Maria Fernandes | NT Kuriocity
TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) which began as a one-off event in 1984 is a non-profit organisation, devoted to ‘Ideas worth spreading’, usually in the form of short, powerful talks delivered by leading thinkers and doers. TED’s early emphasis which was on technology and design has since broadened its focus to include talks on many scientific, cultural and academic topics. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson and others. The roster of presenters includes scientists, philosophers, musicians, religious leaders, philanthropists, and many others. TED believes in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately the world.
TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas includes TEDx; where x equals independently organised TED events provide licenses to thousands of individuals, communities and organisations who host local, self-organised TED-style events around the world.
Describing his first encounter with TED, Girish Jalihal says: “I watched my first TEDTalk when I was still in high school and the content was mind blowing! It was the first time I realised a talk can be very interesting and, inspiring. The quality and level of TEDTalks is what got me interested.”
The itinerary for the two-hour event includes four talks by four different speakers. “The duration and style of talk is in accordance with TED guidelines which will be strictly followed throughout the event. The event will also include two TEDTalk videos from the TED website, and a musical performance put up by our Music Hub,” says Jalihal. Maximum participation as per TED rules is 100. A separate room has been arranged to screen the entire event live.
Explaining the objective of the event, he says: “Apart from technical and cultural festivals that our institute is known for there is an intellectual crowd craving for a platform to exchange ideas through debates, discussions, talk forums and the like and TEDxGEC is an expression of the same desire, the most progressive step in this direction. It will not only inspire people to take up direct action but give them a forum for exposure and discussion of ideas. I firmly believe that ‘there can be no revolutionary action without revolutionary theory’. TEDxGEC might just be the lesson our student community needs to move in the right (and revolutionary) direction.” He continues, “Credit for coming up with the idea goes to my juniors. The idea soon spread in certain circles and I decided to take up the initiative. After submitting a long and exhaustive form online, I answered a Skype interview with a TED representative and was given the license to organise the event shortly afterwards.”
Jalihal believes the event will also give students with start-ups a chance to advertise. “A student of ours, who recently launched a start-up Obazaar.in is one of the sponsors,” he says.
Topics chosen for TEDxGEC include social activism, the importance of non-verbal communication by understanding lie detection, dealing with relationship issues and heartbreak, and a talk decoding miracles performed by so-called Godmen. “The topics aren’t engineering related and are life related and are tailor made for minds of our age. These will grip the local student community and hopefully help us to start a culture of dialogue and discussions on campus,” he says. “We looked for people who have experience in dealing with a young audience. A younger audience appreciates both, basic and lofty ideas. ”
The speakers include, president of Goa Science Forum and ex-national secretary of Federation of Indian Rationalists Association, Somu Rao; social activist, Gaurav Padte; body language trainer, Kanan Tandi and clinical psychologist, Marietta D’Souza, will be speaking about heartbreak in young adulthood and how to deal with it.
When asked what has been the reaction of students and teachers with regard to the upcoming TEDxGEC, he says: “The response has been largely positive not just from students but also from teachers. A section of the college community is ignorant about the existence of TEDx, but the ones who are familiar are quite excited and the ones who are new to the concept are warming up to the idea. Our professor, Ganesh Hegde has helped us throughout. The excitement is building and it feels great to be a part of an upcoming trend in the campus.”
Jalihal hopes that this will be the first of many such events that Goa College of Engineering will host and says: “Events like this will enrich the atmosphere here and definitely build better Engineers.”
(The TEDx event will be held on August 17 at Goa College of Engineering. )