Future To Go?

October 2019


Laura Gatti

Why We All Should Be Gardeners in the Eco-Cities of the Future

Humans need a sense of belonging and connectedness - now more than ever. But the cities of today cannot tend to those needs. On the contrary, they make climate change worse, and they don’t provide enough opportunities to overcome social segregation and estrangement. In her talk, Laura Gatti presents her vision of the ecological city: a resilient and human-centered city design where people live within a green environment. Laura is an agronomist and a passionate tree lover. Together with the Italian architect Stefano Boeri, she realized the Bosco Verticale („horizontal woods“) in Milan, and is planning another spectacular green building for Utrecht main station in the Netherlands. She founded her firm in 1992, specialized in horticultural advisory, tree care, tree management plans, soil consultancy, with special skills and experiences in restoration of historical sites and greening integrated to buildings (green roofs, green walls, hanging gardens). She is a winner of many competitions together with different international architecture and engineering firms and a founder and the first president of the Italian Society of Arboriculture. Also, Laura is an adjunct professor in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Milan since 2005 and has been awarded with the Targa Fabio Rizzi as Professional of the Year in 2008. Recently, Laura has been awarded as ‘Great Tree of the Italian Landscape’ in 2017 and granted as ‘One of the 50 most impactful green leaders – Global Listing’ in 2018.

Bridget Fonkeu

Being a Migrant Academic. The Powerful Role of the Silent University

Some people seem to be invisible. This is the case with many migrants who work in poorly paid jobs, even if they are in fact highly qualified. Bridget Fonkeu tells us her powerful personal story, the story of an academic refugee who cleaned school and hospital corridors for years. With the help of the Silent University, she re-gained the energy and the confidence to live to her full potential and now teaches at Dortmund Technical University. Bridget Fonkeu was born in Cameroon and is married with four children. In 1986, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and theatre arts and got a Master’s degree in the science of education. She worked as a high school teacher in Cameroon, where she taught English literature to Anglophone students and English as a second language to Francophone students. As Cameroon became politically unstable, she fled to Germany as an asylum seeker in 1991. Her two degrees were not recognized. So, she started to work as a cleaner and a restaurant dish washer. In 2007, she decided to go back to university, but was required to do a DSH Germany proficiency test. At the age of 45, she started a Master’s degree at the University of Bochum, while she needed to keep her job as a dishwasher. In 2011, she got a Master’s degree in English linguistics from the University of Bochum. Three years later, she moved on to the Technical University of Dortmund, where she is rounding up her PhD project.

David Middelbeck

Re-inventing Education for the Digital Age

Education and technology have been in a race since the invention of printing. Today, education is lagging behind, says David Middelbeck. We need to change the fundamentals of learning to adapt to the digital age. David tells his story of how after learning in Münster and Harvard, he has just left a good job in tech to help bring technology into education. David stands up for a world without digital illiterates as the Chairman of the European non-profit organization TechLabs. He co-founded the organization two years ago in Münster, and now helps hundreds of students every year to learn coding skills at its three locations in Münster, Barcelona and Copenhagen. Furthermore, David is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of the startup edyoucated, a digital education platform that helps companies to upskill their workforce to digital roles. He is a passionate social entrepreneur with eight years of non-profit leadership experience and former Head of Product at an early-stage data analytics start-up from Münster. Before, he studied Information Systems, Data Science, Philosophy, and Entrepreneurship at Harvard University, MIT, WWU Münster, and QUT Brisbane.

Koen Schobbers

How to (Re)Connect With Your Gaming Child

Gaming kids can really disturb family harmony. Parents struggle with understanding and conflicts can escalate. How can families escape the fatal spiral of miscommunication? Koen Schobbers became a professional gamer at the age of 14 and was the first officially recognized e-sports athlete in the Netherlands. Koen talks about an easy inspirational approach for parents and kids which he learnt through his experience with his mother. Sometimes they work together to help parents. Koen Schobbers, born 1992, has started to work in the gaming industry 13 years ago. He was the first professional gamer to receive a special topsportstatus in the Netherlands to combine his career with his medical study. He nowadays is a known international public speaker and has his own company, which is focussed on education, consulting and speaking. He helps parents to repair, retain or reinforce the relationship with gaming children, using his specially developed Parents of Play Program. He also very much enjoys educating children, providing them with all information and necessary tools to make sure they stay in balance. Koen has worked with companies such as Vodafone, KIA Motors and Spinnin’ Records and is the host of a TV show on FOX-Sports.

Carla Reemtsma

The one thing you can and should do to prevent climate change

We think we need to lead a perfectly green life to stand up against climate change. No! says Carla Reemtsma, 21-year-old climate activist. In her energetic and empowering talk, she defines the lines of responsibility for action - and for change. And she shares a number of practical ideas what we can all do. Carla is one of the co-founders of „Fridays for Future“ (FFF) in Germany. She started the movement on a rainy January day in 2018 in her university town, Münster, and has since been a prominent face of FFF. When she is not active for climate change, the student of Politics and Economis is in the gymnasium either training the school children or doing gymnastics herself. Last winter, when she saw in her Facebook feed how Greta’s speech at the climate conference in Kattowitz went viral, she co-organized the first strikes in Münster. It was silent, drizzly and there were only 10 people. A few weeks later, tens of thousands of people joined the strike against the coal commission. Because there was no political engagement on climate, hundreds of groups were formed in Germany. Children were labelled as kids bunking off school without a clue, but nevertheless strikes with thousands of people were organised. On Friday, September 20, 1.4 million people were joining the protests in the streets of several dozens of cities in Germany.

Alessandro Crimi

Networks, From the Brain to the Internet and Back

Fascinating insights into the brain have lately become possible by neuroimaging. Novel technologies help us to understand a lot better what happens within the brain, but there is still a lot to be discovered. Alessandro Crimi does research on clinical neuroscience, focussing on Alzheimer, multiple sclerosis and other diseases and disorders. In his talk, he shares an observation he made that could help us to make the use of social media a lot more responsible and beneficial for our social lives. He is living in Switzerland and Ghana andis alternating research about clinical neuroscience and biomedical projects. He has conducted several projects using novel technologies for low income countries, pushed by the love for those countries and not only the desire of co-operating in biomedical projects. He believes that science should not be kept in a sterile space but communicated to everybody and even integrated with art.

Max Kops

How Humans Adopt New Technology: the Example of Security Token Offerings

Why do people in Venezuela buy their bread with bitcoins, whereas in other regions of the world, blockchain technology seems to be for nerds, only? What makes people accept a new technology? Max Kops, passionate about Security Token Offerings and blockchain, tries to answer these questions. He has been working with start-ups and big companies on tech financing and talks about how these technologies will change finance. Max is a best-selling author, public speaker and disruptor, who helps start-ups and established companies to be grow with innovation. Max studied at the University of Münster and came back to share what he has learnt about innovation and people, particularly with examples of how tokenization and security tokes can improve start-up investments and personal finance, giving people freedom and power over their own finances.

Sara Espinoza

How UV Radiation and Nanotechnology Make Cancer Treatment Less Harmful

Radiotherapy is still one of the standard therapies for cancer treatment. But a growing number of patients are afraid of undergoing the treatment. What if we could eliminate the damaging side effects? asks Sara Espinoza. In her talk, she presents the results of her research on nanoparticles in cancer therapy, which she works on in cooperation with Harvard Medical School. Sara Espinoza came from Ecuador to Germany. Her vision is to provide treatment that will be efficient and affordable for people in poorer countries around the world. She just finished her PhD at the department of Chemical Engineering at Münster Technical University. Sara was born in Quito, Ecuador, in 1988 and went to a German school there. In Flensburg, she studied biotechnology and got a Master's degree in Biomedical Engineering, Since 2016, she has been working on her doctorate in chemistry at the University of Osnabrück and the FH Münster. She is researching nanotechnology in the treatment of cancer and is excited to be working on a technology which will reduce cost of treatment and improve the quality of life of many patients. 

Max-Fabian Volhard

How to Make Salt Water Decompose Plastic Bottles

If we don’t find a solution, the plastic-fish-ratio in the oceans will have risen from 1:5 to 1:1 within the next 30 years. The great garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean, today, covers four times the size of Germany. So, chemical engineer Max-Fabian Volhard is working on a solution: He is inventing biodegradable plastic that will decompose after contact with salt water. In his talk, he explains how. Max is 32 years old, was born in Detmold and has been living in the area around Münster for eight years. He is a chemical engineer with a specialisation in materials and is working on the photochemical decomposition of plastics. For the last ten years, he has been a volunteer at the ‘Technisches Hilfswerk’, where he is the group leader for a water damage/pump squad. The group has helped with the flooding across Germany.

Johann Butting

Driving Success Through Alignment, Collaboration and Accountability

How can teams be productive and successful? In an ever more complex world, work is changing fundamentally. Hierarchies dissolve under the impact of digitalization, teams need to cooperate globally. What do leaders need to do? What are the changes for the individual workers? Johann Butting sees three major guidelines to pave the way into the future of work. And he can draw on his extensive experience: Johann started his career at Bertelsmann. He went on to well-known tech firms like Google and Dropbox, and is currently Head of EMEA at Slack, a Workplace Collaboration Hub. Being an engineer at heart, Johann is interested in finding solutions to the challenges the world faces today. He believes that, in the era of digital transformation, we as a society and a global economy, have to switch from an “individual first” to a “team first” mentality. This is not to say that we should lose our individuality. But if we focus on sharing and collaboration, if we define team spirit and meaningful interactions as the new, legit and most important measurements of success, this new mindset will have a deep and lasting positive effect on our economy and society.

Thomas Bartoschek

How Citizen Science Will Empower the Climate Movement

How do we gain insight into the state of the environment? How do we get sufficient data to evoke change? Citizen science is the answer. And it needs to be complemented by digital education, says Thomas Bartoschek. He developed the „sense box“, easy-to-use technological equipment for environmental research. In his talk, he explains how he empowers mainly young people, teaches them to code, to collect and display environmental data - open source and worldwide. Thomas Bartoschek is a researcher at Münster University and founder of a start-up. His research, work and projects were awarded with several prizes, most recently with the CeBIT Innovation Award 2017 and the ACM Eugene Lawler Award 2013. His research interests are in Digital Education, Citizen Science, Spatial Learning, Mobile Learning, Volunteered Geographic Information, Human Computer Interaction, User Interface Design and Geoinformation in Education. Further, he is interested in science communication and motivating kids to code, to think spatially and to engage in science.

Tobias Sudhoff

How the top chefs save our planet: with plenty of joy and good taste

Why should the call to sustainability and climate rescue always be associated with sacrifice? Tobias Sudhoff has a far more appealing message: The top chefs are the real saviors of the world, when, in their restaurants, they concentrate on seducing flavours and regional specialties, and spark our desire to cook. Tobias Sudhoff is a self-made chef, comedian and musician. He does research on food and the social impact of cooking and eating at the Food Lab of the Münster Technical University. Tobias is a chef (previously chef in the Michelin star Westfälische Stube), food activist as well as a cabaret artist and musician. For TEDxMünster, he has talked about his idea: "We top chefs will save the world through gratification". He is often on the road to take his message to the best restaurants and on stage in Germany. He is just as much on the road in the best restaurant as on the stages around the country to make his message come true - and he is no less concerned with saving the planet. Whoever looks at this theory on ecology and sustainability in the kitchen quickly notices - what Sudhoff has developed there is not a crazy utopia but a scientifically founded idea that can have a great influence on the way we humans feed ourselves in the future.