Phil's talk and multimedia presentation is a fascinating journey through culture, myth, mental health, and beliefs surrounding consciousness. In various indigenous cultures throughout the world Phil has met individuals who enter non-ordinary states of consciousness to heal disease, predict or influence events, and guide their communities—the people we refer to as Shamans. The vast majority of these individuals were identified then nurtured to become healers or seers after they suffered what we in the West refer to as a psychotic break from reality. This ‘break’ typically occurred in their teen years. Most were taken aside by an older Shaman or elder and told they had a gift and that they could be of service to their community. Fascinated by this difference in framing (psychosis vs. gift), Phil began to interview individuals in North America that had a similar ‘break’ along with the mental health professionals who treat them using either a bio-medical, psycho-social or spiritual approach.

Stirring the Fire

The discrimination and oppression of women and girls is unfortunately humanity's most universal human rights violation. It occurs in almost all cultures on earth. For nearly a decade, Phil has captured the stories of courageous women who are 'Stirring the Fire' as they address the issues that have negatively impacted their communities and themselves. His lecture and multimedia slideshow bring the audience face to face with these Heroes—remote and mostly unknown women confronting dysfunctional cultural traditions and beliefs in an effort to bring social and economic justice to women and girls worldwide.

Tibet Culture on the Edge

Known as the "water tower of Asia," the Tibetan Plateau is heating up twice as fast as the global average. Its glaciers are the source of the major rivers that supply the water needs of some two billion people in India, Pakistan, China, and Indochina. Today these glaciers are rapidly disappearing. This climatic change along with recent unprecedented development on the plateau—roads, railroads, airports, dams, and communication technology is changing the lives of the deeply devotional nomads, monks, and farmers who have lived here for centuries. In his lecture and slide show Phil brings the audience face to face with some of the remarkable Tibetan people, who live in one of the most fragile environments on earth, and face a rapid induction into the twenty-first century while trying to retain that which they hold most dear—their Tibetan Buddhist practice and culture.

Storytelling for Social Change

Using storytelling with photography and film, Phil has partnered with like—minded organizations that address social and cultural issues worldwide for the past 25 years. Working with NGO’s like Amnesty International, UN Women, CARE, and the International Campaign for Tibet he has managed to make a living while doing the work that is important to him. In this candid discussion and multimedia presentation he talks about his current methodology and what he has learned through trial and error while working as an artist, activist and filmmaker.

For the last three years Phil Borges has been presenting his work to our University of Washington students. Our Global Health course attracts over 215 undergrad and graduate students. Phil creatively uses storytelling and film to address key issues affecting women’s health globally. His presentations are powerful, informative, engaging and inspirational. His teaching method offers learning experiences, which touch the hearts of our students. "Excellent" is the overwhelming rating received from our students.
Virginia Gonzales, Senior Lecturer, University of Washington, Department of Global Health
TED TEDx Seattle Rick Steves