Wed, Nov 17, 2021

6 PM – 7 PM EST (GMT-5)

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The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT and the MIT Initiative on Digital Economy (IDE) invite you to join a special event with Maria Ressa, the Philippines’ first Nobel Prize Laureate and founder of Rappler. Rappler is an online news platform that began with a small team of 12 young reporters and developers and grew to be a first-of-its-kind media platform through the power of social media. Maria and Rappler have openly spoken against the Philippine government’s extrajudicial killings, earning the ire of the administration, resulting in the platform’s shutdown by the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018 as well as multiple legal cases filed against her and her colleagues.

In conversation with MIT IDE Director, Sinan Aral, Maria will share reflections on her journey as an entrepreneur and advocate. She will speak about the impetus of founding Rappler and how she and the company have used principled entrepreneurship to leverage their platform for social change, what she attributes their success to, and what lessons she has learned as a leader and public figure.


  • 6:00-6:05: Welcome & Introduction by Myrish Cadapan Antonio, Senior Director for Fellowships and Global Initiatives at the Legatum Center
  • 6:05-6:45: Conversation with Maria Ressa, Moderated by Sinan Aral
  • 6:45-7:00: Audience Q&A

Important Ticketing Information

Only MIT ID holders may attend the event in person. Tickets are limited and pre-registration is required. A virtual live streaming option is available to non-MIT ID holders.

Dress Business Casual


Maria Ressa's profile photo

Maria Ressa

A journalist in Asia for 35 years, Maria Ressa co-founded Rappler, the top digital only news site that is leading the fight for press freedom in the Philippines. As Rappler’s executive editor and CEO, Maria has endured constant political harassment and arrests by the Duterte government, forced to post bail nine times to stay free. Rappler’s battle for truth and democracy is the subject of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival documentary, A Thousand Cuts.

For her courage and work on disinformation and ‘fake news,’ Maria was named Time Magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year, was among its 100 Most Influential People of 2019, and has also been named one of Time’s Most Influential Women of the Century. She was also part of BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2019 and Prospect magazine’s world’s top 50 thinkers. In 2020, she received the Journalist of the Year award, the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award, the Most Resilient Journalist Award, the Tucholsky Prize, the Truth to Power Award, and the Four Freedoms Award.

Among many awards for her principled stance, she received the prestigious Golden Pen of Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, the Knight International Journalism Award from the International Center for Journalists, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Shorenstein Journalism Award from Stanford University, the Columbia Journalism Award, the Free Media Pioneer Award from the International Press Institute, and the Sergei Magnitsky Award for Investigative Journalism.

Before founding Rappler, Maria focused on investigating terrorism in Southeast Asia. She opened and ran CNN’s Manila Bureau for nearly a decade before opening the network’s Jakarta Bureau, which she ran from 1995 to 2005. She wrote Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia and From Bin Laden to Facebook: 10 Days of Abduction, 10 Years of Terrorism.

Sinan Aral's profile photo

Sinan Aral


MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy

Sinan Aral a global authority on business analytics; award-winning researcher; entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He is the David Austin Professor of Management, Marketing, IT and Data Science at MIT, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) and a Founding Partner at Manifest Capital. He was the Chief Scientist at SocialAmp, one of the first social commerce analytics companies (until its sale to Merkle in 2012) and at Humin, a social platform that the Wall Street Journal called the first “Social Operating System” (until its sale to Tinder in 2016). He is currently on the Advisory Boards of the Alan Turing Institute, the British National Institute for Data Science in London, the Center for Responsible Media Technology and Innovation in Bergen, Norway and C6 Bank, one of the first all-digital banks of Brazil. Sinan has helped leading Fortune 500 firms, including Facebook, Yahoo!, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, WeChat, Spotify, AirBnB, Microsoft, Walmart, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Oracle, SAP and The New York Times to realize business value from big data analytics, social media and IT investments. His research has won numerous awards including the Microsoft Faculty Fellowship, the PopTech Science Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award, a Fulbright Scholarship and the Jamieson Award for Teaching Excellence (MIT Sloan’s highest teaching honor). In 2014, he was named one of the “World’s Top 40 Business School Professors Under 40.” In 2018, he became the youngest ever recipient of the Herbert Simon Award of Rajk László College in Budapest, Hungary. In the same year, his article on the spread of false news online was published on the cover of Science magazine and became the second most influential scientific publication of the year in any discipline. Sinan’s first book, The Hype Machine, which was named a 2020 Best Book on Artificial Intelligence by WIRED, a 2020 Porchlight Best “Big Ideas and New Perspectives” Book Award Winner and among the Best New Technology Books and Best New Economy Books to Read in 2021 by BookAuthority, became an instant classic and a must-read for business leaders at every level of management. A managerial economist and econometrician by training, Sinan’s expertise spans social networks, causal inference, the design and analysis of large-scale digital experiments, machine learning, predictive modeling, natural language processing, AI, big data, marketing, IT, social commerce, ecommerce, behavior change and economic productivity. He earned his PhD at MIT and completed his Master’s degrees at the London School of Economics and at Harvard. You can find Sinan on Twitter @sinanaral and on Instagram @professorsinan.

Myrish Cadapan Antonio's profile photo

Myrish Cadapan Antonio

Senior Director of Fellowships and Global Initiatives

Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship at MIT

Myrish Cadapan Antonio is the Senior Director for Fellowships and Global Initiatives at the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT. Before joining MIT in October, 2021, she served as Director of Fellowship and Leadership Development Programs at the HKS Center for Public Leadership (CPL) for six years where she led a team in designing and implementing programs for more than 130 graduate fellows from across the world on principled, effective public leadership, and was the Women and Public Policy Program’s Interim Executive Director from January to May 2021.

Before coming to HKS and MIT, Myrish was an experienced tri-sector professional for almost 20 years, working in various capacities in the private, public and non-profit spaces. Her private sector positions include as Deputy Legal Counsel of Silliman University [among the Philippines top institutions of higher learning] and Director of the Dr. Jovito R. Salonga Center for Law and Development while serving as Faculty Member of the College of Law; a senior partner at Edlaw Office, engaged in premier corporate legal practice in the Philippines; and as corporate secretary for various corporations engaged in business and entrepreneurship. She also served as an elected local legislator in the Philippines, leading social innovation programs for women, children, environmental protection and preservation, solid waste management, regulatory mechanisms, small business support and ethical leadership.

She currently serves on the board of the Harvard Club of the Philippines Global and Save One Life, an international non-profit serving children with hemophilia in developing countries worldwide. She holds a degree in Political Science and a Bachelor of Laws, both from Silliman University, a Master of Laws in Government Procurement from the George Washington University Law School as a Fulbright scholar and a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, receiving the Vernon and Littauer awards for academic excellence and significant contribution to the HKS community.

Myrish has been widely recognized for her excellence and leadership. Among them the 2017 Silliman University Law Alumni Award, the 2019 Outstanding Sillimanian Award (OSA) in Global Leadership, the 2019 Harvard Kennedy School Dean’s Award (highest award for HKS staff) and the 2019 Harvard Heroes (highest staff award for Harvard University).

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