IFA, Europe’s largest consumer electronics show, drew in crowds to its maze of gadgets and displays at Messe Berlin on Saturday. However, on that day, I skipped its winding halls and moved towards another eagerly anticipated event taking place in its own area at IFA. TEDxBerlin was celebrating its fifth anniversary with a diverse program of 18 speakers and two performers.
The theme of this year’s TEDxBerlin was “The Next Step”, where organizer and host Stephan Balzer seemed intent on giving the audience an idea on how they can contribute to innovation and progress beyond the event itself. Each speaker had an allotted time of 18 minutes to present their stories, ideas and call to action.
TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together around TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading”. On Saturday, attendees also had the opportunity to participate in the TEDxChange Pilot Program, a session of talks on health and development hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Berlin is one of twelve cities to take part.
For more on the individual talks at TEDxBerlin, check out the pictures and their descriptions below:
Molly DeWolf Swenson believes that activism and journalism go together. She is the COO of RYOT.org, the first breaking news site that links every story to an action. To give you a short taste, if you click on a RYOT Ebola report, you can “take action” and support non-profit relief organization Operation Blessing. Even its entertainment section urges you to act. A drug bust involving Paris Hilton prompts you to support drug abuse prevention.
In her talk, Swenson responded to critics who are skeptical on whether or not RYOT can still be considered journalism. She believes RYOT is significant as it gets viewers involved in news and quotes German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer by saying, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil…”
Azim Fakhri uses art as “a voice of unsaid words” in Afghanistan. Fakhri’s designs depict his views on war, peace, women and education. In Afghanistan, he gave cameras to street kids and allowed them to document their lives through pictures. He shared some of the collected images with the audience and linked it back to his own history growing up a war-torn country. As a voice for positive change in his community, Fakhri conveys to others his belief in art, not bullets.
David Marx is the founder of Kyl21, a startup that makes popsicles – though that is hardly where the story ends. Marx pivoted his career to focus on solving the problem of unhealthy, unattractive ice cream popsicles. After five years in Berlin’s food lab, The Science Kitchen, Marx is continually improving his product that now looks (and tastes) like the result of relentless recipe testing and meticulous art. According to Kyl21’s founder, “it was about time for a healthy and beautiful ice cream.” Marx brought along a small number of popsicles to give to the audience, which had many rushing from their seats to claim one after his talk.
Alice Phoebe Lou has a voice that a collection of Berliners have heard before. She performs at the bustling Warschauer Strasse evenings and also on Sundays at Mauerpark. Lou is a passionate street musician originally from South Africa. She played three songs to help the audience decompress from a stimulating day, while also sharing some of her own story. She is often asked by her audience on why she is does not sign with a record label. Lou says that she views many aspects of pop culture as superficial and that she loves street performing.
Images Credit: TEDxBerlin