Are you an intermediate or advanced English student? TED Talks are a great way to improve your English listening skills. Passionate speakers talk about a variety of fascinating topics at TED (Technology, Education, and Design) Conferences every year.

You can watch videos of many TED Talks on their website, or you can subscribe to their podcast to listen on the go. If you find the talk too challenging to understand, you can turn on the English captions for help (though it’s best to try to listen once without captions).

Start with these seven TED Talks from speakers talking about important issues of their countries and cultures.

The beauty of human skin in every color

Brazilian photographer Angélica Dass talks about her portrait project, Humanæ. Her goal is to explore the beautiful and complex diversity of human skin.

My Escape from North Korea

Hyeonseo Lee describes her childhood in North Korea, where she believed that her country was a wonderful place until the famine of the 1990’s. She left and became a refugee in China when she was only 14. 

A Black Man in America’s Whitest Towns

Racial tensions in the U.S. are all over the news. Rich Benjamin, an African American man, spent time living in the country’s whitest towns. Here’s what he learned.

The Chinese zodiac, explained

ShaoLan Hseuh explains the basics of the Chinese zodiac, a tradition followed by a quarter of the world’s population.

My Daughter, Malala

Ziauddin Yousafzai is a Pakistani educator and father of Malala Yousafzai. He talks about his belief in equal opportunities for women and how he encouraged his daughter to go to school despite threats from the Taliban.

How young Africans found a voice on Twitter

Siyanda Mohutsiwa, a respected blogger from Botswana, describes how social media gives young Africans new tools to organize and express themselves.

Why buses represent democracy in action

A former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, Enrique Peñalosa talks about he changed his city’s public transportation and how we can build smarter cities in the future.

 

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