What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Why the Women in the World Summit Matters

April 8, 2014, 10:00 PM
Bt_ruslana_2_final

Where else can you eat lunch with Pussy Riot, sit next to Senator Gillibrand as she discusses her upcoming book with her publisher as Huma Abedin rushes by to grab more coffee? Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit is an annual event bringing together exceptional women from around the world to honor the countless women battling oppression every day.

Every hyped-up celebrity formed from the marble of a crisis represents innocent people whose voices have been silenced. Take summit speakers Pussy Riot, for instance. We in the West seem to worship them. They’re considered punk rock starlets who represent all the glory, all the guts of rebellion. They’re almost too good to be true, a Hollywood concoction. Given that they’ve dined with Madonna, were honored at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center with their own concert (to raise money for Amnesty International), and have made Stephen Colbert blush as witty guests on his show, one could even say they won the protest jackpot by getting arrested.

Behind all the glamour, all the media appearances of Pussy Riot, there are regular Russians whose names the world will never know who are rotting in prisons for practicing democracy. Why doesn’t Madonna dine with them?

In Russia, just this year alone, nine journalists have been killed and 163 arrested, according to Reporters Without Borders. The Memorial Human Rights Center has identified 43 individuals in Russia as political prisoners. As I recently wrote for Forbes, the Kremlin just did a massive crackdown on the media and put Chinese-styled restrictions on the Internet. After speaking on stage in Lincoln Center, Pussy Riot will be going home to wannabe-1984.

One star-attraction at this year’s summit who benefited from being relatively unknown was Ruslana. Just months ago, the Ukrainian pop star was obscure in the West. Last month, she was honored at the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama for bravely remaining on stage in Maidan, Kyiv’s Independence Square, despite the snipers, despite repeated threats on her life. In the arctic cold, for over 100 nights, she sang the national anthem to keep protesters’ spirits up in the face of death and riot police violence. As a longtime fan of Ruslana’s, I’ve seen her in concert before. Her earthy version of pop music can best be described as pre-US crossover Shakira, when the now watered-down bleach blond was a soulful beloved rocker in her native Columbia. Ruslana, a former member of Ukraine’s parliament, easily stole the show at this year’s summit. Given my work in democratic advocacy for Ukraine, I was honored to be a guest of her delegation this year.

“Welcome to Ukraine!” she told the audience after having them shine their cell phone lights in the dark like the sea of protesters in Kyiv, during the relative peace of December. In an interview with Tina Brown, Ruslana explained how to understand Putin: “In the Soviet Union, a human life means nothing, the empire means everything.”

While it’s easy to get caught up in the famous names gracing the halls of the Women in the World Summit, the main attraction is how the event gives a voice to the voiceless. For a few days, brave women like Ruslana, like Pussy Riot share their stories of survival, of hope, and determination on a global stage. They are speaking for millions of people who need us to listen. 

 

 

Why the Women in the World ...

Newsletter: Share: