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TED Talks at Barry

By Jeanelle Jacobs

Spreading ideas through inspiring, 18 minutes or less talks is the goal of the nonprofit organization TED and this popular speaking symposium is coming to Barry on Feb. 20.

Derived from TED, independently run TEDx was created with the overall mission to research, discover and spread ideas but organized by individuals who seek to bring the spirit of TED to local communities and spark interesting conversations.

TEDx events include live speakers and recorded TED Talks, done under a license granted by TED. More than 3,000 TEDx events are held annually.

Event stage set up *Photo by Jimmy Muniz*

TEDx events have been held at many different schools around the world, including University of Miami, Florida International University, New York University, and University of California, Santa Barbara. As of Spring 2020, Barry University has officially been added to that list.

The theme of this student-led event is “Designing Our Future,” hoping to enrich upcoming generations for the betterment of their future.

Victor Zamora, senior television and digital media major, is helping produce the TEDx event. Zamora believes this event will boost Barry’s popularity.

“It's beneficial more so for future students and having an event such as this will be even more beneficial for the university,” said Zamora.

Mariely Valentin-Llopis, visiting assistant professor of communications and member of the speakers committee for the TEDx event, believes the theme of the event correlates to Barry’s core commitments. Llopis states that faculty members work with the student organizers to provide support in the planning process.

“The faculty provides guidance to keep the core commitments aligned with the event,” said Llopis. “The theme means ideas that are about a transformative future, an inclusive future, a sustainable future.”

Other faculty members involved are Dr. Vicente Berdayes, communication department chair, Dale Hartz, assistant professor of management, John Musulin, media center manager, and Vladimir Lescouflair, studio lab supervisor.

The curator of the TEDx event, finance senior Turki Alharbi, volunteered with TEDx in the past and decided to bring it to Barry University. He believes this is a learning opportunity for all.

Bringing it to Barry, however, was easier said than done.

Some of the struggles Alharbi faced were assembling a team, abiding by the budget and determining the right time to host the event. According to Alharbi, the event has been in the works for over a year, but there is a lengthy process to obtain a license, including a thorough event plan.

Planning is exactly what Alharbi based the theme on, believing that millennials live in a fast-changing environment, where they must plan for a future that is just around the corner.

“I believe we are the generation of the future and ‘Designing Our Future’ is the right theme for the event,” said Alharbi.

The event’s speakers include: Keenan Harrell, community relations coordinator at Baltimore Ravens; Dr. Philip Stoddard, biology professor at FIU; Nathan Sykes, CEO of marketing company Howdy Interactive; Tracy Litt, creator of “Choice Work,” a methodology designed to improve happiness, prosperity and fulfillment; Dr. Anita Závodská, associate professor of environmental sciences at Barry; and Juan Francisco Hidalgo, industrial engineer from Chile.

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