Learning with Constrast and Differences – TEDGlobal 2009

The TEDGlobal 2009 Conference which concluded Friday afternoon in Oxford was unquestionably THE most stimulating and engaging professional conference I have ever been privileged to experience. Most notable to me was the diversity of talent, stories, projects, people, from all over the world. Immediate affirmation was everywhere of the power of contrast and differences to stimulate learning and deepen global understanding. I was working at spanning and bridging ideas in my mind all week long! Exhausting! And wonderful…

Orphaned hip hop artist, Emmanuel Jal’s story of surviving the Sudanese civil wars celebrated in exploding rhythms the difference just one person can make, i.e. Emma McCune, the aid worker who rescued him (and has subsequently died – details were not able to be shared). V.K. Madhavan, the Executive Director, Central Himalayan Rural Action Group, a group specializing in rural agricultural development is also a TED Fellow. In a soft-spoken way, each time I spoke with Madhavan during the week, he conveyed his dedication to empowering women who work in agriculture in rural India. With just a few comments, his passion and commitment were not only evident but inspiring!

The stage was occupied (never more than 18 minutes) by the prominent ( e.g. Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of Britain) and the not so well-known or even obscure ( Jason Soll, a student at Claremont McKenna College who “flourished” cards for 3 minutes while energizing all of us with how learning can flourish). Michael Naylor, Director, Canopy Capital, London and a fellow participant, spoke with me as we walked to Oxford’s Natural History Museum to view the movie, “Home . Each time we subsequently met during the course of the week, I realized a new depth of concern and care for the intricate systems of the planet we inhabit.

Many TED talks are available on-line – more in time from Global2009 Conference, most from previous conferences. IF you want to keep your mind alert and your learning at the edge, I strongly encourage viewing a TED talk from time to time. It only takes 18 minutes OR LESS.