November 23, 2010
The Orlando Science Center’s Darden Theater became a site for big ideas and bold vision on Saturday, November 13 during the first TEDx Orlando Conference. A local, self-organized division of TED, TEDx brings people together to share a TED-like experience through monthly meetings and conferences.
In the spirit of ideas worth sharing, the Orlando members created the conference to present live speakers that spark deep discussion and connection for TEDx members and the Orlando community. The conference coordinated a line-up of fascinating presentations by some of Orlando’s cutting-edge thinkers including Crummer Executive-in-Residence Allen H. Kupetz and three Rollins faculty members – Associate Professor of International Business Marc Sardy, Associate Professor of History Julian Chambliss and Associate Professor of Art Rachel Simmons.
Kupetz spoke about his work with the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, an organization offering experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans. Sardy inspired the crowd with his message of how cinema can be used as a powerful tool for cultivating peace and connectivity. Since 2005, he’s worked with Orlando’s Global Peace Festival in order to realize this vision.
Chambliss gave an engaging presentation about the role of the comic book superhero not only in our media, but in our culture as a whole (watch his presentation). Finally, the event concluded with Simmons who spoke passionately about how art can be used to raise awareness and appreciation for environmental issues such as climate change, marine pollution and ecotourism.
Other speakers included award-winning cinematographer James Neihouse, internationally recognized astrophysicist and inventor Hakeem M. Oluseyi, and artist Sharon L. Butler.
“I think TEDx Orlando upheld the spirit of TED by showcasing innovative people, organizations, and ideas in Central Florida,” said Chambliss. “More than that, I think there was some doubt about the community's ability to support this kind of event, and those doubts were proven wrong.”
TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader and has grown to support world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com and screened at local TEDx meetings across the country.
TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, with simulcast in Palm Springs; TEDGlobal is held each year in Oxford, UK.
Learn more at www.tedxorlando.org.
By Kristen Manieri