March 12, 2016


The speaker line-up for the TEDxDresden 2016 is now complete. If you have a great idea to share, please write us next year!

List of Confirmed speakers:

Cathrine Gyldensted

Director of Constructive Journalism at Windesheim University in the Netherlands

Short bio


In a world where the media is focused around negative and conflict-based stories, scandals and exaggerations, Constructive Journalism wants to strengthen constructive elements in journalism through the application of positive psychology, moral psychology and prospective psychology. In addition to informing about negative events and crises, Constructive Journalism aims to offer possible solutions to face and handle them. Thereby, journalists are reminded of their special responsibility as influential opinion makers, to report in a well-informed and diverse manner.

Cathrine coined the term “Constructive Journalism” academically in 2015 (with Karen McIntyre) and is currently serving as the worlds first director of Constructive Journalism at Windesheim University, the Netherlands. While elaborating the concept academically and spreading the idea world-wide, Cathrine has also authored two books on Constructive Journalism: “From Mirrors to Movers. Five Elements of Constructive Journalism” (2015) and “Handbook of Constructive Journalism” (2014 – in Danish).

In 2011, Cathrine founded the Goldensted Group, which offers training and workshops for professional news reporters and editors from around the world. Between 2000 and 2011, she served as an investigative reporter, news reporter, radio anchor and executive producer at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation and at Radio24syv. Cathrine majored in Radio & Foreign Affairs at the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus and holds a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University Of Pennsylvania.

Felix Oldenburg

Secretary General of the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen (Association of German Foundations)

Short bio

Felix_OldenburgSince April of this year, Felix Oldenburg is the Secretary General of the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen (Association of German Foundations), which incorporates more than 4000 German foundations. Besides representing the interests of the German foundations, the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen promotes activities in social welfare and civic society and awards a number of acknowledged prizes in these areas.

Between 2009 and 2016, Felix served as Europe Leader and Director Germany for Ashoka, the world’s first and largest association of leading social entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur himself at the interfaces of the social, business and political sectors, Felix launched a number of national and international programs at Ashoka that accelerate the spread and impact of social innovations, establishing the organization as a Europe-wide community of social innovators and business leaders.

Before joining Ashoka, Felix started an online business and worked for management consulting firm McKinsey&Company in London. As director at a political consultancy, he pioneered citizen consultations for governments and foundations, including the European Citizens’ Consultations in 27 countries.

Felix speaks and publishes on social entrepreneurship, citizen engagement, and corporate social responsibility. He studied Philosophy at the universities of Bonn, Tübingen and Oxford, and Policy Management in Washington DC (Georgetown).

Thorsten Strufe

Professor for Privacy and IT-Security at Technische Universität Dresden

Short bio


Thorsten Strufe is professor for Privacy and IT-Security at Technische Universität Dresden,PI of the Joint Research Centre HAEC and the Graduate School “RoSI”, as well as leader of the Resilience Path of the German Cluster of Excellence “cfaed”.

His research interests lie in the areas of large scale distributed systems and social networking services, with an emphasis on privacy and resilience. Recently, he has focused on studying user behavior and security in online social networks and possibilities to provide privacy-preserving and secure social networking services, partially through decentralization. One of the challenges driving him is the question, how competitive online and mobile services can be created without comprehensive collection of personal information, which hence respect the privacy of their users.

He was appointed professor for for Peer-to-Peer networks at Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany, from 2009 to 2014, and visiting professor for Dependable Distributed Systems at University of Mannheim, Germany, throughout 2011. Previously, he took a post as senior researcher at EURECOM, where he was working with Refik Molva on security with a special focus on online social networks and did a post doc at Technische Universität Ilmenau, working on resilient networking technologies.

He received the PhD degree from Technische Universitat Ilmenau in 2007. His thesis deals with the construction of network-efficient overlay topologies for live multimedia streaming, and means to making them especially resilient towards both the failure of nodes and DoS attacks.

Rick Wolthusen

Co-founder of On The Move e.V.

Short bio

Rick WolthusenRick Wolthusen is a final year medical student at Technical University Dresden. During the course of his studies, he traveled to sub-Saharan Africa for clinical internships several times. In order to foster the cultural exchange between Germany and Africa, he and a friend founded the German NGO On The Move e.V. in 2013.

The NGO focuses on volunteer programs, fundraising campaigns for medical institutions and schools, and Brain Awareness activities in African countries and Germany. Using a novel approach, they aim to decrease the stigma of mental illness by educating society about the brain, in keeping it with the motto “The brain is what makes you YOU”. Since On The Move e.V. is committed to sustainability, it collaborates with local institutions and establishes fruitful partnerships between all participants.

As Rick Wolthusen is also very interested in psychiatric research on genetics, brain imaging, schizophrenia, and global mental health, he brings together his own passion for science with the sophisticated programs of his NGO. He has already won several distinguished awards for his NGO work and his research at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, MA, USA.

Find out more about On The Move here .

Joachim Scharloth

Professor of Applied Linguistics at Technische Universität Dresden

Short bio

Joachim ScharlothJoachim Scharloth is a Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Department of German of Dresden University of Technology.

In his research he aims to use linguistic theory and methods for the analysis and understanding of culture and society. His recent research is focused on developing new data-driven methods in corpus and computer linguistics and applying them to the analysis of public discourse and political language. Being able to write his own software, he has developed computational methods to identify historical watersheds and narrative patterns in big text corpora. Concerning political language, he is mainly interested in the question, how language contributes to creating a reality, which legitimates certain political measures whereas others appear to be unreasonable.

Beyond that, he has co-organized conferences on information and research ethics in the digital age and critically reflects the impact of new technologies on the life of individuals and on society as a whole as a speaker as well as on his blog “Surveillance and Security” .

He obtained his PhD in German Linguistics from the University of Heidelberg in 2002 as a member of the Graduate School “Dynamics of Non-Standard Varieties” with a scholarship of the German Research Foundation. In the same year, he became an assistant professor at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, where he obtained my Habilitation in 2008. After two positions as Visiting Professor at the Universities of Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany (2008-2009), and Zurich (2009-2010), he joined Dokkyo University in Tokyo, Japan, as an Associate Professor of German Studies. After 2.5 years at Dokkyo University, he was appointed Full Professor at Dresden University of Technology in 2012.

Jan Dirk Capelle

Director of Outreach at the charity Raising for Effective Giving

Short bio

Jan Dirk CapelleHow can we do the most good possible, given that we only have limited time, money, and other resources? This is the question that the Effective Altruism (EA) movement is trying to answer. Using scientific evidence and rational decision making, Effective Altruists try to identify how they can prevent suffering and premature death for as many individuals as possible. They thus combine the “heart” and the “head”.

As Director of Outreach at Raising for Effective Giving (REG), Jan applies this approach to philanthropy. REG is a project of the Effective Altruism Foundation in Berlin and promotes donating part of one’s income to highly cost-effective charities in industries such as professional poker and finance. Jan advises professionals on how they get the “biggest bang for their buck” in the area that they most care about and gives talks and workshops for young people how want to use their career to do good.

Jan studied Philosophy, Neuroscience, and Cognitive Science at the universities of Magdeburg and Osnabrück and focused on the psychology of rational decision making. He has worked at different research institutes, including the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, and at the consultancy nextpractice in Bremen. He was also president and member of the board of two debating societies and helped to organize the World Universities Debating Championship Berlin 2013 as head of finance and accountancy.

Gesine Marquardt

Professor for Social and Health Care Buildings and Design at Technische Universität Dresden

Short bio

Gesine MarquardtGesine Marquardt is an Architect and Professor for Social and Health Care Buildings and Design at TU Dresden and head of the Emmy-Noether group “Architecture under demographic change”.

Together with her research group, she investigates ways to design environments for people with specific needs, such as patients in hospitals or people with dementia receiving care. These environments need to be designed in a way that people with disabilities, older adults, and people from different backgrounds can orient themselves easily, interact with each other and at the same time feel comfortable.

In 2001, Gesine co-founded the architectural office Cooperation_4 Architects Dresden which engages in a wide range of design projects, focusing on creating healthy and accessible environments for all users. Also, she consults healthcare business, thereby applying her research results to our society.

Gesine was honored with the Kurt-Beyer-Price and the Georg-Helm-Price from the TU Dresden in 2007, and with the Deutscher Studienpreis of the Körber foundation in 2008. She was visiting researcher in Baltimore (United States) and in Stirling (Great Britain). Gesine received her PhD at the TU Dresden, after she studied architecture in Stuttgart and New York City.

Friedemann Brause and Mandy Merker

Coordinators in the Project „Hier. Bewegen. Wir!“ (“Here. We. Move!”) from Aktion Zivilcourage e.V. (moral courage initiative)

Short bio

Mandy Merker und Friedermann BrauseSince 2015 Friedemann Brause and Mandy Merker dedicate themselves to the participation of young people in the rural areas of the Saxon Switzerland.

Mandy Merker has long-standing experience as a social pedagogue and process companion, also in the area of outdoor education. Friedmann Brause is a political scientist and was involved in political education for a longer period of time. Both are united by the wish of making the voices of young people heard. “For us, participation means including young people into the planning process from the beginning. We ask young people what they initiate in their homes and how they want to engage themselves.”

However, in order for the participation of young people to work it also needs the openness and courage of the adults, in order for them to adapt to the new approaches and opinions of the young.

The association, Aktion Zivilcourage e. V., works with education and counseling. It commits itself above party lines and in a broad network to strengthen the democratic culture in Saxony, with engagement and expertise. As a platform and a contact point, it supports people in their engagement. The association’s projects are aimed at people in every age group.
Moral courage means standing up when other persons are being threatened, speaking out on injustices, be it among friends or in the tram. In their talk, Mandy Merker and Friedemann Brause present the role of moral courage in social processes. Moral courage is, especially today, an essential factor to make our society more resistant and adaptable.

Norbert Rost

Manager of the project “Zukunftsstadt Dresden” and head of the office for postfossil regional development

Short bio

Norbert RostSimilar to the idea of transition towns, the contest “Zukunftsstadt” (future city) of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research wants to create and foster the vision of a sustainable city. For this purpose, the citizens of Dresden were invited to 24 workshops to discuss and develop the future city they want to live in. Under the slogan “Act local – think global” the topics covered for example energy security, public participation and cultural openness. Norbert and his team collected and presented these ideas, thereby making it to the second round of the contest.

As head of the office for postfossil regional development, Norbert and his colleagues support communes and companies in the transformation process towards a post-carbon and renewable society – since the energy transition is not only a technological change, but also a cultural one.

Norbert also co-founded the Elbtaler association, which introduced the regional currency Elbtaler to enhance local economic cycles. Hence, the local economy is strengthened whereas economic risks and waste of resources are reduced.
Norbert studied Wirtschaftsinformatik (business and computers) at the TU Dresden. In his diploma thesis, he analyzed systemic risks of the financial system, four years before the global financial crisis broke out in 2008.

Sarah Rosenthal and Julia Karnahl

Sarah Rosenthal and Julia Karnahl are CEO and volunteer at Start with a Friend.

Short bio

Sarah Rosenthal and Julia KarnahlSarah Rosenthal (top) is co-founder and CEO of Start with a Friend, an organization that brings together refugees and locals all over Germany. A graduate of economic science at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Sarah Rosenthal already focused on integration policies during her studies. In her diploma thesis, she analyzed the equality of opportunities and educational disadvantages of immigrants in the Ger-man education system.

Together with a group of friends, Sarah Rosenthal founded the tandem project Start with a friend in late 2014. With their collective knowledge of asylum policy and social integration, they wanted to create a project that allows sustainable connections between locals and refugees. The idea is to connect refugees and locals in tandems on a personal level based on interests and backgrounds. At the same time, Start with a Friend allows locals with a limited amount of spare time to engage in a fruitful integration project. In addition to the tandem, locals and refugees regularly get together for numerous events in their communities and share mutual activities.

Start with a friend is currently underway in eight German cities. It started in Dresden in June 2016. Julia Karnahl (bottom) is part of the Dresden team. In addition to her regular work as an editor for the Dresden-based publishing house jungvornweg where she specializes in education projects, she has worked for different volunteer projects and has helped building up Start with a Friend in Dresden.

Until now, Start with a Friend has brought together over 700 tandems of locals and refugees (July 2016). For this, start with a friend has received a number of awards such as the national „start-social-award“ and the „Deutschland. Land der Ideen“ award.