TED founder and American author Richard Saul Wurman will speak on February 5 in Call Auditorium, as the first speaker of the semester for the Major Speaker Series hosted by Cornell Hillel.
Founded by Wurman in 1984, the Technology, Entertainment, Design conferences bring together speakers from various disciplines to give 18-minute talks on new and innovative ideas, according to TED’s website.
Julia Katz ’19, student chair of the Major Speaker Series at Cornell Hillel, said Wurman was “an obvious choice.”
“We saw Wurman as this creator of the instantly recognizable TED Talks, a worldwide phenomenon,” Katz said. “We thought that students at Cornell would be interested in hearing the story behind that creation.”
Katz said that Wurman might also speak about his personal experiences with Judaism and how they led him to discover these commonalities between technology, entertainment and design.
“[Speakers] usually talk about their story but oftentimes you see that their experience with Judaism is intertwined with that story,” Katz said. “We are Cornell Hillel, so we are trying to bring in these Jewish speakers and hear both their story, through whatever field they are in, as well as its connection to Judaism.”
After receiving both a M.Arch. and B.Arch from the University of Pennsylvania, Wurman chaired the TED conference from 1984 through 2002 and the TEDMED conference, dealing with the health and medical profession, from 1995 to 2010.
He has been awarded several honorary doctorates, fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and was recognized as the Distinguished Professor of the Practice at Northeastern University.
Although hosted by Cornell Hillel, the event will be open to the public.
“I really encourage anyone and everyone to come to this event and have the ability to understand and pick the brain of this incredible, innovative mind,” Katz said. “I think he has done so much for the world in terms of these conferences, and it would be incredibly inspiring to really understand his thought process.”