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TEDx is back with strong all-woman line-up

Nine speakers with ‘ideas worth sharing’ for annual festival of inspiration
Published: 
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A huge part of our self-realisation as Caribbean people is shaping the narrative that the world experiences as we traverse the planet.

Since 2011, the talks at TEDx Port-of-Spain have played a role in re-defining that picture and speaking to a narrative that broadcasts a message of Trinidadians and Tobagonians punching way above their weight in the local and global arena.

This Saturday, October 7, the latest edition of TEDx Port-of-Spain, themed In The Arena, will take place at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.

When TEDx Port-of-Spain staged its first edition at the Little Carib Theatre, it was just as the state of emergency was lifted and it seemed to be almost in celebration of the nation’s newly regained freedom. It was extremely well-received, and since then, there has been eager anticipation by people who want to hear these talks by movers and shakers who have been making a difference locally, regionally and internationally.

In looking back on the success of TEDx Port-of-Spain, co-licensee Keita Demming told the T&T Guardian in an interview earlier this year, he started TEDx because wanted to engender a culture of action.

“I decided to do TEDx Port-of-Spain because I was tired of the notion that we need to hire foreigners to do the work that many locals are qualified to do,” he said.

“Since then, the vision for TEDx Port-of-Spain has moved from me being angry about the shortcomings of one particular cultural norm, to an understanding that our potential, as a country, is infinite, but our insititutions are too weak to help us be the best versions of ourselves.

“TEDx Port-of-Spain is about building a community of doers. We have too many complainers and opinion holders and not enough doers.”

Since 2011, there have been five more editions, and the production has moved from the Little Carib to the Central Bank Auditorium and now to its current home at Queen’s Hall, Port-of-Spain.

There are 60 high quality talks available on TEDx Port-of-Spain’s YouTube channel. At the first edition, Prakash Persad, then Professor of Mechatronics at UWI demonstrated a robot playing the tabla. This talk still amazes many who had no idea that this kind of innovative work was happening right here in T&T.

TedX Port-of-Spain event has achieved global visibility, at least online: it has made its way onto the international TED.com website.

Demming said: “We are one of the most successful TEDx events in the world. We have had three TEDx videos go on TED.com—when of the 13,000 TEDx events in the world, only one per cent have had talks featured on TED.com.”

Past speakers include architect Mark Raymond, Justice Gillian Lucky, attorney Margaret Rose, chartered surveyor Afra Raymond, RC priest Fr Clyde Harvey, social activist Wayne Kublalsingh, and Trinidadian born US Justice Helen Whitener.

This year, nine speakers—all women—will take to the Queen’s Hall stage with their ideas worth spreading.

They include four-time Olympian Cleopatra Borel, architect Rudylynn Roberts, visual artist Nadia Huggins, disability activist Shamla Maharaj and financial sector veteran Ingrid Lashley.

In addition to the talks, there will be entertainment by singer and flautist Ruth Osman and a collaboration between pianist Chantal Esdelle and spoken word poet Deneka Thomas.

TEDx Port-of-Spain taps into the global TED community which has dedicated its stage to welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world.

TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues.

Co-licensee Dennise Demming said: “Staging an all-day event where people engage in sober discussion around ideas and conversation has been a challenge but the team of volunteers who give selflessly is but a small example of the goodwill that exists throughout our country.

“We have managed to bring together a diverse group to bring a TED-like experience to Port-of-Spain that is authentic and credible,” she said.

“My mantra is taken from American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead who said, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’”

Info 

TEDx Port-of-Spain 2017 takes place on October 7 at the Queen’s Hall from 10 am.

Tickets are available online at buzz.tt or any Haagen Dazs outlet.

For more information, visit the TEDx Port-of-Spain site tedxportofspain.com