Twice a year, a group of interesting and impactful people gathers for the week-long TED experience — 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, curious minds and groundbreaking content in an immersive and focused environment.

What is a TED conference?

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design — three broad subject areas that are collectively shaping our world. But a TED conference is broader still, showcasing important ideas from any discipline, and exploring how they all connect. The format is fast-paced: 50+ talks over the course of a week, as well as morning and evening get-togethers. As they take in the program, attendees and speakers from vastly different fields can 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 global issues. Eighteen-minute talks are interspersed with shorter presentations, including music, performances and comedy.


TEDActive brings together a unique community to share a week of watching the live simulcast of the TED Conference in a creative, casual setting. The gathering is full of surprising, unforgettable 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. TEDGlobal was held in Oxford, UK, in 2005, 2009 and 2010; in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2007; and in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2011, 2012 and 2013. In 2014, TEDGlobal went "South!" to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Other TED events

TED also regularly hosts other special events around the globe. TEDIndia was held in November 2009 in Mysore, celebrating and exploring the beckoning future of South Asia. TEDWomen was held in 2010 in Washington, DC, and again in 2013 in San Francisco, 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 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 smaller 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 issues of interest. Meanwhile, TED Institute events bring TED's curatorial lens to the ideas found within large companies.

Attending a TED Conference

Attendance at TED is by application, and the attendees — scientists, CEOs, designers, intellectuals — are as extraordinary as the speakers. TED's success is in 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, and 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.

Find out more about attending a TED Conference