Exciting TEDx Talks Hitting Peel This Weekend

If you've always dreamed of attending a TED Talk, you are in luck—an independently organized TEDxMississauga Talk is coming to Mississauga this week (so not quite in Brampton, but close enough to it).

While TEDx talks are a little different from traditional TED Talks in the sense that they're organized by independent parties who operate under a license from TED Conferences LLC, they do have to be approved by TED and they must feature talks that fall in line with the TED philosophy of spreading ideas.

For those who are unaware, TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a non-profit organization that's devoted to the spread of ideas through what it calls "short, powerful talks." Although the talks might seem like a modern phenomenon, they've actually been around since 1984 and cover more than just technology, entertainment and design.

Now, TED talks deal with myriad subjects and are delivered in more than 100 languages. Independent TEDx events help encourage the spread of ideas throughout various communities worldwide.

"TEDx events are local community events and we're licensed by TED Conferences," explains TEDxMississauga organizer Rhyan Ahmed. "TED events are organized by TED Conferences LLC and TEDx events are organized by members of local communities."

According to Ahmed, the process of arranging a TEDx event in Mississauga included applying to be a licensee and going through an an interview and selection process.

Basically, 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 are featured in order to spark discussion and connection.

TEDxMississauga is slated to take place on Saturday, July 22 at the Living Arts Centre in the City Centre area in Mississauga and it will feature a number of profound and interesting speakers and performers, including human rights activist Samra Zafar, author and technology futurist Ian Khan, Juice Inc. CEO Brady Wilson, communications professional Jagneet Singh, paralympian athlete Joel Dembe, humanitarian activist Jasmine Yilmaz, CEO Odette Laurie, Native American Spirit Flute musician Alissa Skorik, magician Graeme Reed and insauga.com founder and CEO Khaled Iwamura.

The event will be hosted by Randy Persaud.

As far as attending goes, prospective guests were initially asked to apply to attend (now, they can purchase tickets outright, as applications are closed). Those who would like to purchase tickets can do so here for $80.

Since the TEDx event features a diverse array of speakers discussing such pertinent but disparate issues as forced marriage, technology and disaibility, it's going to function as something of a celebration of community.

"There's definitely a strong theme this year - and it's Community," says Ahmed. "We design our themes to be broad enough to capture unique ideas that fit under a single unifying umbrella. We're going to hear talks about domestic violence, gender inequality and people living with disabilities. Really, the idea of community is something you can look at through a lot of different lenses."

As for the speakers are selected, Ahmed says everyone is chosen carefully.

"Selecting speakers is an arduous process," he says. "We use a comprehensive series of questions for applicants to describe their proposed talk, how it fits under the theme, and we review their previous speaking experience as well as their professional credentials. TED and TEDx speakers are known to be skilled in taking the stage and engaging the audience with powerful ideas, so it's a competitive process."

In terms of how one can plan a TEDx event, Ahmed says that the talks must be funded by the organizers and that any organizers, volunteers or speakers cannot be paid for their involvement. While prospective organizers are free to charge an admission fee and fundraise to cover the costs associated with the conference, Ahmed says the Mississauga event is mostly privately funded.

"Mississauga has grown into a city that makes it an appropriate venue for a major TEDx event, and there's a lot of enthusiasm for supporting the TED vision here. Local sponsors help fund the event, but businesses and community organizations can get involved in a non-monetary ways as well."

This summer's event will also feature live performances.

"It's a little different from many conventions, where the attractions are usually workshops and booths," Ahmed explains. "TEDx conferences, on the other hand, focus on a series of talks and performances. We've also got solo artists who will do some interesting performances. There will be also be an after party as well."

To learn more, click here.

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