Reflections on the TEDGlobal experience from TEDx Organizers


Lara Stein acknowledges TEDx organizers during TEDGlobal 2011, July 11-15, 2011, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: James Duncan Davidson / TED

All week during TEDGlobal, some TEDx Organizers — many attending a TED Conference for the first time — have been sharing their experiences, and reflecting on the TEDx Organizer community, on the TEDx blog:

I thought I had problems. You see, as the Organizer of TEDxWaterloo in Canada, we put on a pretty big show. We’ve had budget restrictions, a speaker who wouldn’t return our calls and even serious disagreements amongst members of our team. I thought I had problems. Then I arrived at TEDGlobal in Edinburgh and realized just how small my problems really were. Over the last three days, I’ve had the unique opportunity and absolute pleasure to meet close to 100 TEDx organizers from around the world. Amongst them, I’ve had incredible conversations with organizers of programs in Cairo, Baghdad, Rio de Janeiro, Tunisia and Palestine. These leaders and visionaries have overcome and are continuing to tackle roadblocks that make my problems feel like nothing more than speed bumps. — Ramy Nassar, TEDxWaterloo

The closest you can get to experimenting with this is through local TEDx events in your city or country — TED and TEDx are in many ways similar and different. One is global, and the other is local. One is focused on the world, another one on your community. But with globalisation and democratization of information, you can now find everywhere in the world people concerned and working on similar ideas. — Vlad Fiscutean, TEDxTimisoara

Few events of my life rival the exhilaration I am experiencing joining the TEDGlobal community here in Edinburgh. As a dreamer, long driven by the power of ideas, TED has been integral to my journey. Since viewing my first TED talks online to the formation of TEDxDirigo in 2010, it is the interplay between my own inspirations and new ones introduced to me through TED (or the sex of these ideas, as Matt Ridley says) that comprise my worldview today. And so coming to TED is like coming home, a home I have been separated from geographically and longing for all my life. Fortunately, on my journey I have met others who come from this homeland of imagination and possibility. — Adam Birk, TEDxDirigo

The next program was the behind the scenes tour. This was one of the programs that I was most excited for as a TEDx Organizer — I could see many staffs preparing for upcoming TEDGlobal 2011, working busily for “Ideas Worth Spreading!”

The TED team brought “nature” as a background of the main stage. Two speakers presented their 18 minute-stories on the stage. After, Chris Anderson (TED Curator) and Bruno Giussani (TEDGlobal Curator) made comments regarding each of the speeches, the slides, gestures, and so on. Other TED team members also gave some tips to make inspiring and ‘TED-like’ talks. It was really good to feel that the TED team and the speakers “trim” the talks through multiple conversations. After the rehearsal, we moved to TED “Media Cave”. — Jihye Kang, TEDxEwha

In a full day of interesting activities which we could know Edinburgh better and also the monarchy magic, the Behind the Scenes moment prepared for the TEDx’ers was really special. Knowing how TED speakers prepared themselves before the 18 minutes is something indescribable. — Tiago Belotte, TEDxCidadeJardim

What TEDx Organizers really yearn for is the behind the scene experience at the big TED, and as I was sitting in the back row with the rest of bright screen glaring and typing crowd, I could overhear the subtle whispers of the director with huge earphones “switch, switch” — It felt good to be in the middle of real TED action. — Matej Golob, TEDxLjublana

For the first instant, I couldn’t help but noticing how “different” we are from each other. We all speak different languages, we have different beliefs, we are different races and we all come from different cultures and backgrounds.

But as the day went on, and we talked to each other, and I got the chance to know more about them, I found out that I do share values, dreams and passions with these “different” people more than I share with most of others who are “similar” to me. We all share this unbelievable passion for ideas, learning and knowledge, and most important, we are all so full of hope of what we can together achieve. — Ahmad Coucha, TEDxCairo

I attend TEDGlobal to learn the best practices for being human. I do not expect to learn those lessons from the talks on stage, although I often do; I seek that wisdom from the people in the seats next to me. Last night I was honored to drink a perfect whisky (scotch) in a room filled with hundreds of my favorite teachers. It could have only been better if Aristotle would have been sitting next to me. As Chris Anderson mused from stage, I too wonder what Aristotle would have thought of TED. — Steve Frazee, TEDxGrandRapids

On the TEDGlobal stage on Wednesday, TEDx Director Lara Stein highlighted stories of TEDx’ers around the globe — from countries as South Africa, The Netherlands, South Korea, Germany, Brazil and more — through her presentation, and short documentary video.

On whole, TEDx Organizers at TEDGlobal hail from 43 countries and speak 35 languages — a diverse group of people, all united by their desire to make big change in their communities.

— post assembled and edited by Lauren Cuccinota