Just last week I heard a replay of a Fresh Air interview with Michael Weiskopf on NPR. He was talking about the injuries he received on picking up a grenade tossed into the back of a Humvee where he and photojournalist James Nachtwey were riding in a tour of Baghdad. Both were injured and recovered, but Maass talked of the photograph he has in his workstation–the photo that Nachtwey took immediately after the grenade exploded and before he blacked out.
Nachtwey is one of three honored today with the TED Prize (the others are Bill Clinton and biologist E.O. Wilson). The prize seems singular. It is an award of $100,000 to use on a project–One Worldchanging Wish–yet to be dreamed up by each of the people awarded it. TED has also arranged commitments of finding from it “community” and other supporters.
Our winners are likely to have exceptional abilities in at least one of the following areas:
Perhaps they have created a new device or system or process capable of impacting millions of people for the better. They may be brilliant scientists, or the inspired designers of simple, cheap technologies.
They may be artists, uniting people through shared emotion. They may be film-makers, potters, painters, poets, dancers, sculptors, story-tellers, beauty-makers.
They can perhaps unlock the power of possibility. They can help us understand, through inspired insight, our personal and universal potential and predicament. They are today’s prophets.
They may attract loyalty and respect. They may inspire the support of talented colleagues and employees. They may build powerful teams, capable of dramatically leveraging the impact of their efforts.
They may be powerful communicators, whether face-to-face, or via the Internet, the classroom, the newspaper or the screen. They connect hemispheres and households. They may be teachers or catalysts, troubadours or town criers, campaigners or nay-sayers. When they write and speak, they change people’s minds.
They are likely to be relentless in pursuing their goals. They never give up.