Yesterday was my first TED associated conference, TEDx Yale 2013. For those of you who don't know what TED is, shame on you. Where have you been, living under a rock?
TED is not a movie about an R-Rated chain-smoking teddy bear. TED is an acronym for Technology Entertainment Design and was initially a conference in Monterrey California where speakers, from various disciplines, share inspiring ideas 20 minutes at a time. Now the idea of "Ideas Worth Spreading" has itself spread to TEDglobal, where TED conferences are held in other countries, and TEDx, where organizations can hold their own TED events along pretty strict guidelines (for a complete history of TED).
The conference was amazing. The speakers ranged from inspiring to thought provoking. Yale Freshman Eddy Wang, a life-long stutterer, moved us to tears speaking about the internal conflict he faces forcing himself to use new speech techniques he was taught to help him overcome the challenges he faces in becoming a fluent speaker. Cartoonist, Humorist and Children's book author/illustrator Sandra Boynton spoke of airborne swine and solving for "Y" by asking "Y" not?
There was music by Shades of Yale and The Dukes of Yale, a'cappella groups from Yale, and dance from Yale Dance.
We heard about condom use and exo-planets, ocean rowing and using entrepenurial techniques to start-up democracies.
Clemantine Wamariya talked about how her grandmother's stories helped her escape the genocide in Rwanda. Jonathan Holloway showed us pictures taken in the "Slave Palaces" in Ghana where slaves to be exported where held, tortured and broken before being exported.
All in all there were 22 presenters over the course of the day and each one had his or her own unique spin on the conference's theme, "Solve for Y".
The curators, ringmasters of the whole thing, were Grier Barnes and Paul Fletcher-Hill, both students at Yale. They where a great pair, equal parts ringmasters, taskmasters and cruise directors. The TEDx Yale crew and Schubert Theater staff made the event virtually flawless.
Rumor has it that there will be a TEDx UCONN in the fall and then the third TEDx Yale next spring. Maybe I'll see you there.
To see the entire raw feed of the event click here.