The second TEDxHKUST recently concluded; it brought together a diverse range of speakers who offered plenty of inspiration and food for thought.
TED (technology, entertainment and design) is devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading". The TEDx program is a set of independent global conferences intended to stimulate dialogue at the local level. Avni Jain, a civil engineering undergraduate, was the driving force behind the first TEDx event to take place at HKUST, while Ankita Roy, a marketing undergraduate, has been involved in both conferences, the second of which took place in March.
Why did you get involved with TED?
Avni Jain: Since high school, TED.com had always been the place for me to go when I needed a dose of inspiration. And when I heard about TEDx, where one can get the taste of a live TED conference in one's own community, I was immediately drawn to the idea of having it at HKUST.
Ankita Roy: There are so many amazing people with inspiring ideas within Hong Kong. Seeing a great TED Talk online and seeing a great talk in person where the speakers live in the same city as you is different – it's more relevant.
Why is it important for HKUST students & alumni to become involved with TED?
Avni Jain: Universities are unique agents of change and I believe such events can flex your brain muscle and drive you to realize your passion and take initiatives.
As a team leader, how did you go about setting up the first conference?
Avni Jain: First, I obtained a license. Next, I managed to find 12 passionate organizing committee members and also readied the proposal for President's 1-HKUST Student Life Award, as this was our best shot at sponsorship. Upon winning the award, President Professor Tony Chan was generous enough to host a formal luncheon for all speakers, whom we found solely through online research. A professional designer volunteered to create our marketing materials and we also got customized souvenirs manufactured on the Mainland. Vice-President Dr Eden Woon provided indispensible support through the course of organizing the event and I'm very grateful to him for his genuine enthusiasm.
At the conclusion of the first conference, what did you feel it had achieved?
Avni Jain: The event rolled out pretty well and there was a tremendous response from everyone who attended. I heard that some students even took up internships with speakers in order to learn more about their work and research.
How did the second conference evolve from the first?
Ankita Roy: We focused more on a theme. The theme was "outliers" and we tried to find speakers who had in some way not lived the average life. We chose this primarily because university students have to make a lot of decisions about how they are going to live their lives and the aim was to show them that it is completely fine to opt for a less conventional path and still be happy and successful.
Know more about TED: www.ted.com
Videos of TEDx 2013 are available on YouTube: search for TEDxHKUST