This April, young people will come together for Manitoba’s first ever TEDxYouth conference.
TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design), a non-profit organization devoted to "Ideas worth spreading", started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago and has grown into world-wide initiative which includes an annual TED conference, and daily TEDTalks posted on TED.com.
TEDx events are independently organized, and offer individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events.
Matt Henderson, a social studies teacher at St. Johns-Ravenscourt School, spoke at a TEDx Manitoba event last year, and had the idea to create a similar event geared specifically towards youth.
He obtained a TEDxYouth license from TED and got a group of students and teachers together to plan TEDxYouth@FortGarry.
The event will be held on April 17 at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People at The Forks.
While organizers originally wanted to call the event TEDxYouth@Manitoba, TED required the name to be focused on a specific spot in the province, Henderson said.
Organizers did not want to limit the event to just youth from Winnipeg, thus not calling it TEDxYouth@Winnipeg. Because the event is being held at The Forks, and the name TEDxYouth@TheForks had already been taken, they decided to call it TEDxYouth@FortGarry, a name Henderson says fits the nature of the event.
"It’s happening at The Forks where Fort Garry used to be and people have been coming for years to get together and solve problems," the Wildwood resident said.
Though the event is still months away, organizers are currently looking for youth speakers and participants for the event, which has a theme of "sharing space, rising to challenges".
"We’re looking for kids who are bringing their communities together to solve problems," Henderson said, adding Manitobans are encouraged to nominate inspiring speakers.
Speakers already on the docket include Winnipeg drumming sensation Sean Quigley, Ladybug Foundation founder Hannah Taylor, and Muuxi Adam, a Somalian refugee. It will be hosted by Ace Burpee from 103.1 Virgin Radio, and Susan Krepart from 99.1 Fresh FM.
As first-time TEDx events are limited to a 100-person audience, organizers are also currently accepting applications from students who wish to attend. They are looking for students between the ages of 14-19.
Henderson said the event’s audience committee will go through applications to ensure different parts of the province, as well as different cultures and languages are represented.
"All 100 people there will have taken the time to really think about why they want to be there," Henderson said.
The event will be interactive, and audience members will be encouraged to chat with speakers during breaks, as well as blog and tweet throughout the day.
"It’s about adding to the knowledge (the speakers) have created as opposed to just listening to people tell (audience members) to do stuff," Henderson said.
For more information, to apply to be an audience member, or to nominate a speaker, go to tedxyouthfortgarry.ca.