x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Conversation of Cultures

This event occurred on
September 23, 2011
8:30am - 7:00pm CEST
(UTC +2hrs)
Budapest, BU

If we aim to cross borders, if we want true adventures and real discoveries, then we need to cross the borders to other cultures. We need to meaningfully engage with others who see and experience the world in a different way or from a different point of view. In many respects our progress and prosperity depends on it. This is why we chose ’Conversation of Cultures’ as the theme of our next TEDxDanubia to be held at the end of September, 2011.

Where can we look for these cultural borders? Certainly, some do coincide with geopolitical ones, but far from all… So many idea driven opposing subcultures lack real conversation and meaningful engagement, staring at each other in wide eyed and often hostile or derisive incomprehension. Be it climate change, energy, smoking, ethics and politics, the story of minorities, religion and science, we find chasms everywhere we look. But there is hardly any potential for real progress without going beyond these divides, without making the effort to build bridges through exploration and mutual understanding. Certainly everyone is not right, but that does not mean anyone has the full and complete truth either.

In late September, at TEDxDanubia we will focus on these borderlines, the bridges, our ability and potential to change and four intriguing themes: Past, Present & Future -- Nature, Man & Technology -- Rationality, Faith & Emotion -- Serious Play

Urania Movie Theatre
Rákoczi ut 21
Budapest, BU, 1088
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Chandler Burr

Chandler Burr is an author and the New York Times’ perfume critic. He is the Curator of the Department of Olfactory Art at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Burr is the author of the two definitive non-fiction books about the perfume industry. "The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris & New York" tells the two parallel stories of a year Burr spent for The New Yorker magazine behind the scenes at Hermès, watching the creation of a fragrance and a year inside Coty with Sarah Jessica Parker as she directed the making of her first perfume. "The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses" is about a genius of biophysics and perfume. His novel, "You or Someone Like You," was published in 2009. Burr hosts interactive Scent Dinners around the world; these master-classes in gourmand scents are collaborations with the world’s best chefs.

Andrew Feldmár

Andrew Feldmár is a psychologist and psychotherapist. He escaped from Hungary after the 1956 revolution at age 16 and has lived in Canada ever since. He met Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing in 1974, whose theoretical and practical work radically questioned the dogmas of 20th century psychiatry. This meeting shaped the direction of Feldmár’s academic work, his professional approach, his relationship with his work and the world in general. As a friend and proponent of Laing, he is part of numerous significant therapeutic endeavors ongoing in Europe and America. Together with experts of many disciplines, artists and dedicated social workers he is searching for ways to help emotionally disturbed/disturbing people. His innovative approach to therapy seeks to reconnect patients to the joys of everyday life through relying on loving, living relationships, rather than the degrading alienation of the classical doctor-patient relationship. Feldmár’s research encompasses both traditional and alternative methods as practiced by healers, priests and shamans of various cultures and religions for centuries.

Andrew Evans

Andrew Evans is a writer and traveler who explores the world in the modern context. As National Geographic's “Digital Nomad,” Andrew uses new technology to experience the world in the old-fashioned manner: with rich observation and the joy of uncertainty. As a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler Evans travels the globe, creating interactive travel experiences for readers through the internet, digital mapping and social media. In 2009, Evans rode from Washington to Antarctica—primarily by bus—sharing the uncharted 12,000-mile journey with his readers in real-time online. In 2010, he embarked on a 2-month, 20,000-mile journey around Australia for National Geographic. In 2011, he crossed the Atlantic by ship, and reported on an unknown oil spill from the world’s remotest island. Evans is the author of four books, including bestselling guidebooks to Ukraine and Iceland. Andrew lives in Washington, DC but works mainly in hotels, airports and on airplanes.

Geoff McGrath

Geoff McGrath has twenty years experience in technological innovation from conceptual engineering design and development to sales and business development for blue chip and start-up companies alike. A mechanical engineer by training his career spanned most branches of engineering from mechanical, aeronautical, civil, chemical and petroleum engineering before changing focus to telecom, media and entertainment in the Internet boom and now back to McLaren Applied Technologies as managing director. His current focus is on developing breakthrough performance solutions in fields as diverse as sports, health and wellness and operations through the application of McLaren Technology and design.

Ernő Duda

Ernő Duda is a serial entrepreneur having started 16 companies in the past 20 years, all in different industries. Having a passion for science, he currently runs Solvo Biotechnology, the largest independent life sciences company in Hungary and also a global leader in its own field. He greatly enjoys teaching and has several decades of teaching experience in a number of fields from business to biotechnology. He is an associate professor at the Department of Biotechnology at the University of Szeged and a regular speaker at international conferences. He has held numerous positions in different charity organizations and NGO-s and is currently the president of the Hungarian Biotechnology Association and the VP of the Hungarian Skeptic Society. He has a strong “work hard-play hard” attitude to life and enjoys long discussions by a bottle of wine on subjects like the future of human evolution or the convergence of technologies.

Henriett Tunyogi

Henriett Tunyogi is a versatile, internationally known ballerina. She performed, in important venues such as London, Tokyo, Beijing, Rome, Edinburgh Festival. She is a permanent guest of the Budapest Spring Festival. She made a dance documentary film, Ballet ABC with Henriett for the Hungarian National Television. The successful series is distributed even in Japan. In Duna Television she made various dance lectures for children. Her essays were published in Premier Magazine and in Dance Art Magazine. She is also a choreographer and costume designer. Famous international choreographers created pieces for her. Henriett has a strong interest in yoga and meditation. She spent considerable time in India at the Himalayas region.

András Simonyi

András Simonyi former ambassador of Hungary to the USA, musician. Since early years he worked on international issues in government and NGO's. He was his country's first ambassador to NATO and later appointed ambassador of Hungary to the United States. He is known in the USA for his appearance in the talk show The Colbert Report. "My greatest diplomatic challenge was to confront Stephen Colbert on his show with a guitar and come up with a riff that would simultaneously send the message of the power of rock, the importance of diplomacy and in a nutshell "explain" my country, my generation while remaining an ambassador." - says Simonyi. Since 1969 he plays electric guitar in his rock band. In his opinion, rock and roll should take much credit for helping bring down the authoritarian regimes of Eastern Europe since it connected a generation across the East-West divide. Today's rock and roll, a life changing medium, metaphorically speaking is probably the social media.

Martijn Gribnau

Martijn Gribnau is a business leader and innovator. Over the last 20 years Martijn has worked in different senior leadership positions from banking to insurance within ING. He worked 5 years in the US, was responsible for Postbanks (now ING Bank) Mutual Fund and Security Business as well as responsible for developing its Internet Competency Center in the Netherlands. Since 2007, Martijn has held the position of CEO of ING Insurance Hungary where he was responsible for developing and implementing a multi-channel strategy to boost growth and productivity. He also implemented a re-engineered tied agency channel. Based on this innovation, he was asked to lead a global initiative to reinvent the Tied Agency Distribution across ING.

Les Némethy

Les Némethy is the CEO and founder of Euro-Phoenix, a corporate finance and M&A firm focused on Central Europe and emerging markets. He is also the former President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary; the former CEO of Hungarian telecommunications firm Invitel, and he is the author of a highly readable guide on exit strategies for business owners. Since being named head of the Transactions Department of the Hungarian Privatization Agency in early 1992, Nemethy has overseen the sale of over 6000 companies. He helped the World Bank as an expert of this field and worked in over 40 countries providing exit plans for businesses ranging from small concerns right the way up to helping the Kuwait Investment Authority devise a programme to sell assets worth $6 billion on the Kuwait Stock Exchange. Currently based in Budapest, Némethy lectures frequently and has taught courses in universities from Georgetown University to the Central European University, specialising in the subject of negotiations.

Dag Hinrichs

Dag Hinrichs has a background in sales, marketing, and corporate strategy, giving him 20 years of Business Development experience. He started his career with 10 years in advertising working for some of the most successful brands in the world. He then co-founded Good Company, a sustainability consulting firm, where he was a principal for 5 years. In 2006 Dag joined Vestas Wind Systems, where he eventually served as the Global Director of Strategic Planning for Marketing, and was most recently Head of Global Commercial Innovation. Dag is now consulting, helping small and large firms with their growth strategy.

Tamás Sárközy

Tamás Sárközy is a lawyer, professor, deputy minister, outstanding corporate law writer. Between 1969 and 1986 he had been at first a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, later became an associate member and finally the head of the department of corporate law. Between 1972 and 1979 he served as an associate professor at MKKE. He acquired his doctorate in law and constitutional law at a very early age, in 1978. He became a university professor in 1979. He has been the head of the faculty of financial law at MKKE since 1981. He worked at the Parliamentary Bureau of the Council of Ministers between 1987 and 1990. Sárközy played a key role in the foundation of corporate law at the time of the regime change both in an academic and in a political capacity. In the late 1980’s he contributed significantly to successful law making as a deputy for the minister of justice and as commissioner for deregulation. He is editor in chief of Economy & Law magazine. Sárközy is a member of the Committee for Governmental Reform since 2006.

Piotr Szymczak

Piotr Szymczak translator, educator. He has translated a number of books into Polish including Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father (2008). Piotr has always seen himself as a natural-born teacher, and taught a number of subjects in a variety of settings. He has experienced a fair share of frustrations in the process, a feeling every teacher will know all too well, and this made him think whether the frustrations might be hard-wired into our teacher-student relationship model. Based on his experiences, Piotr has tried to come up with an outside-the-box solution to heal teacher-student relationships and possibly improve the education system. His approach focuses on better classroom communication to highlight the personal dimension of teaching.

Ilona Nyisztor

Ilona Nyisztor is regarded as the most authentic ambassador of Csángó culture, a people of ethnic Hungarians who are living in Moldova, what is now Romania. Ilona is from the small village of Pustiana, where she started collecting folksongs with great passion first from her mother, a renowned source of folklore herself, from elders of her own village, until she finally expanded her research to other villages too. She also started collecting folk dances and was more and more often invited to perform at festivals. Today she has five recorded albums, but it is the success of her students that gives her the greatest satisfaction. Ilona, who is by day a kindergarten teacher, invests a lot of her time in educating the next generation about their cultural heritage, teaching children Csángó songs, dances and folk stories.

István Görgényi

István Görgényi is the developer of the Hunting Territory® model and method of group dynamics. It is a culmination of his professional experience as business consultant, family and group therapist, coaching an Olympic gold medalist water polo team and being a world champion water polo player himself. He founded the Hunting Territory® Institute in Sydney in 2005 and Hunting Territory® Ltd. Hungary in 2009 providing business and sport consultation in group dynamics, executive coaching and conducting research in further development of his method. István regularly lectures at universities, international conferences, management and coaching training courses in Australia, Albania and Hungary. Hunting Territory® clients include Vodafone, Sanofi Aventis, National Australia Bank, Colliers, Allianz, Melbourne Business School, KPMG BME Academy, Australian Institute of Sport, UK Sport, Football Federation Australia, the Hungarian Football Association, and Ferencváros Football Club.

Pál Honti

Pál Honti is a challenge deliverer, a 24/7 information consumer, who believes that gaming is time well spent, hence his latest high score of 16.534.430 in Angry Birds, which he hopes to improve. He took part in the development of Shaker, a software for creating presentations online, which received the Flashforward Technical Merit in New York in 2003. He spent the following years organising Coedu e-curriculum developing competitions with the participation of thousands of children. These were followed by the 100% edutainment ProfessorX contests, where thousands of happy children played educational games. UpCity, the first Hungarian alternate reality game attracted more than ten thousand players. In 2007 he received the European Seal of E-excellence. In the NextWork competition, Pál convinced almost 100 companies that building robots is fun, but it’s even more fun to help schools get robot building kits. Most recently he is focusing on developing Mindroom, a Hungarian speech recognition software.

Antal Kelle

Antal Kelle examines the human reactions to and reflections changes through the medium of art. His works of art cannot be understood as only visual objects, they also have philosophical messages. Analogies can be suspected in the periodic circle of curiosity-cognition-alternation (or acceptance), which is essential for our everyday survival. He spent a year and a half in India on a fellowship studying the changing needs of city-dwellers and the possibilities of art and design in the 21st century. Antal lectures at universities around the world and his works have been exhibited from London to Turin and Yerevan to Dessau’s Bauhaus. In Hungary he had solo exhibitions, amongst others, at the Museum of Applied Arts, Museum of Fine Arts and the Hungarian National Gallery.

Francoise Chatelin

Françoise Chatelin is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Toulouse 1 Capitole and head of the Qualitative Computing group at the Centre Européen de Recherche et de Formulation Avancée en Calcul Scientifique (Cerfacs) in Toulouse, France. Her expertise range from spectral theory for linear operations in Banach spaces to finite precision computation of very large eigenproblems. She has supervised 31 PhD students and authored four books (two with SIAM). Before moving to Toulouse, Prof. Chatelin taught at the Universities Grenoble 2 Pierre Mendès, and Paris 9 Dauphine, France and has been a visiting scholar at Berkeley, Stanford and IBM (San Jose and Yorktown Heights). Between 1984 and 1993 she was a scientific manager in industry in charge of intensive computing (at IBM France and Thales).

Ágoston Eiben

Ágoston Eiben is one of the European early birds of Evolutionary Computing. He first became interested in EC after reading a Stanislaw Lem novel as a teenager, since then has became one of Europe’s leading EC researchers. Eiben is Head of the Computational Intelligence Group at the Computer Science Department at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He has published over 100 research papers and co-authored the first comprehensive introductory book on evolutionary computing, Introduction to Evolutionary Computing. He has been organizing committee member of practically all major international evolutionary conferences. He is editorial board member of five international journals and series editor for Springer’s book series on Natural Computing. A.E. Eiben’s principal research themes include parameter adaptation and control, including self-optimizing features; distributed evolution in Artificial Life, swarm robotics, adaptive multi-agent systems and their relationship with p2p and autonomic computing systems.

Gábor Birkás

Gábor Birkás architect. Through his work, Gábor seeks to synthesize Design, Energy and Nature (DEN) in architecture. Over the past ten years he has worked in Hungary, Japan and Montenegro, creating an innovative and visionary architectural concept with a unique approach to thinking about energy. Pooling his experience in the design, construction and operation of environmentally balanced structures, he has created an entirely new architectural methodology for living directly together with Nature - the result of which is a new development now underway in Canada. The underlying purpose of Gábor's architecture is to create a new architectural way of thinking, eschewing the use of unnecessarily complicated apparatus or machinery. The result is art, based on the laws and rules of the natural environment, which at the same time is a space for living and working.

Andrew Keen

Andrew Keen is an entrepreneur and author. He is particularly known for his view that the Internet and Web 2.0 may be debasing culture. Keen is especially concerned that the Internet undermines the authority of learned experts. In 2006 in an essay in The Weekly Standard, Keen wrote that Web 2.0 is a "grand utopian movement" similar to "communist society" as described by Karl Marx. He describes Free Culture proponent Lawrence Lessig as an "intellectual property communist". His book The Cult of the Amateur, is critical of free, user-based Web sites such as Wikipedia that attempt to provide information. Keen discusses often-overlooked problems with participatory technology and describes the Internet as a mirror of our culture. "We see irreverence, and vitality, and excitement. We see a youthfulness. But we also see, I think, many of the worst developments in modern cultural life, and, in particular, I think we see what I call digital narcissism, this embrace of the self."

Balázs Alpár

Balázs Alpár works as a music composer, sound designer, music trainer and producer. He finished his studies at the Composition Department of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. Later he continued his studies in the fields of media composing and jazz in Vienna, where he is currently writing his PhD thesis about genre alloying. Besides music, the aim of his activities is to urge communication and cooperation between widely understood genres and mentalities. His bands are the chamber symphonic Fugato Orchestra and Fele Királyság, a band which mixes jazz-rock with music comedy. With the internationally successful *Fugato Orchestra*, he organized a crossover competition in 2010, which contributed to creating pieces mixing the characteristics of improvized jazz with classical music. He regularly composes soundtracks for movies, advertisements and theater pieces. He created the musical design of the Palace of Arts in Budapest. Since 2009 he is the art director of the workshop Kontra Műhely, which aims to inspire the collaboration of young artists and sociologists.

Organizing team


Budapest, Hungary