Peggy Xu

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How can I bring TED to my community?

I'm sixteen years old and a junior in perhaps the most competitive high school in the state - our student population is 40% Asian and the school won the Governor's Cup for three consecutive years for highest SAT scores.

The academic atmosphere, however, is suffocating; the students here have tunnel-visioned obsessions with getting into elite colleges, transforming what should be an enriching educational experience into an arduous journey of dog-eat-dog-competition, high stress, high pressure, and high stakes.

Because of this, my greatest dream is to host a TEDx talk here focused on education. I want to show my overworked peers the payoff of unfettered thought - not for college, but for oneself.

How do I do this? Where would one start in organizing a TEDx talk and how does one come about inviting speakers? I know inviting prominent speakers is expensive - is there a way to offset this cost? (If I could get Ken Robinson to speak at a TEDx event at my school, my life would be pretty much complete).

Any advice or feedback is greatly appreciated! If everything works out, I would love to try to get a TEDx event together next school semester.

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    Dec 9 2011: I would say search through the accounts and send messages to the TED people close to your town. I work in Atlanta and TEDx Atlanta often have TED events in the same business complex I work in. Here is their website:

    If you emailed some of them I'm sure they might be able to help you out. You may even be able to use some of their resources.
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    Dec 8 2011: Awesome to hear that you are thinking of hosting a TEDx event at your school! To start, you should visit here to find out all of the information and guidelines for hosting a TEDx event.

    TEDx event names should be location-based -- in your case, you may name it after your school -- but each can have their own theme and focus. For example, your theme could be "Education Revolution", and you could have speakers from a variety of fields talk about that. (A reminder that TEDx events, like TED, should be multidisciplinary).

    The format of a TEDx event is a combination of TEDTalks (like Sir Ken Robinson!) and local speakers. TEDx events are community-driven, and speakers at your event should be great undiscovered voices from your local community. The goal shouldn't necessarily be to get Ken Robinson, but to have the next Ken Robinson speak at your event.

    If you have any more questions about TEDx, please do email us at
  • Dec 14 2011: Congratulations on setting your sights higher than self-interest. I have been struck with the same desire to host a TEDx in our community as well. We are *very* small and I was searching the TED website looking for ideas and absorbing the details of hosting when I found your comment. I truly hope you host a conference. It is people like you who can fix the things you see that need changed.

    The cost of hosting a TEDx can be small...and can be offset by a low ticket cost. You can get Ken Robinson to speak, albeit via these videos, since you do have to show a number of TED videos in your TEDx along with your speakers. Cultivate an interest in your school with your faculty. I guarantee you right now there is a teacher who is dreaming of an audience to share his/her vision of a change in education or a passion they have for anything. Other people that you meet in Duluth that live their lives for a greater purpose are the others you want to ask. Chat up a local restaurant to see if they could help cater a lunch for a sponsorship. See if a venue would be willing to allow you space.

    Your desire to start something has inspired me to double my efforts to get our project moving. I hope to have ours ready by summer so our teachers can ignite their spark before walking into the classroom in fall. Feel free to stay in touch if you like, and I hope to see your event listed on the TEDx events page someday!
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    Dec 9 2011: Find some like minded people in your school either students or faculty to help in the planning of the event. Brainstorm with them to get a theme for your event. Decide on a location for the event and how you might design your set and record the event. Look at TED talks and identify the ones you would like to use at your event. Try find talks that are linked to your theme. Advertise for speakers, you may find they will not want a fee, but you may well have some people in your school with good ideas themselves. Use the very helpful guidelines on organising an event online from TEDx. Go for it! It will be well worth it!
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    Dec 8 2011: Advertise for them. Guerrilla Marketing ftw. Just toss up a few glossy, colorful, well designed posters up in places people will see them... it's technically litering... but the danger of a fine makes it fun, and you could probably get permission from school, and certain other likeminded establisments if you really wanted to. I'm sure some of your teachers like ted. If no one see's you do it, they'll just assume you got permission.

    It's the same if you want to advertise for your local electric bicycle shop, or e-skateshop, and they might pay you. TED won't, but it'd be a fun thing to play around with, and I don't work for them, so they can't get in trouble... They didn't tell ya to do it.