In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.
Entering the theater at the TEDxYouth@WISS, guests were drawn into the experience by an art exhibition, featuring a diversity of works created by the WISS community. Cascading from the ceiling at ten meters in length was the TEDxYouth@WISS Voice Quilt with over 700 squares, each crafted by WISS community members. The collection of words, images, and symbols on each quilt square represents our views on what we believe the world is anticipating. Grade 10 and Grade 11 students conveyed messages of love, ecological concerns, and the pervasiveness of technology through deconstructing classroom globes. Above the works of art was a large sphere, glowing with video projections of WISS students sharing their views on what needs to change to make our world a better place.
Another highlight of the exhibition was a larger than life video installation of WISS Early Years students that proved that even little people have big ideas. Guest listened to children as young as three-years old discuss the ways people are affected by Shanghai pollution and what we can do to improve the situation.
After building excitement and interest through the art exhibit, the lights dimmed and everyone settled into their seats eager to experience inspired talks and performances by WISS students, teachers, staff, parents, and outside guests.
Session one talks opened with a powerful question from WISS MYP Coordinator, Andrew VanderMeulen: What happens when the voiced of students are given both form and power? Grade 11 students Emma Van Meirlo and Ines Diaz Bautista followed with a compelling truth and call to action: we are all role models to someone, even if we don’t always choose to be, so make sure you are a good one.
After a beautifully moving contemporary dance performance by Grade 6 students Alexcia Brunton and Ella Tattari, Grade 4 student Luke Johnson dazzled the audience with his ideas on tinkering. After trying unsuccessfully to coax his “shy” tinkered robot to deliver his talk, he used his own humor, insight, and knowledge to explain why we should explore every day discarded materials to experiment, repair, and create something new.
Session two opened with a performance from Grade 9 drama students who communicated the urgency of acting now to change the world. The performance was a fitting preamble to Grade 11 Helen Yang’s ideas on industrialized humanity. By sharing her experience visiting a protected minority village in Sothern China and through reflection of modern day society, she challenged us all to consider if industrialization and the development of technology is hindering isolation or creating it.
A compelling talk by WISS Director of Marketing Shelley Bragg left a lasting impression on the audience. Ms. Bragg proposed that for true compassion to be possible, we need to come to terms with our own suffering so that we can better understand the suffering of others. Shortly after, WISS parent Dr Marty Hauff presented his challenge to guests: to consider that the way we visualize and pursue success has a huge impact on how we make decisions and respond to life challenges.
Visiting marine biologist Emily H. King closed the evening with an energized and enthusiastic message of how we can save the oceans without getting wet. In her call to action, she encouraged guests that they too can save the ocean simply by talking to others about what they like about it and thereby raising awareness of the need to protect it.
Although an intimate event of 100 attendees, people from all over the world tuned in to view the event through a live stream. From Nairobi, Africa to the USA, viewers exchanged live messages commenting on how they were inspired by the talks. If you missed the event, WISS invites you to visit the event website at tedxyouthwiss.com for more information on our speakers, recorded talks, TED, and TEDx events.