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Iranian Taghi Amirani among TED Fellows

Taghi Amirani

TED Conference Introduces TED Fellows Program

Fifty World-Changing Individuals to be Selected Annually for New, Prestigious Fellowship Program; 20 move to Senior Fellows Three-Year Program

Taghi Amirani's Bio:

Taghi Amirani is an Iranian physicist turned award-winning documentary filmmaker. He is the Director of Amirani Media, a London-based film and television production company with over 60 hours of programming produced for the world’s leading broadcast networks, including the BBC, Channel 4, PBS, National Geographic, France 3 and Aljazeera. Starting out as a director in 1989 he has made 35 documentaries, a couple of fictions shorts and a handful of commercials.

Although currently engaged with issues in the Middle East, Amirani’s early films were rooted in his background in science. His 1993 BBC film Knights of the Shining Piddock, about bioluminescence and a British couple’s passion for a glowing shellfish won The Gold Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival. Other films received recognition at The Golden Gate Awards, The Prix Leonardo, Prix Europa and The Grand Award at World Fest Charleston. Watch This Space, was shot with Hubble Space Telescope astronomers during the historic crash of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 into planet Jupiter in 1994. "Witty but never a send-up, this is actually one of the best science films in years" said Time Out.

The switch from physics to film happened in 1984 at Nottingham University where instead of doing a final year lab project he made Shades of Black, a documentary about an imaginary journey into a black hole. Inspired by Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, the student production got him a degree with honours and a coveted place at film school at Bristol University. On graduating in 1986 he made Mechanics of Love, a low-budget B&W silent comedy about a car crash in a car park. This lame homage to Buster Keaton via Woody Allen landed Amirani his first job in TV as a researcher on design and technology documentaries. In 1989 he produced and directed Earth Calling Basingstoke for the British Channel 4 flagship science series Equinox. Inspired by the fictional character Felix Happer, played by Burt Lancaster in Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero,Basingstoke, tells the heart-warming and quirky stories of British amateur astronomers. The Guardiannewspaper said: "It's Taghi Amirani's first film and a beauty of its quiet kind. He is a born miniaturist and they are a valuable, rare, and endangered species."

Amirani has gradually shifted his focus away from the eccentricities of the British to politics and Western foreign policy wreaking havoc in the Middle East. In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq he made the polemicWar on Iraq: Just Say No, and in 2001 he went to Afghanistan for the BBC to film the plight of Afghan refugees as the US and British bombs began to fall weeks after 9/11. Gaining access through the Iranian border The Dispossessed was shot in a Taliban-controlled refugee camp over nine eventful days. The Daily Telegraph said: "The Dispossessed charts the fall of the Taliban from a unique perspective... A remarkable record of how fast-moving events affect ordinary lives. A quietly humane film... powerful and dignified."

In 2004 Amirani made his first film back home in Iran. Gaining exclusive access to Shargh, Iran’s leading reformist newspaper, Red Lines and Deadlines was made for the PBS series Wide Angle. It was updated in 2005 during the presidential election that introduced Mahmoud Ahamadinjad to the world. The Wall Street Journal said: “Red Line and Deadlines, directed by Iranian filmmaker Taghi Amirani, provides an unprecedented look into the Orwellian world of Iranian journalism.”

Amirani has been a jury member at the International Emmys, Royal Television Society, One World Media Awards and Sheffield International Documentary Festival where he's also a member of the Advisory Committee. He writes occasionally for Broadcast Magazine and The Guardian. In 2006 he ran the New York Marathon and raised $10,000 for the homelessness charity Shelter.

Taghi lives in London and recently had his bicycle stolen.

Please visit for more info on his work

LONG BEACH, California-- Organizers of the TED Conference today (Feb 2nd) announced the introduction of the TED Fellows program, a new international program designed to foster the spread of great ideas. Initially 50 individuals, selected for the world-changing potential of their work, will be invited to participate in the TED community each year. At the end of the year, 20 of these 50 will be selected to be TED Senior Fellows, participating in an extended three-year program will bring them to six consecutive conferences, along with additional benefits. The principal goal of the program is to empower the Fellows to effectively communicate their work to the TED community and to the world.

The TED Fellows program will focus on attracting applicants living or working in five parts of the globe: the Asia/Pacific region, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East, with consideration given to applicants from the rest of the world. TED will seek remarkable thinkers and doers that have shown unusual accomplishment, exceptional courage, moral imagination and the potential to increase positive change in their respective fields. The program focuses on innovators in technology, entertainment, design, science, film, art, music, entrepreneurship and the NGO community, among other pursuits.

The program was inspired by the TEDAfrica 2007 conference in Arusha, Tanzania, in which 100 fellows participated in a first-of-its kind gathering that catalyzed a new generation of doers -- all entrepreneurial, fluent in technology and vested in creating change on the continent. The Arusha fellows brought with them new perspectives, enormous energy, enthusiasm and, through their ovation-generating talks, catalyzed the launch of many initiatives with other attendees. Propelled by their energy, TED decided to develop the TED Fellows program.

"Because TEDAfrica's success in 2007 was due in no small part to the boundless energy and remarkable ideas of our fellows, we decided to create a permanent program to bring more amazing individuals into the TED Community. TED will help them communicate their 'ideas worth spreading' to a much larger audience," said Tom Rielly, TED Community Director, who is responsible for the program.

Each Fellow will attend the prestigious TED Conference in Long Beach or Oxford, where they will have the opportunity to speak before or during TED and spread their ideas online through They will also receive exclusive communications training, a private social network and the opportunity to tell their ongoing stories on the new TED Fellows blog.

Each year, 50 Fellows will be selected to attend the TED (Long Beach) or TEDGlobal Conference (in Oxford, U.K.), approximately 25 at each location. TED Fellows will be awarded the opportunity to participate in the full spectrum of TED community offerings. An international selection committee representing the target regions will then choose the Senior Fellows. Three years from today, in addition to the 50 TED Fellows, there will be 60 concurrent TED Senior Fellows, with 20 joining each year, and 20 graduating to the Fellows alumni.

The first participants include
  • Erik Hersman and Juliana Rotich, co-founders of, a website for citizen journalism covering crises such as the Kenyan post-election violence

  • Faisal Chohan, CEO of Cogilent Solutions and founder of, the leading job portal in Pakistan

  • Juliana Machado Ferreira, Brazilian CSI: Wildlife biologist who uses genetic markers to track, interdict and convict illegal songbird traffickers

  • Sara Mayhew, Canadian mangaka (manga artist)

  • Patrick Awuah, founder and President of Asheshi University in Ghana, which specializes in economics and computer science

  • Bola Olabisi, founder and CEO of the Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network

  • Katrin Verclas, founder of, a global network using mobile technology for social good

  • Taghi Amirani, award-winning documentary filmmaker from Iran

  • Yatin Sethi, Indian design researcher and children's education activist

  • Kyra Gaunt, professor, ethnomusicologist and recording artist

  • Karen Baptiste, post-doctoral fellow from Trinidad and Tobago working on environmental justice

  • Tin Ho Chow, former Singaporean military officer and RISD industrial design student organizing design conferences for social change

  • Gerry Douglas, founder of Baobab Health - an NGO creating eHealth systems to address health care crises in the developing world with particular emphasis on HIV care and treatment

  • Esther K. Chae, Korean-American actor and writer whose solo performance So the Arrow Flies, inspired by true events, tells the story of a North Korean spy and the FBI agent who pursues her

A complete list of the 2009 Long Beach TED Fellows can be found at

The program is supported initially by the Bezos family, the Harnisch Foundation, private donors and Nokia, with additional in-kind support from Kodak, Livescribe and To support the program, email

Details are available at

About TED
TED is an annual event where some of the world's leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. "TED" stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design - three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline. Attendees have called it "the ultimate brain spa" and "a four-day journey into the future." The diverse audience - CEOs, scientists, creatives, philanthropists - is almost as extraordinary as the speakers, who have included Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Frank Gehry, Paul Simon, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Starck and Bono.

TED was first held in Monterey, California, in 1984. In 2001, Chris Anderson's Sapling Foundation acquired TED from its founder, Richard Saul Wurman. In recent years, TED has expanded to include an international conference, TEDGlobal; media initiatives, including TED Talks and; and the TED Prize. TED2009, "The Great Unveiling," will be held Feb. 3-7, 2009, in Long Beach, California, with a simulcast event in Palm Springs, California.

... Payvand News - 02/04/09 ... --

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