TEDx San Juan speaker list

Puerto Rico gets 1st major conference

Andrea Pérez

Andrea Pérez

is the Founder and Executive Director of Silent Grace. Registered as a non-profit organization, Silent Grace is committed to social justice and the implementation of economically and ecologically sustainable projects in developing countries.

Under Andrea's leadership, this organization has undertaken projects that range from educational programs on social justice and sustainability, to humanitarian relief of disaster victims and comprehensive community development programs in Puerto Rico and abroad, particularly in Haiti. As of the fall of 2011, she is pursuing her master's degree in Public Health at the University of Puerto Rico – Medical Sciences Campus while she continues to advance Silent Grace's vision and mission.

Daniel Colón Ramos

Daniel Colón Ramos

was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He studied Biology at Harvard University and obtained his PhD from Duke University in molecular biology and genetics. He completed his postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Kang Shen at Stanford University in developmental neurobiology. He is currently an assistant professor at Yale University, where he directs a lab to study the development of the nervous system. The work from the Colón-Ramos lab has been recognized by a number of awards, including the Sloan Fellowship for “outstanding promise”, an award given to recognize the best researchers of the United States and Canada. Daniel is also the co-founder of Ciencia Puerto Rico, a non-profit organization that promotes scientific research and education in the Puerto Rican archipelago.

Fernando Lloveras

Fernando Lloveras

is a lawyer and executive director of the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico. He joined the land trust in 2002 and, under his leadership, the trust has acquired over 2,000 additional acres of land, including three conservation easements.

In addition, Fernando was responsible for implementing a native tree species production, distribution and reforestation policy in all of the Trust's tree nurseries in 2004. He is also responsible for moving forward a collaborative initiative between multiple government and educational entities focused on biodiversity conservation in Puerto Rico. Fernando serves on the Southern Board of Advisors for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and has served as an advisor on federal affairs to the Governor of Puerto Rico. He has served on the Alliance's National Council for two years.

Giovanni Rodríguez

Giovanni Rodríguez

As a self-proclaimed “Neo-Rican,” he toiled as a ghostwriter, marketing strategist, and theater producer before embarking on a successful career as a social-technology consultant. In that role he has counseled everyone from peanut-butter barons to government chieftains, dispensing advice grounded on the simple premise that “beauty is truth, truth is beauty, but comedy is the shortest in supply.” Today he is chief marketing & strategy officer at Deloitte Postdigital Enterprise, where he's helping to design a range of new services that enable business, non-profit, and government leaders to engage people with the respect they deserve (really). A blogger for Forbes.com, he's the author of an upcoming book on how the online/offline social Web is helping us reimagine the role of citizens and government.

Jorge Gaskins

Jorge Gaskins

has lived in Puerto Rico for nearly forty years. He has worked to improve the lives of the rural communities both in the Island, as well as in other countries such as Brazil, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Nigeria. Gaskins has been a farmer organizer and has lead start-up businesses in tropical fruit production and processing and in aquaculture. He is an expert in certified organic production systems.

Jorge Rigau

Jorge Rigau

The architect graduated from Cornell and holds a Masters' Degree in History from the University of Puerto Rico. A noted researcher of architecture in the Hispanic Caribbean, Rigau has authored several books: Puerto Rico 1900; Havana/La Habana and, more recently, Puerto Rico Now and Then.

Rigau, a fellow of American Institute of Architects, has practiced his profession for over 30 years. In 1995, Rigau founded the Architecture School at Polytechnic University, where he now teaches after having been its dean for over a decade. He also cofounded a graduate program in Landscape Architecture, the first ever on the Island. The Panamerican Federation of Architects' Associations granted him the Distinguished Educators' Award of Latin America.

Justo Méndez

Justo Méndez

is currently completing a Master's degree in the management of Non-Profit Organizations at the Sacred Heart University in San Juan. He has a Bachelor Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus, where he also studied Social Planning at a Masters level.

He is the founder and executive director of Nuestra Escuela, a non-profit organization that provides academic options for young academic dropouts. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Alternative Education, EducAcción, and the Education Committee Consensus. He also participates in the Executive Committee of the Selection Board of the Miranda Foundation Solidarity Award. His interest in Education has earned him the Medal “Sor Isolina Ferré” for excellence in the service to others.

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes

is Associate Professor of American Culture and Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he also directs the Latina/o Studies Program.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he received his A.B. from Harvard College and M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. He is the author of a book of essays on migration and sexuality called Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora and of a book of short stories called Uñas pintadas de azul/Blue Fingernails. He was one of the co-editors of a special issue of CENTRO: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies on Puerto Rican Queer Sexualities (19, no. 1 [Spring 2007]).

Mayra Santos-Febres

Mayra Santos-Febres

is a Puerto Rican author, poet, novelist, professor of literature, and literary critic who has garnered fame at home and abroad. One of her most famous books is Sirena Selena vestida de pena (published in English as Sirena Selena), in which she describes the life of a teenaged homosexual male drag queen who works in the streets and has a talent for singing boleros. Santos-Febres holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. Her work has been translated into French, English, German, and Italian, and is taught in many universities in the United States. Santos-Febres currently teaches at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Her more recent publications include a collection of essays called Sobre piel y papel and also a novel about Isabel la Negra titled Nuestra Señora de la Noche (Our Lady of the Night).

Noel Quiñones

Noel Quiñones

Noel Quiñones, Founder of Operación Éxito and Casa Grande Films studied cinematography at UCLA. In 2002, at the invitation of the Department of Education, he returned to his native Puerto Rico to screen a recent film, “Flight of Fancy” and give motivational talks at island schools. Witnessing the need for skills development in the public schools, his life changed forever when he decided to develop an engaging Internet-based educational technology to improve the basic cognitive skills of the Island's public school students. This program, www.operaciónexito. com, was launched during the 2005-2006 school year in Puerto Rico. Currently, he is preparing a new full-length feature film and his educational program is in its seventh year, continuing to impact teachers and students in more than ten countries around the world.

Tara Rodríguez

Tara Rodríguez

was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1983. She studied Architecture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and was co-founder of Gestarc Gallery, an interdisciplinary architecture gallery in Red Hook, NYC. In 2008 she returned to Puerto Rico and opened El Local en Santurce, an alternative art/music/bar venue dedicated to local talent and host of many creative events. She currently works as head designer for El Molino Studio and began El Departamento de la Comida with partner designer Olga Casellas in 2010. El Departamento de la Comida distributes, sells, promotes, as well as educates about local organic produce and artisanal food products.