MARIA SPIROVA is a journalist and a social media researcher who doesn't know when to shut up. When people wish to be polite, they call her outspoken.At dangerously early age she was exposed to lethal doses of Latin, Greek philosophy and cultural anthropology, as well as a decidedly unhealthy amount of French, British and Russian classics. The result was an eclectic biography, including a Criminology degree from Oxford University, a stint as an police auxillary night patrol in upstate New York, an editorial internship at the National Geographic, and more than six years of reporting/editing/staff writing for diverse Bulgarian media spanning from the Bulgarian News Agency through Capital Weekly to Glamour magazine and other lifestyle publications.At Glamour, where she is still Editor-at-Large, Maria has written extensively on sexual culture, reporductive issues, domestic violence, gendered workforce inequality, victim-blaming in rape, casual racism, and other social phenomena. She has collaborated with American journalists in Asia to bring original coverage of sex trafficking to the magazine, highlighting the troubling statistics that puts Bulgria in the Top 8 countries of origin for persons trafficked through the global sex trade. Last year, she was awarded First Prize in an international media contest sponsored by the EU Directorate of Justice, Freedom and Security for an article about contemporary drug use in Bulgaria. She has also been nominated for the EU Journalist Award Against Discrimination 2011.Maria recently wrote an article highlighting the current shocking rate of teen pregnancies and black market abortions in Bulgaria, exposing a deeply troubled cultural statusquo surrounding reporductive health and decision-making both on societal and institutional level. Her TED talk will elaborate on this.Maria is currently based in Oxford, where she is Research Fellew at the Instittute for Strategic Dialogue, researching digital leadership and ways to use social media to improve intercultural cohesion. She is also a Trustee of Sofia-based NGO Cultural Foundation A25 (http://www.a25cultfound.org/): a young, but ambitious endeavour to give space and resonance to unvoiced viewpoints and encourag eopen-minded discussion across the spectrum of societal concerns -- from art management through minority issues, inclusion and media representation of taboos and popular prejudice.As an aside, Maria also dabbles in short story writing (in Bulgarian), one of her creations can be read here: http://www.capital.bg/light/neshta/razkaz/2009/05/28/726273_zele/ TEDxAUBG Website: www.tedxaubg.comE-mail: TEDxAUBG@gmail.comFacebook: TEDxAUBGTwitter: @TEDxAUBGAbout TEDx, x = independently organized eventIn the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)Produced by defactoTV (http://www.youtube.com/user/defactoTVshow)Executive Producer:Bisera SavoskaCamera Operators:Mikalai ZhalniarkevichAlena UsachevaAlena DubrovinaOlga CotagaBisera SavoskaNina BrkuljanStoil StoilovSound Producer:Raman ShalupauEditors:Bisera SavoskaOlga Cotaga
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