x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Language

This event occurred on
February 20, 2015
4:00pm - 9:30pm MST
(UTC -7hrs)
Missoula, Montana
United States

We focus on the theme of language, exploring the diverse fields of human endeavor. Language shapes our conscious thought and creative expression; it is a declaration of identity and is unique to professional discourse. It can be lost, invented or revitalized. It is a flexible medium that adapts and changes through use. This TEDxUMontana will examine our interactions with language from various aspects including preservation of native language and language as the stimulus for scientific and artistic advancement.

Masquer Theater, PARTV
University of Montana
32 Campus drive, Masquer Theater- PARTV
Missoula, Montana, 59812
United States
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Amy Martin

Amy Martin is an audio producer, writer and musician. She's currently developing a podcast about youth and nature in America called Learning Their Place, which documents how the next generation is responding to massive environmental change. Her hope is that listening to their voices will help wake us up to the urgency of our situation and inspire us to take positive action.

Andy Smetanka

Two-time UM graduate Andy Smetanka has lived in Montana, Minnesota, Finland and Sweden for 43 years. He has always been interested in learning new languages, particularly those of northern Europe. He has been making Super 8 movies and music videos since 2001; recent clients/collaborators include Isabella Rossellini, Guy Maddin and Pearl Jam. He lives in Missoula with his wife and three kids.

April Charlo

April is the Executive Director of Nkwusum Language Institute on the Salish, Kootenai, Flathead Indian Reservation. She teaches indigenous languages and has learned how cultural differences have evolved.

Catherine Courtenaye

Catherine Courtenaye was born in Madrid, Spain and grew up around the world as the daughter of a diplomat. She earned an MFA in Painting from the University of Iowa, and lives in Bozeman, Montana. She has had numerous solo exhibitions nationally, and her work is included in the permanent collections of Boise Art Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, and the Oakland Museum of California. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Award.

Clay Scott

Clay Scott is an Emmy Award winning radio producer and documentarian, based in Helena, Montana. He spent many years as a foreign correspondent for ABC News and Monitor Radio, covering wars, conflicts and disasters throughout the Balkans, the Middle East, Russia, and Africa. He studied folklore, anthropology, and Arabic at the University of California at Berkeley, receiving a Fulbright to Damascus, Syria, for anthropological and ethno-linguistic research.

Clint Walker

Clint Walker received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. An Associate Professor of Russian at the University of Montana, he teaches courses in language, literature and cinema. His research interests include 19th century Russian prose and how Moscow is reflected as a cultural space in 20th century literature and film.

Darko Butorac

Darko Butorac is establishing himself as one of the world’s most exciting young conductors. He currently serves as the Music Director of both the Tallahassee and Missoula Symphony Orchestras in the United States, and is the Principal Conductor of the Fidenza Opera Festival in Italy. Recent notable concerts include collaborations with philharmonic orchestras in Germany, Poland and Estonia, and a debut at the Vienna Konzerthaus with the Slovenian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Erin Johnson

Erin Johnson is a high school senior and three time state AA Speech and Debate champion. She has a deep passion for Arabic language and culture which she has been studying for the past four years. She has studied under instructors from the Middle East and North Africa, which piqued her interest in Modern Standard Arabic's role in increasing communication between people from wildly different cultures. She hopes to add to her experience through college and studies abroad.

John Engen

John Engen is in his third term as the 50th mayor of his hometown of Missoula, Montana. He often credits his University of Montana journalism degree and his work as a newspaper journalist with teaching him everything he needed to know to be successful in a second career in politics and public life. He is a writer, a humanitarian, an animal lover, a cook, a problem-solver, a champion of the middle class, a businessperson, and completely dedicated to service to his hometown and the people in it.

Kate Davis

Kate Davis has been providing educational programs to schools and the public with live birds of prey from Raptors of the Rockies, for 27 years. She keeps 18 non-releasable and falconry birds, from a Pygmy-Owl to Golden Eagles at the facility on the Bitterroot River. She has written and illustrated five books on raptors, including winner of the National Outdoor Book Award in 2011. Her latest book is called American Kestrel: Pint-Sized Predator.

Leora Bar-el

Leora Bar-el is interested in linguistic properties of indigenous languages of North America and received a PhD in Linguistics from the University of British Columbia. During her dissertation, she developed a love of Salish languages and had the privilege of working with speakers of Skwxwú7mesh (aka Squamish). Recently, she has begun to examine varieties of English spoken in Montana. She is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Montana. She In 2012 she was awarded the Helen and Winston Cox Educational Excellence Award. An avid weaver and city cyclist, she loves public radio, live theatre, and music of all sorts.

Lizzi Juda

Lizzi has more than 25 years experience teaching improvisational movement classes and expressive arts groups. In 1992, Lizzi founded Wild Ground Learning Center, a creative and healing arts center. She is also founder of The Hive Missoula, a center for healthy, creative and sustainable living. A mother, massage therapist, and musician, Lizzi is passionate about providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to play, move, and connect deeply with themselves and their creative spark.

Lulu Delphine

Lulu Delphine’s journey of over 20 years facilitating groups of all ages and abilities in the expressive arts, using movement and creativity as a means to wellness, has been an ever-­evolving adventure.

Matthew Marsolek

Matthew Marsolek has been at the forefront of the North American hand drumming movement since the 1990s. He’s studied West African and East Indian music for over two decades and is also an accomplished guitarist, vocalist, and composer. Along with two solo projects, he’s released recordings with Drum Brothers and Mandir. Matthew shares his passion for drumming and rhythm through school residencies, clinics, community workshops, rhythm circles, and team-building events.

Paulo Zagalo-Melo

Paulo Zagalo-Melo is Associate Provost for Global Century Education and Director of International Programs at the University of Montana where is also Associate Professor of Educational Leadership. His career in international education spans over twenty years. Prior to moving to Montana, he was Director for Science, Technology and Innovation at the Luso-American Foundation, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in Portugal and a member of the Executive Committee of Fulbright Directors from Europe and Israel. He also served as EU Project Coordinator for the ATLANTIS exchange program, and was co-founder of Future Citizenship – an online research network in citizenship studies. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Catholic University of Portugal, and a Masters degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. He was a visiting scholar in Political Science at the University of Colorado – Boulder, and a visiting professor at the Catholic University of Portugal.

Sheryl Noethe

Sheryl Noethe is the founder of the Missoula Writing Collaborative and served as Montana Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013. She has received a numerous awards including National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Her collections include Grey Dog Big Sky which won the High Plains Award for poetry, The Descent of Heaven Over the Lake and Ghost Openings which won the William Stafford Prize for Poetry. She is currently poetry editor for High Desert Journal.

Susan Joy Hassol

Susan Joy Hassol is a climate change communicator, analyst, and author who’s been making climate science accessible for 25 years. Director of Climate Communication, she helps scientists communicate more effectively and provides information to policymakers, journalists, and others. She has authored and edited numerous reports, written an HBO documentary, and appeared on national media. She has been honored by scientific societies for her exceptional contributions to communication of climate science.

Tarun Gupta

Tarun grew up in a small rural town in northern India. He is fascinated with the mechanics of the natural world and the diversity of forms, shapes and behaviors of its inhabitants. He is currently a PhD candidate in Neuroscience in the Center for Structural and Functional Neuroscience at UM where he investigates epigenetic and neural correlates of complex behaviors."

Organizing team


  • Brandon Reintjes
    Co-Organizer, Speaker Curation
  • Jason Gutzmer
    Production Director
  • Amy Kinch
    Speaker Coordination
  • Gordy Pace
  • Joe Allred
    Media coordinator