One in a series of events and special screenings presented at the Paley Center for Media. Held at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington D.C. and streamed live at the Paley Center in New York, this two-day event is an independently-organized extension of the TED conference series, celebrating innovative, progressive women and their actions. The fifth session focuses on different kinds of disruptions in people's lives and the ways in which they cope. Singer-songwriter Inch Chua opens the session with a performance of her song "Glow." Afterwards, Host Pat Mitchell (president and CEO, The Paley Center for Media) introduces television journalist Bob Woodruff and his wife, Lee Woodruff. They relate the story of how Bob was seriously injured by a roadside bomb while reporting in Iraq, and Lee nursed him back to health. They discuss the many emotions they experienced during Bob's convalescence. They also offer advice to people in similar situations, and Bob recounts his return to consciousness after 36 days in a coma from his ordeal, and how he slowly recovered his mental faculties. Lee talks about the nature of coping with tragic change and how keeping a positive attitude can be psychologically bolstering. The Woodruffs also talk about the Bob Woodruff Foundation, an organization they created dedicated to helping wounded military servicemen receive better long-term care. Next, Mitchell introduces Libyan political activist Zahra' Langhi, who discusses the increasing "solidarity" of the Libyan people in the recent country-wide revolution. She notes the problems left behind by the overthrown tyrannical regime and her desire to correct these problems by founding a social movement, the Libyan Women's Platform for Peace. She also discusses some of the changes being made in the Libyan government, particularly in regards to gender equality. Langhi points out the violence which still plagues Libya, and notes that ultimately the Libyan elections did not bring the peace and stability which the Libyan people had hoped for. Langhi calls for a "national dialogue" to help introduce more "feminine traits" to their leadership structure, hoping that a spirit of cooperation will encourage a paradigm shift towards more peaceful avenues. She hopes her people will become "agents of compassion." Mitchell then introduces war correspondent Janine di Giovanni, who relates a story about the beginning of the Eastern Bosnian war in 1992, and the ensuing siege of Sarajevo. di Giovanni talks about the lessons she learned from covering that war, and how it affected her journalistic career. She talks about her recent visit to Sarajevo and the emotions she and the people of the city felt at that time. di Giovanni talks about covering other nations plagued by war, such as Syria, Rwanda, and Iraq, and about the process of reconciliation which often takes place in the aftermath. She also talks about how the birth of her son affected her views on war correspondence. Next, Mitchell introduces a video about Caitria O'Neill, co-founder of, a website dedicated to providing support to people recovering from natural disasters. She talks about the tornado which devastated her hometown of Monson, Massachusetts and how it inspired her to seek better infrastructure solutions for disaster recovery. She also discusses the website's recent work in aiding with the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, and her underlying philosophy behind the operation of the website. Mitchell introduces Marie C. Wilson (founder and president emeritus, The White House Project) and Tiffany Dufu (current president, The White House Project), who discuss the challenges around transitions in organizational leadership, and the question of how to "pass the baton." Wilson talks about the importance of knowing when one is finished with a task, and Dufu talks about the demographic differences between herself and Wilson and how it affected the change in leadership of the White House Project. They talk about the importance of an "investment of time and trust" in the process of changing leadership. Wilson talks about the reluctance of leaders to relinquish authority and how it causes "bad habits." Afterwards, Mitchell brings philanthropist Loreen Arbus to the stage, who talks about growing up with her physically and verbally abusive mother and disabled sister, and how it affected Arbus on a personal level. Arbus talks about her psychological well-being as a child, and how her anger towards her mother was often channeled into her public life, turning her into a "bully." She recounts how the headmistress of her school helped her by allowing her to talk about her problems at home, and how it affected her later development. She discusses her extensive work with non-profit organizations and her interest in Argentine tango and its extensive emotional component. She compares disruptions in people's lives to "divine interventions" and expounds on the difference between luck and determination. Finally, Mitchell introduces rock musician Lourds Lane, who tells the story of her life, punctuated by music. She discusses her turbulent upbringing and early talent at classical violin. She talks about her close relationship with her grandmother and the influence of classical music on her childhood. She talks about her desire to fit in as a child, and how she was deeply affected by the death of her grandmother. She recounts that she did away with her desires to fit in, realizing that being a "rebel" was what truly made her happy. This influenced her decision to tour with her rock band after graduating from Harvard, and she talks about her early successes and obstacles, such as her disastrous first label showcase. She notes that the lesson of her story is that "messing up is the key," and that "if you can't fix it, feature it." She also talks about her current relationship with her mother and how she got her permission to talk about her family publicly. She finishes by leading the audience in song.


  • DATE: December 1, 2012 4:15 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:40:33
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 109281
  • GENRE: Seminars


  • Pat Mitchell … Host
  • Lourds Lane … Performer, Guest
  • Inch Chua … Performer
  • Bob Woodruff … Guest
  • Lee Woodruff … Guest
  • Zahra' Langhi … Guest
  • Janine di Giovanni … Guest
  • Marie C. Wilson … Guest
  • Tiffany Dufu … Guest
  • Loreen Arbus … Guest
  • Caitria O'Neill