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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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    Apr 11 2011: Richard Bach once wrote "In times like this why do we need luxury and expensive cars and houses?" the other side of that he wrote was if we do not have things like a 'Stradivarius Violin' then where would we find the inspiration to reach higher levels. The problem as I see it is not that TED has set it's sights to high but that we are setting ours to low. If one really wants to be part of the TED conference one should pursue that goal with a single mindedness. Also I believe we need to be care in our wording, it's not MAY be as bright and passionate, we ARE as bright and passionate. For the most part what has separated us from those who participate fully in TED is wealth and little more. There are many many geniuses alive who are only managing to financially get by as you pointed out.

    The last thing and this is for the TED Staff: while I realise a level of moderation is needed so that the forum does not turn into a YAHOO chat sight with text anachronisms instead of full conversation, don't you think you overstepped the bounds a little by closing the debate opened by Tiara Shafiq:

    This topic is already being discussed in the following conversation:
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/401/ted_should_select_normal_peop.html
    I'm going to close this to focus the discussion. Please join the existing conversation instead.
    Thank you.

    I mean surely we overlap topics all the time everyday?
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      Apr 11 2011: Thank you for noting that! I thought it was a little bit iffy.

      Though I would agree about setting sights too low. Having tons of money (which seems to be the core criterion to attend TED) does not make you any more worthy. There are plenty of bright passionate people who will NEVER be able to achieve the $6000 price tag, because their economies would not sustain it. Let's not assume Western privilege is right here.
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      TED 10+

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      Apr 12 2011: The purpose of closing one conversation and referring to an existing one is done for the benefit of the community in order to focus on the discussion of the given topic, more actively engage community around it and keep things organized.
      Thank You.

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