TEDxValletta (backlog entry #1)

Hi there!

The official logo

This entry was prepared to be posted in February. Unfortunately, this year is extremely busy so we not always have time to keep up with the blog. So a lot of backlog is prepared and I am going to be posting the entries in spare moments.

If you excuse us we will go back in time and mention a fantastic conference we attended.  It was called TED x Valletta: Innovation meets Inspiration.

We have just learned that a new one will be taking place on 11/11/2011 ( you can watch the trailer HERE), so this is probably the best moment to say what a wonderful experience it was.

18th of February 2011 proved itself to be one of those hectic days with a tight schedule and a lot or running. But once a day like this is over and you look back, you see how much fun it was. The conference was in the morning, then in the evening we attended Patrick Duff concert (we will write about it in the near future but we are not sure what in form it will be yet). Plus it was pouring nearly all the time. You can imagine.

If you are not familiar with TED conferences, it stands for Technology Entertainment and Design. It started over 25 years ago and is currently curated by an NGO – Sapling Foundation. TED offers a platform to exchange visions, ideas, and practical tips on variety of topics ranging from technology to culture and beyond. It is often done in a form of conferences or talks that are recorded and then made available online.

TED is located in the US so not everyone can be in attendance. That’s why a special program called TEDx was created. It is basically an independent event in the form of a TED conference hosted locally.  So far it happened in around 60 countries.

Official logo for TEDxValletta

TEDxValletta was organized at St James Cavalier in Valletta. It was curated by Mrs Deborah Webster.  She was not only a moderator of the event but herself being a leader and advisor; she offered many useful tips between the talks.  But what really impressed us about her was the way Mrs Webster handled the crowd. She doesn’t speak loudly, actually on occasion she was just decibels above the whisper, yet she captured your attention immediately.  Usually there are some chit chatters at the back of the room at conferences which sometimes makes us irritated but this time around nobody dared to utter a word.  We don’t know how Mrs Webster is doing it, but we wish she’d share her secret. 🙂

On the panels we had some really amazing and inspirational speakers:  Dr Tanya Sammut – Bonnici from Edward De Bono Institute at University of Malta, Christoph Glaser from International Association for Human Values or Jo Simpson from Coaching and Mentoring Middle East LLC among others.  It was a mix of talks about how technology and philosophy influence each other, to how to use your intuition and how not to be afraid of even most radical changes (brilliant presentation!) and how to be a complete human being (and still be a successful person).

Photo by Mal

But there was a certain talk that really deserves a mention. It was done by Mr Nitten Nair. He is a student of University of Malta. He offered a short yet humorous (and insightful!) presentation on Indian mythology and its references to modern living and culture.  You should have seen him talk. We immediately felt drawn to his ideas as we love old legends, myths and we often use them as reference in our work, especially the stories we write.  Mr Nair may be young but we can tell you that we will hear from him in the future.

We really loved our time at TEXxValletta. But that doesn’t mean there were no setbacks.  The networking part didn’t work out at all. Attendants preferred to discuss in their own private circles and ignored you at times.  Many people left during the break or right after the conference.  Some talks were also not fortunate. We don’t want to discourage Ms Diana Tircomnicu but her panel (dedicated to job market situation and the young generation – Gen Y, as she named it) was confusing and ill-timed. Ms Tircomnicu seems to aim at high academia but didn’t manage to escape stereotypes and generalizations. Statement such as “all young people are not interested in politics” sounded extremely unfair when it is young people (and often younger than the panellist) that fight and die for democracy and human rights in the Middle East at the moment.  We can also assure that we know many people in the West who are extremely conscious about politics. We will blame the generalizations and ism`s in the talk on lack of experience and perhaps lack of time to prepare the panel.  We are sure that next time around Ms Tircomnicu will do just brilliantly.

Digital polaroid by Mal

It turned out to be a long post, but we really wanted to tell you our feelings about it. All in all it was time worth spent and we wish to see more events like this in the future.

For now, we run off to do more work. No rest for the wicked;)

Have a brilliant Sunday,

M+R

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