Shawn Peters

Shawn Peters is a storyteller who has had many careers and a long road in between stories. His many lives have included a stint in Corporate America, a Partnership in a thriving IT company, a partnership in a Record Label, a music festival founder and curator, finally he has landed where he intended to after graduate school, as a filmmaker and director of photography. Shawn began his formal higher education at Morehouse College where he was an English Major along with studying Cinematography with the legendary Dr. Ikelberg.


Kim Phuc

The Vietnam War knows many tragedies, some more familiar than others. A photograph of a young girl running naked down a road, her skin on fire with napalm, changed the way the world looked at the Vietnam War, and at all wars. The girl in the picture is Kim Phuc. Phuc was badly burned, she was not expected to live. When Vietnam veterans invited her to participate at a service in Washington, as part of a Veteran’s Day observance, Phuc shared her experience to help others heal from the pain of war. Phuc’s incredible story was turned into a book called The Girl in the Picture and a documentary called Kim’s Story: The Road from Vietnam. AP photo Nick Ut

Ricardo Rivera

Ricardo Rivera is Creative Director and Co-founder of Klip Collective, an experiential art shop that integrates projection lighting and storytelling to create compelling experiences. Ricardo is a visual artist, filmmaker and a true pioneer of video projection mapping, having earned a United States patent for his technological breakthroughs in the medium. His work has been featured multiple times at the Sundance Film Festival, including the commissioned festival bumper in 2014. Rivera directed Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience at Longwood Gardens, which attracted over 175,000 visitors in 2015. In the advertising world, brands including Nike, Target, NBC Sports and Adult Swim have sought his unique ability to use video projection art as a bridge between architecture, technology and storytelling. The common element in all of Ricardo’s work is groundbreaking creativity and technological innovation. 

Presented in partnership with artwithoutwalls.

Harald Schmidt

Harald Schmidt is Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy; Research Associate, Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, University of Pennsylvania. His research interests are centered around personal responsibility for health, public health ethics and fairness in health care priority setting. His Ph.D. Thesis, Just Health Responsibility, developed an ethical framework to decide on the fairness of policies that seek to promote personal responsibility, especially through rewards or penalties.

Session: Overdiagnosed

Susan Schneider

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy Cognitive Science Program at the University of Connecticut. She examines the nature of the self from the vantage point of issues in philosophy of mind, applied ethics, philosophy of science, cognitive science, metaphysics, artificial intelligence (A.I.), astrobiology, and epistemology. Most written about topics include the software approach to the mind, how the mathematical nature of physics undermines physicalism, A.I. ethics, and the nature of the person. Author of Science Fiction and Philosophy: From Time Travel to SuperintelligenceThe Language of Thought: A new Philosophical Direction and The Science of Consequences: How they Affect Genes, Change the Brain and Impact Our World.

Session: Alien Minds

Jeff Senne

Jeff Senne leverages more than 20 years of Corporate Responsibility and management experience to guide the operation of PwC’s Corporate Responsibility (CR) team and program initiatives, He collaborates with all areas of the firm to understand CR’s different drivers and ensure the firm’s numerous CR initiatives deliver financial, social and environmental value to the firm and its stakeholders.

As one of the firm’s “resident environmentalists,” Jeff also leads PwC’s environmental stewardship efforts. Jeff credits a graduate thesis on Corporate Responsibility at the United Nations University for Peace for his interest in win-win solutions that leverage private sector assets for the public good and business sustainability.

Session: Does Doing Good Mean Doing Better?

Sonia Shah

Sonia Shah is an investigative journalist and author of critically acclaimed and prize-winning books on science, human rights, and international politics. Her fourth book, Pandemic: Tracking Contagions from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond has been called “superbly written,” (The Economist) , “bracingly intelligent” (Nature),  “provocative” and “chilling,” (New York Times), a “lively, rigorously researched and highly informative read,” (Wall Street Journal) and “absorbing, complex, and ominous,” (Publishers Weekly). It was selected as a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice.

Her critically acclaimed 2010 book, The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years (Sarah Crichton Books/ Farrar, Straus & Giroux, July 2010), which is based on five years of original reportage in Cameroon, Malawi, Panama and elsewhere, was called a “tour-de-force” by the New York Times,” and was long-listed for the Royal Society Winton Prize. Philanthropist Bill Gates called it one of his top four “good books on disease” in recent years.

Shah’s prize-winning 2006 drug industry exposé, The Body Hunters: Testing New Drugs on the World’s Poorest Patients (New Press), was described by Publishers Weekly as “a tautly argued study…a trenchant exposé…meticulously researched and packed with documentary evidence,” and as “important [and] powerful” by The New England Journal of Medicine. The book, which international bestselling novelist and The Constant Gardener author John Le Carré called “an act of courage,” has enjoyed wide international distribution, including French, Japanese, and Italian editions.

Her 2004 book, Crude: The Story of Oil (Seven Stories), was acclaimed as “brilliant” and “beautifully written” by The Guardian and “required reading” by The Nation, and has been widely translated, from Japanese, Greek, and Italian to Bahasa Indonesia.

A former writing fellow of the Nation Institute and the Puffin Foundation, Shah’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, Foreign Affairs, and elsewhere, and has been featured on current affairs programs around the United States, including RadioLab, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and other NPR shows, as well as on CNN, Al Jazeera, and BBC.  A popular public speaker (her TED talk on malaria has been viewed by over 1,000,000 around the world; she delivered the opening talk at the 2014 TEDMED conference) Shah has lectured at universities and colleges across the country, including Columbia’s Earth Institute, MIT, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Georgetown and elsewhere. She served as the 2014 Ottaway Professor of Journalism at SUNY New Paltz and has been frequently supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and The Nation Investigative Fund.

Shah was born in 1969 in New York City to Indian immigrants. Growing up, she shuttled between the northeastern United States where her parents practiced medicine and Mumbai and Bangalore, India, where her extended working-class family lived, developing a life-long interest in inequality between and within societies. She holds a BA in journalism, philosophy, and neuroscience from Oberlin College, and lives with molecular ecologist Mark Bulmer and has two sons, Zakir and Kush.


Session: Pandemic: Tracking Contagions from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond