x = independently organized TED event

Theme: The Four elements - Air, Fire, Water, Earth

This event occurred on
June 13, 2013
9:00am - 6:00pm EEST
(UTC +3hrs)
Riga, RIX

It is common belief that all matter is based on four elements – Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. All together or one at a time, they perform vital tasks in nature and in our very own bodies and minds. And we seek for their help whenever we want to bring about our ideas and reach big goals, choosing our closest and most powerful elements.

In the beginning, there is an idea – what if...? A thought which comes to life the instant it is released, breathing and growing on its own. There is no progress without an idea, same way as there is no life without air. Give in to the flight of thought!

The flames of fire are always heading upwards just like the zeal that drives us towards the fulfilment of our boldest dreams. When our faith is blazing and all doubts have vanished, there is no mountain too high for us. Burn for the idea!

Fast and determined is the flow of the brook towards the river. Calm and steady are the currents that carry the river into the eternal waters of the ocean. Only through movement one can evolve, and only in persistence there is true success. Stop at nothing!

„You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.” Our traditions along with the code of existence encrypted in our every cell wil be the essential stepping stones in our way towards a new goal . Gather strength from your roots!

Splendid Palace
Elizabetes iela 61
Riga, RIX
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Vaira Vīķe - Freiberga

Vaira Vīķe Freiberga is the ex-president of Latvia and the researcher of Latvian identity and culture.

Pauls Raudseps

Pauls Raudseps is a journalist with 20 year experience and deep knowledge about economic processes in Latvia and the world. Mr. Raudseps was born in the United States. He came to Riga in 1990 to work for the Latvian Popular Front (Latvijas Tautas Fronte). In 1991 Mr. Raudseps took part in founding “Diena”, which for many years was Latvia’s leading newspaper. He worked there as managing editor and editorial page editor. In 2009 he left “Diena” to help found the weekly news magazine “Ir”, where he works as a commentator and is also chairman of its advisory board. Mr. Raudseps has a B.A. from Harvard University and a M.A. from Indiana University in history.

Zaiga un Māris Gaiļi

A couple who doesn’t need much introductions. Zaiga is a simple architect who has implemented the renovation of various architecture ensembles — The Bergs Bazaar and Hotel Bergs, the Ķīpsala collection of wooden houses, The Gypsum Factory residences, Rumene Manor, the Easter Island vacation home in Kaltene, and the newly built Žanis Lipke Memorial. In everyday life, Zaiga strives for a balanced lifestyle with morning swims in Daugava and cycling as usual transportation. Māris is former State Secretary of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, the minister of reforms, Prime Minister, The Minister of Defense, The Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia, founder of International forum called Arsenāls. He is an avid yacht sailor and has sailed around the world on his yacht Milda.

Una Riekstiņa

Una Riekstiņa got her PhD at Karolinska Institutet, in Stockholm. Currently is Asoc. Professor and leading researcher at The Faculty of Medicine of University of Latvia. Coauthor of 17 international research articles and 12 local research and popular science articles. L’Oréal Latvia For Women in Science 2010 grant recipient.

Ernest Alexander Sabine

Ernest represents the “Ernest Alexander” brand, and is known as one of USA’s best young menswear designers. Ernest’s designed bags are used by celebrities, and can be bought in USA, China, Japan, UK and Canada. Turns out, the source of Ernest’s inspiration is his Latvian grandmother, who used to sew and has planted the love for the handicraft in her grandson. Ernest speaks Latvian, as he has learned it in childhood at Boston Latvian School.

DJ Monsta

The cooperation of Biruta Ozoliņa and DJ Monsta started back in 2010, but more serious collaboration of the musicians kicked off in early 2012. Biruta’s innovative findings in folk music, coupled with Monsta’s DJ rhythms, create the unique and rich sound – the new concert format, where traditional music unites with with modern technologies to get a fresh breath.

Vita Matiss

Vita Matiss is an essayist, public intellectual, political analyst, teacher, and expert on international affairs with a doctorate in political science from the University of Geneva-IUHEI in Switzerland. She is the former Founding Executive Director of the Soros Foundation – Latvia. A fervent advocate for the true values of democracy, for the import of the individual,, she is highly respected for her independent commentary on the political and cultural issues that continue to impede Latvia’s democratic development.

Tālis Juhna

Tālis is a Professor of Water Technology and Vice-Rector for Research at Riga Technical University. He is among the Top 10 Latvian researchers by “Ir” magazine. Mr. Juhna’s research about pathogenic microorganisms which can not be detected with cultivation methods, but still are present alive in mains drinking water supplies, were one of the most read in the journals of American Society for Microbiology.

Jan-Willem van den Bosch

Theater director Jan-Willem van den Bosch grew up near the hometown of a superb artist Hieronymous Bosch. After leaving the Netherlands in 1992, Jan studied drama in the UK. Jan has forged a quite international career – by working in Bosnia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, USA, Germany and Slovenia. He also directed plays in Latvia’s Dailes Theater: “The Pillowman” (2005), “Amadeus” (2011), “Gone with the Wind” (2013).

Viesturs Celmiņš

Viesturs Celmiņš is a social anthropologist, interested in social change and its impact on the quality of life in cities. He has co-authored Latvia’s sustainable development strategy until 2030 and worked with the British Council Latvia on urban crises, regeneration and activism. Recently he spent 15 months in Tatarstan, Russia, researching the relationship between urban development, heritage and imagination. Currently, Viesturs is working on his PhD dissertation at the University of Cambridge.

Jānis Skutelis

Jānis Skutelis is the pioneer of the stand-up comedy movement in Latvia and the founder of Karaliskais Improvizācijas Teātris (Royal Improvisation Theatre).


Orbita (Orbit, rus.) is a creative collective of Russian poets and artists whose works are dedicated to dialogue between various creative genres (music, video, etc.) and cultures. The collective came into being in Riga, the Latvian capital, in 1999. Since that time Orbita has published a number of eponymously titled almanacs in which literary works appear side by side with works of visual art (photography, graphic work, painting). Members of the group include Sergejs Timofejevs, Artūrs Punte, Semjons Haņins, Vladimirs Svetlovs and Andrejs Eigus.

Andris Ambainis

Andris is a computer scientist active in the fields of quantum information theory and quantum computing. His valuable scientific input into quantum computer theory makes him one of the world’s leading scientists in this field. Andris has created various popular computing methods for quantum computers, including a method to show that some computing problems are hard to solve even with a quantum computer. The first, and to this day the only Latvian scientist to receive a grant from the European Research Council – an organisation that supports Europe’s best scientists.

Ilze Aizsilniece

Ilze Aizsilniece is M. Sc. in Health Science and Health Systems Management. She holds degrees from the University of London and School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Ms. Aizsilniece, is also a family doctor, and an expert of the World Health Organization, Chairperson of the Board of NGO “Veselības projekti Latvijai”. She is interested in studying the impact of ecology on people’s health and the role of traditional and modern healthcare in 21st century.

Aldis Kalniņš

For more than five years, Mr. Kalniņš has been working in a new field of interest, devoting much of his time to studying the questions and problems related to the education and learning efficiency of children and youth. Publishing a children’s book called “Zili brīnumi” and founding a scientific center with the same name is only a part of his activities aimed at improving the learning and cognitive skills of children, an area where Aldis sees enormous opportunities to stimulate the formation of a more educated and healthy society.

Arnis Rītups

Arnis Rītups holds PhD in philosophy, he specializes in Aristotle and his Greek commentators. He is also a Latvian translator of Descartes’ “Meditations on the First Philosophy”, lecturer at SSE Riga and Latvian Academy of Fine arts, publisher of an intellectual magazine “Rīgas Laiks” and conversation partner of many interesting people around the world. Recently Arnis is engaged in a series of interviews with world’s most interesting scientists. Accordingly, he will speak about “Importance of Ignorance”.

Inese Īris Liepiņa

Inese Īris Liepiņa is an artist/designer who has lived in two different cultural worlds. As a Latvian growing up in the United States, Inese studied fine art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has worked as a knit wear, children’s wear, and textile designer in Chicago and San Francisco. Inese now lives in Rīga, Latvia and works from Latvia as a designer – marketing her designs and products globally. She is the TEDxRiga Story Hunt winner.


Blondblackblonde are from NYC, Belgium and Latvia and come from an opera and jazz background but love to make their own kind of Rock & LOL with lots of lion heart sincerity and a good time in their eyes.

Aigars Apinis

Aigars Apinis is a three-time Paralympic champion in discus throw and shot put. He also holds world records in his category and is the most titled Latvian Paralympic athlete. In 2012, Aigars won the European Person of the Year in Latvia award.

Zane Čulkstēna

Zane Čulkstēna is management and marketing consultant who founded contemporary arts center kim? known for its cutting edge exhibitions and international collaborations. Zane holds degrees from Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Sussex University and Columbia University in the City of New York. As a true believer in civic communities, Zane argues that everyone should take an active role in at least one non-governmental organization.

Baiba A. Rubesa

Baiba’s life long guiding star is putting Latvia and Latvians in a global context. She is an experienced and inspiring manager and communicator with a range of business experience from oil and gas, retail, automotive and telecommunications. For the past 17 years she has worked in one of the world’s Top 10 oil and gas companies, Statoil ASA: developing the retail chain in the Baltic, introducing retail products and services which are still amongst the leading in the region and finally managing issues such as good governance, transparency, human rights and stakeholder engagement in the Caspian region and finally globally as VP, Corporate Social Responsibility delivering Statoil’s Annual Sustainability Report. She has just completed serving a term as Board Member of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Mārtiņš Sirmais

Mārtiņš is a famous chef cook, connoisseur of the world’s flavors, owner of restaurants and the host of food shows on local TV. In Latvia he is known as the chef with a special and one-of-a-kind cooking style, who not just likes to cook, but also to talk about food and nutrition.

Organizing team


Riga, Latvia


Riga, Latvia
  • Dāvis Plotnieks
    Chief program director
  • Inga Ulmane
    Program director
  • Juris Ulmanis
    Program director
  • Andris Rubīns
    Creative director
  • Evija Ansonska
    Communication director
  • Mārtiņš Ķibers
    Event producer
  • Oļegs Ņikitins
    Event technical director
  • Aleksandrs Borovenskis
    Web and social media director
  • Dmitrijs Pavlovs (Zagga)
  • Toms Norde
  • Laima Melkina
  • Pēteris Krilovs
    Speech and story consultant
  • Denise Wirth
    English and presentation consultant
  • Sandra Slokenberga
    English and presentation consultant
  • Vanda Daukste
    English and presentation consultant