I've recently returned from Oxford, England, from a remarkable four days at the first annual TEDGlobal conference, "The Substance of Things Not Seen," once again inspired by TED's extraordinary speakers and the impressive range of their ideas and experiences.
As TED Prize director, I'm gratified by the growing international diversity of the winners and their wishes -- from Karen Armstrong's wish to bring prominent religious thinkers and leaders together to develop a Charter for Compassion based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect, to Neil Turok's hope to nurture scientific talent in Africa working to find the next African Einstein, to E.O. Wilson's aspiration to create the Encyclopedia of Life, a powerful, flexible Internet website that will include an continually-evolving page for every species on Earth.
At TEDGlobal, we made an important announcement about the Charter for Compassion. On Sept. 27, 2009, a group of Nobel Laureates, including the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will participate in a conversation on compassion at the Dalai Lama Center in Vancouver, British Columbia. Armstrong will introduce the concept of the Charter and open the call for action, supported by the new Charter for Compassion website. The session will be live-streamed on www.ted.com.
In November, the Charter will launch to the world.
Today our TED Prize winners are focused on issues ranging from the health of the world's oceans (Sylvia Earle) to the possibilities connecting with extra-terrestrial life (Jill Tarter). Other TED Prize winners are expanding programs to teach children classical music (Jose Abreu), building a sustainable rural health system in Rwanda (Bill Clinton) and seeking architectural solutions to world humanitarian crises in places like Sri Lanka and Kosovo (Cameron Sinclair).
The TED Prize started in 2005 and the winners have shown the world that remarkable things can happen when big ideas are recognized and offered the chance to become reality. Originally designed to utilize the TED community's exceptional array of talent and resources, the TED Prize has grown to include ideas from virtually all corners of the globe. It is awarded annually to three exceptional individuals who each receive $100,000 and the granting of his or her "One Wish to Change the World." After several months of preparation, the winners unveil their wishes at an award ceremony held during the TED Conference.
Since the first TED Prize winners were announced, the list of the TED Prize collaborative partners has also grown and now includes organizations such as the New England Conservatory of Music, Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative and National Geographic, among many others. Major support for the TED Prize comes from Razorfish, AMD, Sun Microsystems, Hot Studio, Albertson Design, Form TV, Nokia, Kleiner Perkins, @radicalmedia, BD, Adobe, IUCN and Photosynth, in addition to the funding and support from the Sapling Foundation and TED staff.
This column is the first of what will be a regular posting to update Huffington Post readers on the remarkable changes our TED Prize winners are bringing about around the world as their wishes become reality. We think their results will be extraordinary.