TEDxSilkRoad Confirmed Speakers
Ferhan Cook

TEDxSIlkRoad Program Designer & Curator

Ferhan Cook is the President of Any Screen Productions Ltd based in London.

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With over 25 years of experience in digital media, Ferhan Cook, worked 11 years for Apple as head of multimedia in California and in Paris between 1983 and 1994.

She then went on to establish her digital agency Mediaplay International, where she made many successful international deals for digital publishers and game developers.

For 10 years from 2000 and 2010, in addition to digital strategy consulting, Cook has created and helped grow the digital conferences of MIPTV and MIPCOM TV markets in Cannes, France to world class stature. She also served on various juries at the International Interactive Emmys, Korean GMCA awards, and executive produced the MIPCOM Mobile TV Awards and the Content 360 Cross Media Festival at MIPCOM and MIPTV.

Cook is currently a consultant trend-spotter for Ogilvy Digital Innovation Labs in London. She is also the host and curator of a TEDxSilkRoad conference which will take place in Istanbul, in April 2012 featuring the “Digital Silk Road” exploring collaborative creativity and commerce across borders.

Any Screen also publishes MobiAd News, a popular Internet newsletter and website, with 70,000 monthly readers focusing on mobile marketing and apps.

Jessica Hand

British Consul General, Istanbul, Turkey
Director of UKTI for Turkey

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Jessica Hand has been Director of UKTI for Turkey and HM Consul-General in Istanbul since August 2008.

She came to Istanbul from Moscow where she had been Director Operations and HM Consul-General since 2004. Prior to that, Jessica had been on secondment to a NATO military headquarters as Political Adviser to the Commander in Chief. In that role she made her first visit to Istanbul (in 2003).

A career diplomat, Jessica joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1985 after graduating from the University of Aberdeen and spending two years as sales manager for a private wine merchant in South Wales.

Her first overseas posting was to Senegal in 1987, followed by work on multilateral issues in London from 1990 onwards. Initially, she worked on developing and implementing international sanctions regimes against Iraq and Bosnia, and later contributed to the lifting of sanctions from South Africa after Nelson Mandela was elected President.

In 1996, Jessica was appointed Ambassador to the Republic of Belarus, returning to London in 1999 as Deputy Head of Non-Proliferation Department, focusing on conventional arms controls, export licensing, and the start of international efforts to develop controls on small arms and light weapons.

Jessica is married. Her husband is retired from the US Army and has just submitted his thesis for a research doctorate in international relations.

Mark Norell

Paleonthologist & Curator of the Silk Road Exhibit
American Natural History Museum, New York

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Mark A. Norell was born July 26 1957 in St. Paul Minnesota. He spent most of his formative years (1964 on) in Southern California. He received a Bachelor of Science in 1980 from Long Beach State University and a Masters of Science from San Diego State University in 1983. He received his Ph.D. in 1988 at Yale University (winning a John Spanger Nichols prize for best thesis).

After a year of post-doctoral training studying the molecular genetics in maize, Dr. Norell accepted a curatorial position at the American Museum of Natural History in New York where he is a Curator and Chair of the Division of Paleontology. He also serves as an adjunct voting member of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

Dr. Norell’s research encompasses a number of different areas. He has worked on theoretical topics relating to the study of diversity through time, the efficacy of the fossil record in capturing phylogenetic history, and how missing data can influence the estimation of phylogeny. Currently he is working on the relationships of small carnivorous dinosaurs to modern birds, naming new dinosaurs, deciphering growth patterns in dinosaurs, and attempting to develop new ways of looking at fossils using CT scans and imaging computers.

His work has taken him across the globe. Dr. Norell has been accompanying scientific expeditions since he was 14 years old and has taken part in over 50 international scientific expeditions. He has worked actively in Patagonia, Cuba, the Chilean Andes, the Sahara, Laos, Thailand, China, West Africa and Mongolia. The Mongolia project (now in its 22nd year) has received world-wide attention. Career highlights include the discovery of the bizarre theropod Mononykus, the discovery of the richest Cretaceous fossil locality in the world Ukhaa Tolgod, the first embryo of a theropod dinosaur, the description of dinosaurs with feathers, and the first indication of a dinosaur nesting on a clutch of eggs like a bird. Dr. Norell has named several other dinosaurs including Shuvuuia, Apsaravis, Citipati, Byronosaurus, Huaxiagnathus, Shenzhousaurus, Tsaagan, Shanag, Erketu, Sinovenator and Achillonychus. He has published over 150 scientific articles.

His work regularly appears in major scientific journals (including cover stories in Science and Nature) and was listed by Time magazine as one of the ten most significant science stories of 1994 and 1996, and in 1993, 1994, 1996, 2001, 2002 as one of Discover magazine’s top 50 science stories of the year and Scientific Americans Top Science stories in 2001 and 2004.

A regular presence in the electronic and print media, Dr. Norell’s research was the subject of a NOVA program that appeared in the spring of 2008.

Dr. Norell has assisted in the development of several permanent and traveling exhibits at the museum including most recently “Dinosaurs Ancient fossils, new discoveries”(Spring 2005), Mythic Beasts: mermaids, unicorns and dragons” (Spring 2007), Silk Road- ancient pathways to the modern world (Fall 2009), and The Worlds Largest Dinosaurs (Spring 2011).

In 1998 he was named a New York City Leader of the Year by the New York Times and May and in 2000 he was honored as a distinguished Alumnus of California State University Long Beach.

He serves on the board of the Rubin Museum of Art (a museum in New York dedicated to Himalayan art) where he sits on the executive committee and chairs the collection’s committee, and is an advisor to the Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination. Between expeditions and the demands of a scientific career, Dr. Norell lectures to general audiences and writes books and articles for diverse audiences. Discovering Dinosaurs, published by E.J. Knopf in May of 1995, and appeared in a second edition in 2000, won Scientific American’s Young Readers Book of the Year Award and an American Library Association “Best of the Best” award in 2001. In 2000 A Nest of Dinosaurs was given an Orbis Pictus award by the National Council of Teachers as a noteworthy title. Dr. Norell is listed in Who’s Who. Other related projects include the 2005 publication of “Unearthing the Dragon” an account of the feathered dinosaurs of China and its evolving culture. In 2010 he coauthored a biography of the legendary dinosaur hunter “Barnum Brown” which was published by the University of California Press. “Traveling the Silk Road”, published by Sterling Press appeared in the Fall of 2011. He is an avid traveler who especially enjoys journeying in Asia and is interested in all facets of its art, culture and natural history. Mark Norell resides in Manhattan.

Arvind Gupta

Design director at IDEO

IDEO is an innovation and design consultancy. Nominated by business leaders globally as one of the world’s most innovative companies, IDEO creates impact through design.

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Arvind Gupta is a member of the IDEO leadership team. He recently relocated from the Bay Area in the US to China to be immersed in the rapid changes in Asia. As a member of the IDEO Asia leadership team, he is responsible for several key Asian client relationships including Samsung and is developing talent and driving content excellence in the Shanghai office.

He sees design as a way of thinking that can be used to artfully and effectively solve problems large and small. Based on over eight years of work spanning industries from food and beverage to consumer electronics, Arvind is currently developing Adaptive Innovation, an approach to innovation that can deal with the speed of the emerging markets.

He holds several US patents and has spoken at numerous conferences and events including the SFMOMA and TEDx Salon. His thought leadership has been published in journals ranging from Time to Rotman Magazine, and he has been the recipient of numerous international design awards for design and innovation including six IDSA IDEA awards.

Raised in Los Angeles as a second generation Indian and returning to Asia, Arvind recognizes how innovation happens at speed in China and India, and firmly believes that Asia is not just a place of growth but also a region of innovation that will help shape a new economic future of the world.


Marie José Monpetit

Research Scientist in the Research Laboratory of Electronics

Dr. Marie-José Montpetit’s focus is on social TV, video-centric networks and network coding for video transmission.

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In 2007-2008, Marie Jose was an invited scientist at the MIT Media Laboratory where she is still involved in a class on converged video applications.

She was a recipient of the Motorola Innovation Prize in 2007 for “seamless video mobility) and the MIT Technology Review TR10 in 2010 for Social TV (one of the ten technologies to watch). He work in Social TV is now widely recognized and she was even coined “the matriarch” of Social Television.

Dr. Montpetit is a frequent reviewer of the European Union Information Technology programs. She is a Senior Member of the IEEE.

Francesca Rosella & Ryan Genz

Founders, CuteCircuit

CuteCircuit is a fashion company based in London that designs amazing interactive fashion.

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CuteCircuit is a pioneer in the field of wearable technology and has introduced many ground breaking ideas to the world of fashion by creating new beauty and functionality through the use of smart textiles and micro-electronics.

Founded in 2004, CuteCircuit is the first fashion company to create haute couture with LED illumination worn by stars on the red carpet and was also the first to sell illuminated fashion using LEDs in leading stores like Selfridges.

All CuteCircuit garments are designed by Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz. Francesca’s early career began as designer for Valentino in Italy. Ryan is formally trained as an artist, anthropologist and ultimately Interaction Designer focusing on Wearable Technology and holds patents and patents pending for wearable technologies.

CuteCircuit designs frequently include digital technology or interactive capabilities that give the garments and the people that wear them abilities beyond traditional fashion. The CuteCircuit product line includes the Prêt-a- Porter Collection, the Haute Couture Collection and special designs for unique performances by Katy Perry, U2 360° Tour, and Laura Pausini World Tour 2012.

They also designed the celebrated Galaxy Dress (now part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago), and the award- winning M Dress and the Hug Shirt (awarded as one of the best inventions of the year by Time Magazine).

Ryan and Francesca share their passion for fashion worldwide by participating in conferences and events where they speak on subjects of innovation, the future of fashion, and design. Always endeavouring to create something resonant, fashionable and special, visually and emotionally attractive; their work is frequently featured in books on design, fashion and innovation.
All CuteCircuit garments are designed in London and made in the UK, Italy, or the USA.

All CuteCircuit garments are manufactured choosing the highest quality materials and are designed using Patented and Patent Pending CuteCircuit technologies. CuteCircuit uses technologically advanced, ethical and clean manufacturing processes. The technology used in the garments is 100% RoHS compliant, this means that no hazardous substances are present in the products and that they are free from lead and mercury as well, and are safe to wear. The textiles used are also Oeko Tex certified, this means that they have been tested for safety and manufactured without harmful materials.

The future of fashion is bright!

Joey Ellis

A TED Fellow and Speaker, a living example of Borderless Creativity.

Joey Ellis received his BFA in Beijing from the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in 2009, becoming its first American graduate.

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His work has been exhibited extensively throughout Asia and North America and is in numerous private collections. Joey has received several site-specific commissions, including Greenpeace, Bank of America, Chevron and Manulife and his work has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time and Newsweek. He is also a recipient of the 2010 TEDGlobal fellowship.

Joey was also recently selected by The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum as one of 40 Under 40, a major exhibition highlighting the work of forty artists born since 1972. He currently resides and travels extensively throughout Asia.

In his words:
“I create works illustrating that within the boundaries of culture, politics and self-expression there are possibilities for individuality – not dwelling on the limitations, but what can be utilized within them.”

Didem Altop

CEO Endeavor, Turkey

Didem Altop is a Turkish-American born in the US in 1969, and living in Turkey since 1997.

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She is currently the Managing Director of Endeavor Turkey, part of a global non-profit organization supporting high-impact entrepreneurship in emerging markets as a catalyst for economic development.

Prior to joining the Endeavor Global network, Didem was involved in management consulting on social and business entrepreneurship. She has worked with Turkey’s leading holding companies to promote and design Corporate Social Responsibility strategies and has also worked with Turkey’s leading non-profit organizations on capacity-building campaigns.

Didem serves as a board member of the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TUSEV), to support civil society development through regulatory reform, non-profit capacity building and promotion of philanthropy.

Didem is a founding board member of the Corporate Volunteer Council, coordinating private sector volunteerism in local community initiatives and as subject matter expert resources for non-profit organizations.

She is also a board member of Junior Achievement, promoting entrepreneurship education for high school students, and a trustee of the Turkish Volunteers for Education Foundation, a nationwide network of after-school learning programs for which Didem designed a campaign to help them reach more than 1 million under-privileged children aged 6-16.

Ralph Simon

CEO & Founder – Mobilium Global
Founder & Chairman Emeritus – Mobile Entertainment Forum – America

Ralph Simon is one of the founders of the modern global mobile entertainment and content industry.

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Over the past 15 years he has been a prominent mobile visionary, trailblazer and innovator, helping grow the world-wide mobile/wireless content and entertainment industries, and playing a central role in it’s impact and presence in developing markets.

He heads Mobilium Global, the creative mobile think tank based in London, providing high level strategic advice and guidance to multi-national telco operators, handset & tablet makers, technology infrastructure companies, media companies, brands, ad agency groups and platform providers around the world. Drawing from vast international and BRIC developing market experience, Simon is at the forefront of mobile innovation with a unique understanding of what drives colloquial & contextual significance and mobile revenues – a key imperative in today’s mobile economies. He is a great friend of Turkey and is a fervent supporter of Turkish innovation.

Founder & Chairman Emeritus of the influential Mobile Entertainment Forum – Americas (MEF), the respected global trade group, he is at the forefront of commercial innovation that boosts global industry standards and telco content data, access, and quality user experience (QUE).

Simon was named as one of world’s Top 50 Executives in Mobile Entertainment, by Mobile Entertainment Magazine in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010. He received their Special Award for Outstanding Contribution To the Global Mobile Entertainment industry in 2007.

Mobilium Global are strategic mobile advisors & tacticians to telco operators, handset makers, consumer electronics companies – and also leading artists and global social media entities such as Madonna, Irish band, U2, Lady Gaga and the leading global Bollywood aggregator and online provider.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in the UK, a member of the Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences in the USA, and, special advisor to the Mobile Life Sciences Alliance (driving mobile health & wellness), and a founding member of the African Leadership Network, Africa’s leading mobile & digerati community.

Patrice Slupowski

VP of Digital Innovation, Orange/France Telecom

Patrice Slupowski runs NExT.com, the innovation team of the New Growth Activities Division of Orange group.

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The team is in charge of various innovative projects on mobile, PC, TV and tablets like Orange actu Revue (2424actu), TVcheck, Newsblend, English by Yourself, Orange Widgets … with a strong involvement on advanced social networks, content recommendation, social TV or personal data aggregation.

He is a marketing expert in web 2.0, widgets, APIs, ecosystems, social networks, interactive TV and mobile multimedia services.

He started his career with ticketing software, then created some of the first intranet services before helping innovative start-ups in the early days of the internet boost.

He founded a company called Waptoo in 1999, one of the first companies to believe in the opportunities around mobile data, creating WAP and mobile services and proposing some automated mobile testing software.

Patrice Slupowski sold the company to Lagardere in 2004, and still continued to develop it in the group while he was working for Cellfish/Plurimedia.

He joined France Telecom Group in 2006.

Patrice is a graduate in Information Science and Technology from Paris-Dauphine University.

Tulin Akin

Founder of Tarimsalpazarlama.com, an agricultural marketing agency

Tulin founded the first commercial portal in agricultural marketing in 2004 while studying Agricultural Marketing.

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Today, Tarimsalpazarlama.com, is the main communication, e-learning and e-commerce media to meet every need such as products, marketing and legislation for its almost 200,000 members. Being aware of the sector, while working on increasing the use of technology they are always on-site to visit almost 12,000 villages since our establishment.

Tarimsalpazarlama.com is now the Sector Representative of AliBaba.com and partner of Vodafone Turkey to keep its customers up to date by using GSM technology and Value Added Services.

Heather Leson

Director of Community Engagement
Ushahidi, Canada, Kenya

Ushaidi is a prominent social web company which connects people for disaster activation and other community movement activities.

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Heather Leson is Ushahidi’s Director of Community Engagement, a role in which she exercises her passion for community-building, storytelling, and idea hacking.

Heather creates and manages programs for Ushahidi’s diverse community, and mentors members of its open-source developer ecosystem. Her earlier leadership in open source communities such as Random Hacks of Kindness and CrisisCommons saw her successfully organize numerous participant-driven “unconferences” and hackathons.

In addition to her community development work, Heather has 15 years of experience in technical incident management, software life-cycle development, customer care, and Internet communications.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Combined Political Science and History from Carleton University in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, and a Library and Information Technician diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto.
Inspired to help people gain access to, understand and apply information, Heather is focused on giving “do-more” disrupters a voice.

Carlos Miranda Levy

Social Entrepreneur, Organizer of TedxSantoDomingo, Disaster Relief expert, Speaker in TedxJapan

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Carlos Miranda Levy, Social Entrepreneur and Information and Communication Technologies for Human Development professional with over 15 years of field experience on Information Society, Human Development, Innovation, Education, Government, Open Knowledge, Social Networks, Entrepreneurship, Ecology and Disaster Relief and Recovery in Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia.

Acknowledged as one of “20 Latin American Leaders of the Internet” (CNN, 2000). Awarded the Google Developing World Scholarship (2004). Digital Vision Fellow, Stanford University (2004-05). Public ICT Researcher, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean (2006). Social Entrepreneur in Residence, National University of Singapore (2010-11). Guest on-board Educator, Peace Boat (2011).

Founder of Multiple Social Start-Ups
CIVILA.com, Virtual Latin Cities, early social network with over 3 million active people. (1996)
Educar.org, educational portal and community of 2 million teachers and students. (1998)
BibliotecasVirtuales.com, e-library and community of 1 million literature fans. (1998)
Relief 2.0, disaster response and recovery initiative with inclusion, dignity and generation of wealth and opportunities in Haiti and Japan. (2010)
Markets of Hope (in development), a global marketplace of local products from areas affected by disaster or economically challenged. (2012)

In addition, Carlos has been an active member of the TEDx community since 2009 helping organize the TEDxEarthquake9.0, TEDxKRP, TEDxPortauPrince and TEDxSantoDomingo conferences.

Bora Biçer

PHD Candidate, Bosphorus University, İstanbul
Telco and Social Network Services Manager, Turkcell

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After receiving his BSc in Computer Engineering from Middle East Technical University (Ankara), and MBA from Bosphorus University (İstanbul), Bora has worked as an IT professional in different industries, including finance and HR until 2000.

Between 2000-2003, he started working as the managing partner at Cyberacademy Software, responsible for leading the team that built world’s first multi-cross platform Value Added Services(VAS) infrastructure.

After his career at CS, he joined Turkey’s largest network operator Turkcell in 2003, where he has held multiple positions such as Project Manager, System Analysis Teams Manager, and currently as the Telco and Social Network Services Manager in Consumer Business department.

Throughout his work at Turkcell, he has launched many innovative VAS projects, some of which has been recognized by Global Telecom Sector’s most prestigious organization GSMA, winning international awards/nominations like: 2012 Best Mobile Service Award with Turkcell TiklaKonus (as the Business Manager) 2009 Best Mobile Advertising Service Award with Tonla Kazan (as the IT Manager), 2007 Best Mobile Service Nominee with Digital Signature (as the Project Manager).

As a result of his interest in social sciences and social media, and with the help of his entrepreneur spirit, he now is working on his PHD thesis to formulate the dynamics of any individual’s social life, its footprints on social network sites and the interaction in between. He is trying to examine, whether a socially strong individual, is also equally influential online or not. He has chosen this dilemma as the main investigation area for his thesis.

He is planning on launching the closed group beta version for www.mostsocial.me at the TEDxSilkRoad Event, on April 11, 2012, which will debut as the first ever platform to measure the relationship between people’s social & online power.

Gündüz Vassaf

Weekly cultural columnist in Radikal since 1997, and author of several books including Depths of Heaven, My Mother Belkis, Turkey Who Are You?, and Tales Beyond the Bosphorus.

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[a fuller biography of Gunduz Vassaf will be posted soon]

Karen Lancel

Social Media Communications Designer, Holland

Artist duo Karen Lancel and Hermen Maat create ‘meeting places’ in public spaces.

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These ‘meeting places’ are performances and installations, spreading across the public space and the internet. The audience is invited to experiment and play with social technologies designed by the artists; and to reflect on the changing perception of the city, and their experience of body, presence, identity, community and trust.

Each ‘meeting place’ functions as an artistic ‘social lab’ in which the artists invite their audience as co-researchers. In this way Lancel and Maat research contemporary social systems in a mediated society.

The ‘meeting places’ are shown internationally in dynamic urban public spaces such as museums, squares, theatre halls, trains stations; among others in the cities of Seoul, New York, Melbourne, Shanghai, Moscow, Hong Kong, Beijing, Istanbul, Paris, London, Amsterdam. Through audience interaction Lancel and Maat show social portraits of urban mediated life.

Lancel is Phd candidate at Technical University of Delft and was professor at Frank Mohr Institute Groningen for the MFA program Interactive Media Environment.

Melda Goknel

TEDXSILKROAD Programme Co-Designer and Co-Host

Melda Goknel Bilal has a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Design and Masters Degree in Computer Arts and Interface Design.

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She started her professional career as an art director for commercials, subsequently moving into marketing and business development in the IT / interactive services sector.

She was responsible for developing the strategy and partnerships in terms of new technologies with major technology companies in Turkey, such as Turkcell Group and Meteksan Sistem, and Digiturk.

Melda has contributed articles to several professional journals and since 2009 has been working as a freelance business consultant and writer for academic and professional organizations. She currently resides in Istanbul.

Melda is currently the Marketing and Business Development Director of Pronet Security systems on her day job. She is a scenario writer, blogger, and mom in her night job.

TEDxSilkRoad Hosts
Melda Goknel

TEDXSILKROAD Programme Co-Designer and Co-Host
(see bio above)

Ralph Simon

CEO of Mobilium Group, UK

(see bio above)

Didem Altop

CEO Endeavor, Turkey

(see bio above)