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TEDxSendai - Engaging Differently

Maya Brahmam's picture

TEDxSendai allowed us to engage differently with a broader public around a key development topic. We thought the TEDx approach was worth exploring for several reasons:

  • The TEDx platform – licensed by the TED Conference – has great presence and a great community of people who are interested in new ideas.
  • The World Bank’s own move to open data, knowledge and solutions aligned well with the “ideas worth spreading” philosophy of TED events.
  • TEDx’s multidisciplinary approach allowed us to engage with different voices and more creatively with a broader audience.

At TEDxSendai, TEDTalks, video and live speakers combined to create deep discussion and connection to a live and online audience. TED provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

TEDxSendai brought together a special group of thinkers and doers to share their ideas of human ingenuity, enterprise, compassion, agency and history. The audience experienced disaster, its aftermath and the energy of resilience and renewal. After a presentation from an eyewitness and survivor of two disasters, the two main sessions created the narrative arc: Cherry Blossom showed human resilience in the aftermath of disaster and the Bouncing Ball demonstrated how systems and communities can build resilience.

It was a wonderful exercise in partnership: We had a great team from the World Bank in Washington and Tokyo, support from partners like the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery and the Ministry of Finance Japan, and over 20 volunteers from local TEDx events – TEDxTokyo, TEDxTohoku, and TEDxKyoto. We had guidance and advice from a number of TEDx organizers, most notably TEDxTokyo. The community we came to know was an amazing experience.

TEDxSendai exceeded expectations for a weekday early-morning event in Japan, with 240 people in our live audience, and thousands online and on social media.  Our video archive is still active. I think the TEDx approach is promising for global public engagement.

Image: TEDxSendai banner

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