclaimed productions, such as the multimedia-project “Mein Herz brennt” or the “High- Rise Symphony” for Dresden’s 800th anniversary. In February of 2013 the two-time ECHO Award winner will release his first solo album on Deutsche Grammophon as Fauré Quartett’s and the MDR Sinfonieorchester’s composer.

    Twitter: @SvenHelbig | Website:

  • Michael Poliza
    Michael Poliza

    After a successful acting career and founding an IT business, Michael Poliza went on to become one of the world’s most prolific wildlife photographers. Initiating the Starship Millennium Voyage project, Poliza travelled the world on the Starship boat, documenting the state of the world’s wild locations at the turn of the millennium. His work has been published in eight highly acclaimed books, featuring images from all over Africa to Antarctica. In December 2009 he was named as an ambassador of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).


  • Diana Nyad
    Diana Nyad

    Diane Nyad literally took the plunge and attempted to swim the 103-milestretch between Cuba and Florida. Having won the world record as greatest long distance swimmer back in the 1970s, she decided to challenge herself yet again. With deadly jellyfish, thunder- and lightning storms, as well as sharks threatening her life, she was forced to subsequently quit. After two attempts and a combined 92 hours and 5 minutes of swimming, a third attempt to reach Florida’s shores is only a matter of time.

    Twitter: @diananyad | Website:


  • Fabian Sixtus Körner
    Fabian Sixtus Körner

    Travelling the world for two and a half years, Fabian Sixtus Körner describes himself as a multidisciplinary creative enthusiast who doesn’t stick to one profession. A “new age design travelling journeyman”, Fabian is a designer, photographer and architect all rolled into one. He has curated exhibitions in India, shot documentaries in the US, did photo-shoots for Vogue Italy and is currently working on a book about his travel experiences that will be released next year. Currently living in Berlin, his border crossing both – physically and professionally – has won him the German Webvideo Award for his work “The Bollywood Movie Star”.

    Twitter: @fabsnonfire | Website:

  • Alonso Dominguez
    Alonso Dominguez

    Alonso Dominguez is the co-founder and creative director of sugarhigh, an online publishing company and creative consultancy agency. Originally from Mexico City, he has called New York, Paris, London and Shanghai home. Currently based in Berlin, Alonso is presently dedicated to consulting companies and brands on creating a relationship to of-the-moment culture across a multitude of creative arenas. For his TEDx Talk, Alonso will be discussing the “topography of cool”; how something becomes culturally relevant. He is constantly working on understanding and analyzing the intricacies of contemporary culture - the places and people at the helm and their timing.


  • Peter Fenwick
    Peter Fenwick

    The term “crossing over” symbolizes death or near death-experiences, a topic of research that has particularly fascinated Consultant Neuropsychiatrist emeritus Peter Fenwick. Together with his wife, he has co-authored several books on the topic, carrying out research in the UK, Holland and Japan. Additionally, his interest in brain function and the problem of consciousness have been extensively researched. For twenty years he ran the Epilepsy Unit at the Maudsley Hospital and is currently the Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry and Southampton University as well as the Honorary Consultant Clinical Neurophysiologist at Broadmoor Hospital.

  • Yahay AlAbdeli
    Yahay AlAbdeli

    “After so many years of wars and living in a dictatorial regime, facing challenges every day, I want to show the world that we have enough talent and energy to build a new future” – Yahay AlAbdeli

    Forced to flee Iraq in 1979, Yahay AlAbdeli’s family was torn apart by the onset of the Iraq war. Reunited, they moved to Sweden, which became their new home. Inspired by an Arabic-language TEDx event, Yahay returned to Iraq after 34 years to successfully set up TEDxBaghdad. He currently lives in Amsterdam.



  • Fetsum

    There‘s rarely music coming out so intimate and life affirming at the same time. Urban Folk singer Fetsum calls upon a whole host of influences from Soul to Reggae to the Mande music of Mali, from folk to rock and – inevitably, when you know his story being the child of Eritrean revolutionists – far beyond. Remarkable as it may seem, Fetsum succeeded in boiling down his unique experiences to elements that offer hope, joy and comfort. Over the last three years the now Berlin based musician played more than 160 live performances across Europe. He shared stages with acts like Estelle, K‘NAAN, Peter Fox, Söhne Mannheims, Cassandra Steen, Max Herre and Patrice in who’s Supow Studio he recorded his long – awaited debut album The Colors of Hope. Music like this can only emerge from a soul that is articulate, candid and inquisitive.


  • Zan Lyons
    Zan Lyons

    One of the most distinctive audiovisual performers to date, violinist, producer and film-maker Zan Lyons’ stunning shows have received critical acclaim across the globe. Explosive beats collide with melancholic concertos. Using his laptop and custom foot pedals, Zan loops his violin, voice and sounds - while manipulating his haunting visuals to incredible effect. Zan‘s filmmaking process retains the organic approach established by his music. A one-man-army, Zan directs, shoots, edits, and lights all of his films himself as well as doing all of the complex animation and visual effects work. The result is hypnotic and otherworldly, bringing a truly cinematic vision to the audio-visual world. His films have quickly earned Zan high profile recognition with nominations from Lux and the London Short Film Festival and screenings on MTV2 as well as the Cannes, Onedotzero and Raindance Film Festivals.


  • Fauré Quartett
    Fauré Quartett

    “The Fauré Quartett is right up there with the best ensembles you can listen to today” – Harald Eggebrecht, Süddeutsche Zeitung

    Within just a few years, the Fauré Quartett, composed of Dirk Mommertz (piano), Erika Geldsetzer (violin), Sascha Frömbling (viola) and Konstantin Heidrich (cello), has established itself as one of the world’s leading piano quartets. Visionary and highly acclaimed experimental chamber music performances outside the mainstream repertoire have had them collaborating with artists such as Rufus Wainwright and Sven Helbig. The Fauré Quartett has performed in world famous clubs such as the Berghain, the Cocoon Club and the world’s most renowned chamber music venues such as the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Alte Oper Frankfurt and the Berliner Philharmonie, amongst many others. Their audience encompasses all ages and nationalities, allowing for them to not just cross borders professionally, but to also break down cultural barriers.



9am Registration
10am - 11:30am Session 1
Ben Scott Why the Internet Changes Political Movements
Carolina Gonzalez-Bunster From Goldman Sachs to Walkabout
Alexander Görlach Letters or Numbers
John Bunzl The Political Prisoner's Dilemma
Fetsum Performance
11:30am - 12am Coffee Break
12am - 1:30pm Session 2
Jon "Maddog" Hall Borderless development via Freedom Culture
Andrea Kolb To walk the hidden paths
Zan Lyons Performance
Brandalism The Art of Self-Defense
Anwar Daffa-Alla Deine inneren Grenzen überwinden
Thomas Petzold 36 Million Language Pairs
1:30pm - 3pm Lunch Break
3pm - 5:30pm Session 3
Sven Helbig & Fauré Quartet Performance
Michael Poliza The Power of Wilderness
Diana Nyad Dare to Dream
Fabian Sixtus Körner Stories of a Journeyman
Alonso Dominguez The Topography of "Cool"
Peter Fenwick The Final Border
Yahay AlAbdeli That's What Inspiration Is For
5:30pm End




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