Twice a year, some of the world's most interesting thinkers and doers gather for the week-long TED Conference -- which attendees have described as "the ultimate brain spa" and "a journey into the future, in the company of those creating it." It's a winning formula of brilliant and curious minds and a mix of curated ideas worth spreading in an immersive (and phones-off) environment.
What is a TED Conference?
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design -- three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, a TED conference is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline and the connections between them. The format is fast paced: 50+ talks over the course of a week, as well as morning and evening get-togethers. This immersive environment allows attendees and speakers from vastly different fields to cross-fertilize and draw inspiration from unlikely places. This is the magic of TED.
Types of TED Conferences
The flagship TED Conference is held annually on the North American West Coast. The breadth of content includes science, business, the arts, technology and the global issues facing our world. Over the course of a week, 50+ speakers each take an 18-minute slot. Their talks are interspersed with shorter presentations, including music, performances and comedy. There are no breakout groups -- everyone shares the same experience. It shouldn't work, but it does ... because all of knowledge is connected.
TEDActive brings together a community to share an immersive week of watching the live simulcast of the TED Conference on beautiful HD screens in a creative, casual setting. The gathering is sprinkled with surprising experiences to inspire conversation and action around ideas.
TEDGlobal travels the world and is slightly more international in nature. The full TED format is maintained, with a wide-ranging roster of speakers and performers for a week of inspiring sessions -- plus the famous TED University, where attendees share their own knowledge with one another. TEDGlobal was held in Oxford, UK, in 2005, 2009 and 2010; in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2007; in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2011, 2012 and 2013; and in 2014, it will head to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Other TED events
TED also regularly hosts other events around the globe. TEDIndia was held in November 2009, celebrating and exploring the beckoning future of South Asia. TEDWomen was held in 2010 in Washington, DC, and again in 2013 in San Francisco, California, asking the question: How are women and girls reshaping the future? TEDYouth was held in New York City in 2011 and 2012, and in New Orleans in 2013, with inspiring speakers giving short talks designed to stimulate the curiosity of students. TEDCity2.0, powered by the 2012 TED Prize, presented a day of new thinking about urban life.
TED also hosts shorter events, including TED Salons, evening-length events with speakers and performers, and TED@250 events, curated by TED staff in our New York office to explore an issue of interest. Meanwhile, TED Institute events bring TED's curatorial lens to the ideas found within a large corporation.
Attending a TED Conference
Attendance at TED is by application, and the attendees -- CEOs, scientists, designers, intellectuals -- are as extraordinary as the speakers. Indeed, TED's success is based on the extraordinary effect of bringing together up to 1,200 of the world's most remarkable people across many fields. The result? Unexpected connections. Extraordinary insights. Powerful inspiration.
TED conference memberships come in a variety of levels; fees differ depending on which conference you want to attend. A portion of most conference fees is tax-deductible, and goes to support TED's free programs, from TED Talks videos to the million-dollar annual TED Prize.
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A Taste of TED
Watch these videos for a peak behind the scenes of a TED event