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Stephen Stokols

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TED should select "normal people" to attend its primary annual event, i.e. people selected on merit.

TED is very exclusive and that's part of the lure perhaps. Participants generally represent the top .01% as measured by personal wealth. "Normal people" who may be as bright, impassioned and insightful can never have a chance to attend TED, not even a hope if they have chosen to pursue a vocation like academia or social work.

As we do in other parts of democratic merit based societies, there should be a "TED scholarship" set up for people who have no hope to ever be invited based on wealth and achievement.

This scholarship should be merit based in the same way an academic fellowship is. Applicants would be measured based on achievement and a personal essay. I'd suggest 10 scholarships awarded each year, the winners representing different walks of "normal life."

Topics: Scholorship TED
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    Feb 18 2011: HI Stephen! We totally agree here at TED and created the TED Fellows program for the very same reasons you mention above. Check it out here: www.ted.com/fellows.

    For each conference (TED & TEDGlobal) we select 20 Fellows -- extraordinary people doing insanely cool things around the world who wouldn't otherwise have access -- to join us, all expenses paid. In addition to becoming full conference participants, the Fellows arrive two days early for a Fellows only pre-conference full of skill-building workshops, presentations, and social activities.

    Applications are currently open for the 2011 TEDGlobal class - apply here: www.ted.com/fellows/apply or help us spread the word!
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      Apr 11 2011: Just 20? Out of how many people that attend TED?

      I would challenge TED to hold a conference - not a TEDx, but one of the main ones - where at least 50% of the audience are regular people from unprivileged backgrounds. Forget the immense pricetag and see what happens when you get the everyday person involved.

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