TEDxRiga 2014 Speakers

TEDxRiga 2014 has taken place on June 12, 2014 at the Splendid Palace theater in Riga, Latvia.

We are proud to introduce the following speaker lineup —


Session I, Sowing

[divider] [team_member id=”eriks-esenvalds” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]What do the Northern lights sound like?[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/j6L6u9zASPQ?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Ēriks Ešenvalds is a composer, member of The Latvian Composers Union.

Ēriks is a multiple winner of The Grand Music Award, the supreme Latvian state award in music, he was named The Year’s New-Composer Discovery by Philadelphia Inquirer in 2010 and was a nominee for the British Composer Awards in the same year.

From 2011 to 2013, Ēriks held a position of Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, University of Cambridge.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”kirils-kobrins” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]The importance of being low-key[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCI9FBP0Abg” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Kirils Kobrins is an author of 14 books, who writes fiction and nonfiction prose, co-edits a magazine in Moscow and contributes to a monthly column for Rīgas Laiks.

Kirils wrote a Ph.D thesis on Welsh Medieval History, spent 13 years in Prague working as a journalist for Radio Svoboda and eventually moved to London where he settled last year to enjoy life as a melancholic freelancer.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”leo-selavo” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]Healthcare — from pixels to picture[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/2M73PSLlWqs?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Leo Seļāvo is a professor at the University of Latvia, a senior researcher and the head of the Cyber Physical Systems laboratory at the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science, Latvia.

Leo holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Pittsburgh and his interests are in wireless sensor networks and systems that observe, compute, communicate, and make a positive impact to the real world at technical, economical, ecological and society levels.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”toms-kreicbergs” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]What giant robots teach us about life[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ctz4E2ARkCg” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Toms Kreicbergs is a writer whose fiction has been nominated for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards and the Latvian Literature Award.

Toms has won the Writers of the Future contest, and his stories have been translated to multiple languages. He writes under the pen name Tom Crosshill.

After studying physics at Reed College and working as an investment banker on Wall Street, Toms returned to Latvia, where he teaches business skills. In the past he has operated a nuclear reactor, worked inside a zinc mine, and co-founded a dance school, among other things.
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Session II, Growing

[divider] [team_member id=”kaspars-tobis” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]The evolution of synthesized sound[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/VWdjugBnW2w?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox]Kaspars Tobis is a keyboardist, a composer and a producer.

Since 2000, Kaspars has been a member of the rock-band Dzelzs Vilks (Iron Wolf in Latvian), which is one of the most successful alternative bands in Latvia for more than two decades.

Apart from programming and playing keyboards in Dzelzs Vilks, he has been collaborating with musicians in Latvia and abroad, such as Brainstorm, Mumiy Troll, Ainars Mielavs, Dabas koncertzāle and many others.

Kaspars has also co-authored music for several theatre performances in Dailes teātris as well as for contemporary dance performances by Olga Zitluhina.

In 2001 his first solo album Zenithsign was released. His second album Concert for 7 Synthesizers was released in 2013 and has received the Latvian Music Recording Award, Zelta Mikrofons as the Best Electronic Album 2013. In relation to this record, media often calls him the Latvian Jean Michel Jarre.[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”sandra-kropa” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]The never-ending thirst to know[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/WmJwn4WDeLE?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Sandra Kropa is a science journalist on Latvian Radio.

Sandra has graduated from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Latvia in 2006, and already during her studies became the host of the popular science program “The Known within the Unknown” on Latvian Radio 1. Since then the science communication is not only her job, but also her passion.

She has won the award of the Best Young Radio Journalist in Latvia in 2010, and became a runner-up of the European Astronomy Journalism Prize in 2013.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”janis-bergs” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]Why it’s good to sell your company[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/BsVzjd5H-9Y?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] After graduating from Riga Technical University with a degree of Radio Engineering and working as an IT industry sales professional, Jānis Bergs became acquainted with business world.

Improved his business thinking skills with an MBA degree from Riga Business School and University of Buffalo, Jānis evolved his career becoming a CEO of Microlink Group where he managed the process of buying and selling for more than 20 companies.

Inspired about the remarkable non-routine business world and creation process of new business initiatives, Jānis has since become a technology oriented entrepreneur with 15 years of experience and investor in many companies and startups.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”kao-viet-ngujen” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]Latvia — worthy of Lāčplēsis[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/PeLo6j-A1aQ?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Kao Viet Ngujen is a Vietnamese artist who calls himself Latvian.

Kao has lived in Latvia for already more than 10 years where he has learned not only Latvian language, but art, love, patriotism and patience. He has graduated the Jan Rosental Art High School and specialized in comic art, digital art and character design.

As a comic artist he has created 21st century comic for Latvia’s epic „Lacplesis”, that has had a huge impact on Latvia, influencing generations of writers, artists and politicians.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”karlis-celms” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]Simple Pleasures: Chewing on a First World Problem[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/uCC3d-7FrkQ?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] “American – Latvian” Chef Karlis R. Celms acquired his cooking skills at San Francisco’s Le Cordon Bleu college of Culinary Arts. He completed a formal internship at a 2-star Michelin restaurant, and has honed his skills in a wide variety of restaurant environments over his 12 years in professional kitchens.

After a self declared industry “burn out” he chose to travel through Europe & explore other fields of interest, only to return to Kitchen work in the country of his father’s ancestry, Latvia.

Karlis is constantly striving to create honest, simple & seasonally inspired food “done right”, while finding ways to challenging his diners to step out of their gastronomic “comfort zone”. 

He currently oversees Cafe Tvaiks, “SpridEats” food truck, & his newest venture “The Rusted Root”.
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Session III, Protecting

[divider] [team_member id=”silvija-nora-kalnins-ingus-ulmanis” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]Science in concert with nature[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/QUL0eSQtV8c?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Silvija Nora Kalniņš and Ingus Ulmanis are two of the three co-authors of the Dabas koncertzāle (Nature Concert Hall) concept.

Nature Concert Hall has evolved from the year 2006 to stand for a concert conducted in the open-air to bring people closer to the understanding of that nature, its inhabitants and how to care for it.

The idea stemmed from the need musicians playing ambience music had to break out of the traditional concert venues and the need for scientists to bring their fascinating knowledge to the public.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”edgars-lapins” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]Airing out the draft[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/s-VpmQx7Znc?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Caring deeply about critical thinking and public understanding of science, Edgars started organizing grassroots skepticism and science popularization events called SkeptiCafe in 2011, providing an informal platform of science communication for Latvia’s scientists and educators.

Drawing from academia at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Edgars promotes healthy skepticism about claims which lack evidence, ranging from alternative health treatments to the many myths surrounding GMOs, climate change and vaccination.

He advocates asking “How do we know?” more often and is keen to share his experience in using scientific research in recreational ultramarathon running.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”natalie-cernecka” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]The Inara effect[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/T9nFC6dkRxU?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Natalie Cernecka is a Classical philologist by training. She specialised in Greek manuscripts, did her PhD in Cambridge, and participated in the most famous manuscript-related project of the last twenty years, the Archimedes Palimpsest project.

In the process, she realised that she enjoyed not only deciphering old scripts and discovering new texts, but also launching projects and persuading people. Since then, she has been managing projects for public, private, and non-profit sector in London, Paris, Riga, and Tokyo. She enjoys languages, cheese, and running.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”uldis-leiterts” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]The age of data literacy[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/speKlXgUTX8?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Uldis Leiterts is an entrepreneur, designer and the co-founder of globally known data visualisation startup infogr.am.

The idea to found infogr.am came to Uldis and a co-founder Raimonds Kaže (then a colleague at Baltic’s largest news media Delfi) after they made a few customised data visualisations for European Commission, weekly analytical magazine Ir, and Latvian Institute.

Backed by german Venture Capital fund HackFWD, Uldis, Raimonds, and the third co-founder Alise Semjonova built the first of a kind data visualisation tool which is globally used by The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Al Jazeera English, Harvard University among others and serves data visualizations to 10 million people every month.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”lauris-liepa” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]Childlike lawyers[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/KIysMV9wbVY?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Lauris Liepa is a sworn advocate, a lector at University of Latvia and Riga Graduate School of Law.

His specialisation is commercial law and civil law. In the last 10 years, Lauris has devoted his academic activities to the issues of Legal Ethics.

Lauris Liepa thinks that a good lawyer applies the law to achieve the client’s objectives, while an excellent lawyer aims at improving the law — to make it as close as possible to the principles of justice.
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Session IV, Sharing

[divider] [team_member id=”rihards-fedotovs” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]Dare to embrace[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/btlF4Z_AoFc?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Rihards Fedotovs, aka Rick Feds, is a Fulbright scholar and creator of the Jazz Drums program at Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music.

He holds degrees from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen and The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. On the drums he has received recognition for his unique, precise, playful percussive style and has been invited to perform with numerous acclaimed artists across the globe.

Rihards is the Director and CEO of Rick Feds Society, an eclectic synthesis of electronic music featuring various artists and genres and representing an ever evolving interpretation and celebration of the music.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”greg-mathers” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]The source of success[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/6E3zVSCSGYk?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Greg Mathers is a serial entrepreneur working on his 5th startup, Enixus, where he is a founding partner.

Enixus is an accelerator helping early stage life sciences companies from the Baltics and Scandinavia to develop more quickly into sustainable, growing enterprises.

In addition, Greg teaches management in the MBA program at Riga Technical University, Riga Business School. He is an associate with the Adizes Institute, a top 10 leadership development institution, and managing director of Adizes Latvia. Greg regularly consults with leadership teams in organizations across Europe and in the US.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”raimonds-elbakjans” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]Medicine for the ghetto[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/ncMbC1wbSxQ?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Ghetto is not an easy word, and Raimonds has his own uneasy and complicated background to tell you about. But his relentless passion to bring hope and energy to his neighborhood, Grīziņkalns, has given this word now a ring of power and style.

Ghetto Games, one of his central projects, is now a youth sports movement that spreads far beyond its humble roots in a degraded district, and Raimonds has no intention to stop at that.

He knows there are too many demotivated, meandering young people that can be given hope and direction, by setting example and showing that their involvement matters.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”fionn-dobbin” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]Connecting the unconnected[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][infobox][button size=”medium” url=”http://youtu.be/RBfdvib2irc?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rM3eJ5WlCFrUm2EB7RuOfsI” target=”_blank”]Watch on YouTube[/button][/infobox][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Fionn Dobbin is a lecturer and the Creative Industries & Entrepreneurship Program Director at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga with a diploma in Industrial Design from the UdK Berlin Career College.

During his studies he has worked as a Innovation Team Designer for Adam Opel GmbH and as a Creative Director for the Latvian design company ZNAK.

After his diploma, a social business sanitation concept, he started working for the creative think tank and consultant company The Grameen Creative Lab of peace prize laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus.

Fionn’s core business as a freelance creative advisor is developing new ways and strategies in the fields of human interaction and communication within there environment.

Beside his main business as a lecturer at the SSE Riga and as a creative advisor, he is the founder and Creative Director of the social business fashion company MAMMU.
[/infobox] [/three_fourth_last] [team_member id=”ksenija-sidorova” column=”one-fourth”][three_fourth_last][one_half][quote]Creating Opportunities and Running With Them[/quote][/one_half][one_fourth_last][/one_fourth_last][infobox] Ksenija Sidorova is a classical accordionist, the winner of multiple local and international musical awards and talent competitions.

She has received a Masters Degree with Distinction at the Royal Academy of Music. Her awards also include a Philharmonia Orchestra Martin Musical Scholarship Fund Award and Philharmonia Orchestra Friends Award.

Ksenija is a keen promoter of her instrument and she has continuously done outreach work at Primary schools across the UK with the support of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.
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