Elyn Saks to speak at global conference
USC Gould School of Law Professor Elyn Saks will join some of the world’s greatest thinkers at the annual TEDGlobal Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, this month.
Saks, a nationally recognized scholar in mental health law and the ethical dimensions of medical research, will discuss her battle with schizophrenia and acute psychosis at the event.
“I am truly honored to share my story at the TEDGlobal conference,” said Saks, Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences. I hope that speaking about my experiences will lead to less stigma toward people with mental illness.”
Saks, who will be featured at the “Misbehaving Beautifully” session, has battled schizophrenia since she was a teenager and hopes to inspire others who may be struggling with mental illness or other challenges.
“I want to give hope to those who are suffering,” she said. “Your life isn’t over even if someone tells you it is. Everyone’s experience is different, but I think we can learn from each other and offer support.”
TED, a nonprofit devoted to ideas, began in 1984 as a conference that brought people together from technology, entertainment and design. The TEDGlobal event attracts an international array of scholars, musicians, artists and innovators who address a wide range of topics in science and culture. Speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging way possible.
This year’s “Radical Openness” theme will explore “boundless inventiveness of the human mind.”
“Radical Openness will look at both the openness made possible by the Internet and digital technology, as well as radical and open thinking writ large,” said Bruno Giussani, European director of TEDGlobal and curator of the conference. “TEDGlobal 2012′s speakers will show us that all bets are off when it comes to what openness, collaboration and mutual understanding in an ultraconnected world mean for human potential.”
TEDGlobal 2012 will also feature other speakers, including a scientist whose iconoclastic approach led to cancer treatment breakthroughs; a criminologist who studies crimes that haven’t been invented yet; an inventor of a camera that sees around corners; and a diva who creates live music using body gestures.
USC Gould Dean Robert K. Rasmussen said Saks’ scholarship is exemplary.
“Elyn is an amazing scholar and person,” he said. “She has the highest standards in everything she does. I’m sure that those who hear her speak at the conference will be as moved and inspired as we are.”
Two years ago, Saks launched the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics with $500,000 she won from the MacArthur Foundation. Her goal is to foster interdisciplinary and collaborative research by scholars and policymakers surrounding issues of mental illness and mental health.
Each year, the institute explores a single issue relating to mental health and holds a conference and speaker’s series on that topic. This year, the topic is psychotropic drugs. Next year, the topic will be the criminalization of mental illness.