In 2009 TED began allowing third parties to organize TED-like events around the globe in order to give communities the TED experience, to stimulate conversation amongst neighbors, and highlight issues and implement solutions on a local level. TEDxPeachtree is just one example of a successful TEDx event. In the past four years, TEDxPeachtree has grown by leaps and bounds. There is a lot of excitement around its return on November 8, 2013 at the Buckhead Theater.
One of the most important and successful collaborations to come out of the TEDx movement is TEDxChange. Organized in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it focuses on issues of education and global health and development. The TEDxChange team works with TEDx organizers around the world to spark conversations on topics such as child and maternal health, polio, malaria, HIV/AIDS and agricultural development. This includes an annual event organized by Melinda Gates and broadcast across the TEDx community.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to solving the world’s toughest problems – from extreme poverty and poor health in the developing world to the failures of America’s education system – by taking strategic risks on innovative ideas that more traditional funding sources cannot afford to make. It is in this vein that the TEDxChange events were founded. By partnering with TEDx and highlighting “Ideas Worth Spreading” on the topics of education, global health and global development, the Foundation is able to reach more people across the globe than ever before. This year, TED.com provided a live stream of TEDxChange in eight languages, including Mandarin, Korean, and Arabic. In order to encourage meaningful conversations about global health and development year round, the Foundation has offered ways to bring TEDxChange to standard TEDx events. This includes opening up past TEDxChange talks to be played at standard events and the opportunity for local TEDx organizers to program one session of their TEDx event around speakers who work in the areas of global health and development. This symbiotic relationship allows local TEDx events to highlight these important issues while promoting solutions on a local level. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made $26.1 billion in grant payments since its inception and supports grantees in all 50 states and over 100 countries. Its partnership with TEDx expands the scope of its reach and allows it to raise awareness of its mission to a broad audience of similar-minded folks.
TEDxChange 2013 took place on April 3 in Seattle, WA, and was organized around the theme of “Positive Disruption.” This year’s event put forth the idea that although disruption is typically thought of as a negative, it can be a catalyst for positive change. It can force us to take a new perspective on an age-old problem, thereby sparking conversation and motivating policy leaders to approach problems from a fresh angle and, perhaps, allowing us to arrive at a new solution.
This Q&A with Melinda Gates gives excellent insight into this year’s conference; The courage to believe change is possible.
There is a natural symbiosis between the goals of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the founding principles of the TED organization embodied in their mantra “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Both organizations challenge us to look for solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems with creativity and to use the techniques, tools and methods available to us in innovative ways. Both TED and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pursue scientific answers to life’s challenges, be they nutrition, education, information and technology, poverty and disease. They strive to raise awareness and find creative solutions to these problems. With our support these lofty goals can become a reality.
Lauren Lynn is a new arrival to Atlanta. She moved from Charleston, SC where she worked in arts management. Lauren lives in Lake Claire and enjoys exploring the neighborhood parks with her dog and children.