When you think of the teenage generation, you might envision a sullen group of plugged-in, tuned-out young people. The youth behind TEDxRedmond: The Spark in All of Us would like you to consider a different image. Organized by students, for students, TEDxRedmond is a youth conference to be held on September 10 in Redmond. TED is a notable non-profit based in New York which runs several high-profile conferences a year, with past speakers including Bill Gates and Al Gore. Its TEDx program licenses local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.
After speaking at the main TED conference in Long Beach, California, 13-year-old author and speaker Adora Svitak decided to bring a similar mind-opening experience to her peers in Washington state. “I’d heard about the TEDx program, and I started thinking about how I could get kids my age thinking about learning and leadership—from speakers their own age,” says Svitak, who will host TEDxRedmond for a second consecutive year.
TEDxRedmond 2010 was a great success with a lineup of inspirational speakers (all youth) and over 700 people in attendance. “This year, we are excited to host TEDxRedmond again and hope to make it even bigger,” remarked Priya Ganesan, the event’s public relations manager and a 2010 speaker.
At TEDxRedmond 2011, live speeches, exciting performances, and ‘TEDTalks’ videos will combine to spark deep discussion and debate. Speakers will share their inspirational experiences and visions for the future in order to motivate and encourage other students to recognize their full potential. Maya Ganesan, another committee member who also spoke at last year’s event, commented that “the event is truly an empowering experience for all, and has inspired many students to take action in their communities for causes they are passionate about.”
After meeting speaker Jessica Markowitz at TEDxRedmond last year and being inspired by her efforts to help Rwandan girls get an education, Priya Ganesan joined Jessica’s non-profit and even traveled with her to Rwanda this summer. Other attendees have been volunteering with their youth councils, starting blogs to spread awareness about global issues, and joining youth groups to prevent tobacco use, teen suicide, and more.
TEDxRedmond 2011 will take place on September 10 at the Microsoft Conference Center. Some of the speakers and performers (once again, all youth) are Stephanie Engle, a gifted photographer who donates her profits to a Guatemalan orphanage; Alexander Prior, a world-famous musician, composer, and conductor who graduated from the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music at age 17 and has conducted and composed music for ballets and symphonies around the world; and MaCall Manor, a nationally ranked dancer, writer, actress, and Junior Olympic gymnast who has been honored at Carnegie Hall twice for her writing.
This event is targeted toward students ages 11-17 (grades 6-12) from across western Washington. More information about TEDxRedmond, how to register to attend, a complete list of speakers, and videos from last year’s event can be found at TEDxRedmond.
TEDxRedmond 2011 committee
top, l-r: Maya Ganesan, Priya Ganesan, Julian Pradeep, Kelly Jiang, Airin Jiang, Victoria Bawn, Shaan Shridhar, Apoorva Chowdhary, Christina Dias, Adrianna Svitak
middle, l-r:TJ Egbejimba, Adesuwa Agbonile, Hannah Yang, Lisa Marie Dias
bottom: Adora Svitak
Priya Ganesan is public relations manager for TEDxRedmond.