Where they really walk the talk

Where they really walk the talk


Where they really walk the talk

The US-based, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), best known for its conferences, is a vast pool of inspirational and remarkable speeches made by thinkers and entrepreneurs of the 20th and 21st century. TED’s initial focus was largely only on technology and design. But as the talks gained popularity, its coverage widened.

What started in the US as a non-profit organisation in 1984 with its first conference in 1990, has moved to other continents like Europe and Asia over the years. A TED conference with ‘ideas worth spreading’  was even held in Mysore last November.  

When TED came to India
The TED talks in Mysore held at the sprawling campus built by Infosys was a big hit. All seats were sold out weeks in advance, each participant reportedly paying a whopping $2,500 to attend the meet. Some of the speakers at TED Mysore were C K Prahlad, the guru of management consultancy; Horst Rechelbacher, an eco-chic entrepreneur who has been working on an organic, food-based personal-care brand called Intelligent Nutrients; Pawan Sinha, a visual neuroscientist who has been researching on how the human brain interprets what we observe with our eyes; and Romulus Whitaker, a herpetologist, scientist and conservationist who travels the world to study and protect reptiles.

Each of the talks were a reflection of how individuals with a passion can make a difference in this world.Dr Sunitha Krishnan, a social activist and chief functionary and co-founder of Prajwala, an institution that has helped thousands of trafficked women and girls, spoke about her fight against sex slavery; Thulasiraj Ravilla, executive director of Lions Aravind Institute of Community Ophthalmology, talked about low-cost eye care; Devdutt Pattanaik, a mythologist, spoke about the drift between businesses and modern life in the east and the west; and Sendhil Mullainathan, a behavioural economist studying social problems, talked on the irrational choices we make to perpetuate poverty, corruption and discrimination.

Click and listen
Some well-known personalities who have given TED talks include Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, evangelist Billy Graham and various Nobel Prize winners.

TED Talks, widely disseminated on the internet, are subject to a strict time limit of 18 minutes, regardless of a speaker’s eminence — referred to, in jest, as a ‘TED Commandment’. You can view them all at http://www.ted.com/talks. These have been archived under various categories:
 Newest releases
 Most favourite all-time
You can also browse the following categories for speeches by genre:
Global issues

‘Your wish is our cause’
TED also awards US $1,00,000 annually to help its winners realise a chosen wish to change the world. Only one winner is selected so that TED can maximise its efforts of achieving the winner’s wish. Each winner unveils their wish at the main annual conference – within the specified 18 minutes. For 2010, Jamie Oliver, the British chef who has made it his mission to break people’s dependence on fast food, has been awarded the cash prize.

“I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity,” said Oliver, and the TED community has promised all help in this fight against obesity. TED is currently working on Haiti relief. On the website, there is a blog with a list of ways one can contribute to help the survivors.

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