• Innovative
  • Eye Opening
  • Visionary


Just two days after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, social scientist Alexander Betts delivered a stirring, thoughtful and eloquent presentation on Brexit and the future of globalization at the 2016 TED Summit, where his ideas received a rousing standing ovation. Betts’s vision encourages all people to become more open and tolerant. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends Betts’s hopeful, forward-looking lecture to those pessimistic about the future or simply puzzled about Brexit’s socioeconomic implications.


On June 24, 2016, the United Kingdom’s inhabitants woke to discover that the nation had voted to exit the European Union, that Prime Minister David Cameron planned to resign and that Scotland was considering a referendum to leave the UK. Panic and blame ensued, and racist acts spiked. But was the vote in favor of leaving the EU foreseeable?

Brexit revealed deep, formerly undetected divisions among Britons. Age, geography, class and education shaped voting results. Young people wanted the UK to remain in the EU, but many didn’t cast ballots. Older generations wanted to leave. Voters...

About the Speaker

Social scientist Alexander Betts directs Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Center.

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