Like The Medium‘s Virginia Heffernan, I too am a self-confessed TED addict. Sparked by my first viewing of director Jehane Noujaim‘s presentation after she received the TED prize in 2006, I’ve since been keeping close tabs on the various speakers specialized in a wide variety of disciplines encapsulated by the ‘technology, entertainment, design’ cachet that the conference series has set out for itself from the time of its inception. Held annually since 1990 after it was founded by graphic designer and architect Richard Saul Wurman six years prior, the lectures limited within an inspiringly rigorous eighteen-minute time-frame offer over 300 insights of expertise freely available online today. Focused on a marked contribution to contemporary issues related to the sciences and humanities, the TED talks culminate with the awarding of the TED Prize each year, giving three individuals $100,000 alongside their being granted one wish ‘to change the world’ (Noujaim‘s wish had been to organize Pangea Day, with an aim to foster cross-cultural understanding through film).
Ordinarily held in Monterey, the TED 2009 Conference will be held in Long Beach, California this year. And commencing in five days, the programme is set to bring together an unrivalled set of speakers throughout its four-day duration, including Bill Gates, marketing guru Seth Godin, futurist Juan Enriquez, musician Herbie Hancock, and many more. A few of them have already been featured in previous years, though there’s no doubt that the calibre of discussion created will be as unprecedented as ever. I’m particularly excited about the upcoming lecture by maestro Dr. José Antonio Abreu, one of this year’s recipients of the TED Prize, and the founder of El Sistema in Venezuela. For some comprehensive insight into his revolutionary system of music education and its reformative socio-economic impact over the past thirty-four years, I strongly recommend you get your hands on BBC’s Imagine episode featuring music director Gustavo Dudamel and airing this past November.
As usual, the talks will soon be available on the TED site, YouTube and Miro. And another to look out for on the TED calendar will be the TED Global Conference, which will be held in Oxford this year. So luckily for fellow TED addicts who might be stranded in the UK this summer, registration is still open for those who would enjoy a less virtual viewing venue.
Sarah Badr © MMIX
See also: Seth Godin’s Blog