In July, the second TEDxKalamata event took over the ancient ekklesiasterion (assembly hall) in Messene, Greece, becoming the first TEDx event held at an archaeological site. The ekklesiasterion of Messene is an outdoor theater thought to have been used for political assemblies and theatrical and musical performances as early as 369 B.C. — the beautiful place pictured above.

Under the theme, “Brave New World,” 18 speakers and 50 volunteers came together to present a vision for a Greece and Kalamata of the future. Says organizers, “The world is changing and it is a demanding necessity to face those changes, to meet the people who drive them and discuss on how opportunities can be created for a city and a society. Academics, entrepreneurs, artists and visionaries [offer] ways to integrate best practices and innovative ideas in a brave new city.”

For more information about TEDxKalamata, visit their website.

(Photos via TEDxKalamata, Hang Massive, and EMEA)

A TEDx’er at TEDGlobal: TEDxThessaloniki’s Katerina Biliouri reports from TEDGlobal

Above, A slideshow of images shot at TEDGlobal 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland by TED photographers James Duncan Davidson, Ryan Lash and Bret Hartman.

Below, Katerina’s thoughts from the conference:

One extra duffel bag, seven books from speakers, numerous new contacts and tons of new ideas: that was my “overload” while checking in at the airport on my way back from TEDGlobal 2013. Luckily, airlines haven’t come up with any “excess ideas” fee. Or at least, not yet.

“Think Again” was definitely a successful and all-encompassing theme for such an event. In other words—rethink, reconsider and view through different eyes. Each speaker invited us to cleanse assumptions, an ongoing thinking process that spilled into conversations over lunch and drinks. Even two weeks after the conference, I find myself reading more on the people and ideas presented at TEDGlobal, following organizations and trends from the conference on twitter, and sharing the experience from the most inspirational talks with friends and family. I find myself thinking again, on repeat.

Going through my notes, scribbled almost next to each speaker was the word “choice.” In the closing of her talk on the problem of choice, Renata Salecl (read about her talk) urged us to open up the image of an idealized future; a future in which we do not make personal choices linked to passive denial, but rather choices based on the kind of society we want to live in. That was exactly the case with most speakers, whose choices deviated from the standard path and aimed at a better world.

Joseph Kim (watch his talk) chose hope and escaped from North Korea, while Manal al-Sharif (watch her talk) chose to advocate for women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia. While tutoring in science and math, Uri Alon (read about his talk) challenged us to ask “yes and?” to find an alternate path to a conclusion, while Arthur Benjamin (read about his talk) chose to see the magic in mathematics. In the world of art, Tania Bruguera (read about her talk) decided to become an “artivist” and Alexa Meade (read about her talk) chose to look at the shadows in a different way, challenging our understanding of dimensions. Salvatore Iaconesi (read about his talk) saw his own brain cancer as an opportunity for a bold open-source project and Kelly McGonigal (read about her talk) spoke about how stress is good for us, if we choose to embrace it.

On the notion of motherland, Holly Morris (read about her talk) told the story of the “babushkas of Chernobyl”, who chose to return to their homeland, despite being one of the most contaminated lands on earth. A reality that embodies Pico Iyer’s (read about his talk) belief that home is not the place where you sleep, but where you stand and become yourself. Bernie Krause (read about his talk) spoke about recording endangered species and Gavin Pretor-Pinney (read up on his talk) about appreciating the clouds, both choosing to experience nature through different ears and eyes. Hetain Patel (read about his talk) and Sonia Shah (read about her talk) both challenged the issue of “otherness”; the first through his performance that questioned identity and the latter by viewing malaria through the eyes of those affected and not the those who wish to cure them. Last but not least, Gregoire Courtine (read about his talk) and his team chose to dream the “personalized neuroprosthetics” applied to humans, opening up a new world of possibilities in spinal cord recovery.

The more time goes by, the more these ideas become interconnected, processed and grouped, based either on similar or conflicting theories. Ideas spinning in my head that — along with all the books tucked in that extra duffel bag — will accompany at least an entire summertime. So yes. If you thought that TEDGlobal lasted for a week, then “Think Again.”

By Katerina Biliouri

This post is crossposted from the TED Blog, where you can read tons of great stories about ideas worth spreading.

At TEDxSeattle this year, excited TEDx’ers took over the Seattle Children’s Theatre in the city for a day of inspiration covering everything from cancer drug research to poetry.

Offstage, there were giant perceptive pixel screens, an interactive photobooth, and even a special DJ session from John Richards, associate program manager for Seattle’s legendary local indie radio station, KEXP.

Below, Barrie Cohen, curator of TEDxSeattle shares four of her favorite TEDxSeattle moments:

1). A mother and daughter enjoy TEDxSeattle from Kenya. “Naomi Wachira performed two songs during Act Two of the show. Her daughter and mother live in Kenya. Naomi told me that they got up at 12:30 am to see “Mama” play on their iPad. They had a bad connection in the house so they outside under a tree. Naomi’s daughter rarely gets to see her mother sing and she was dancing all around. Naomi’s father passed away in early May and she dedicated her performance to his memory. Her mother got to hear the moving tribute LIVE! Naomi and I were both in tears (of joy) when she recounted this story. And she thanked me immensely for allowing her to participate and give this moment to her family.”


2). A last-minute addition wows the audience. “As we tightened up show flow, [we] realized we had a gap and felt music was the way to fill it. I started looking at the local venue calendars and saw that Norwegian-born Jarle Bernhoft was playing in town the night of our event. I’ve loved his innovative style for years … We maintained a philosophy that we would say yes to this until we had to say no. And we never had to say no. He performed for free, was gracious, and received the first standing O of the day. Seeing everyone stand up made all the work it took to get him there worth it. The energy in the theatre skyrocketed after his performance and never let up the rest of the day.”

3). The audience reacts. “I was in the Main Theatre for most of the show. I watched faces and reactions to our speakers and their ideas. They laughed, cried, winced, whispered to their neighbors, took notes, held their heads, and soaked it all up. I had a hope that our speakers would resonate, but seeing ideas land and ingested – that was magical.”

4). The volunteers shine. “Day of logistics are always challenging and not everything goes right. Our day of team was engaged, strong, happy to be there, and rolled so well with the punches. The photos of their smiling faces are priceless.”

(Photos by Mark Gladding)

A few weeks ago, the very first TEDxFairyMeadows was held. Named by Austrian mountaineer Hermann Buhl for its sylvan, idyllic landscape, Fairy Meadows is an area of northern Pakistan that straddles the western edge of the Himalayan mountain range and is characterized by green grasses and breathtaking vistas.

"We wanted to do a TEDx event, [but] this one would be quite different," said TEDxFairyMeadows organizer Saad Hamid, who is also the organizer of TEDxIslamabad. “It would be organized in open-air space (rather than in a air-conditioned auditorium or corridor) and the speakers and the audience would set out with us on a 5-day adventure tour starting from Islamabad to the base camp of Nanga Parbat (the ninth highest peak in the world). Yes, it did seem crazy at first but I am happy that I managed to pull it off.

"The idea behind TEDxFairyMeadows was to take ideas to a new whole new height in Pakistan and introduce the world to the beauty of the north as well as use the TEDx platform to share inspirational and motivational ideas and stories,” wrote Saad in a round-up of the event. "[M]ore than 90+ attendees…travelled via Jeep all the way from Riakot bridge and then hiked all the way up to 3500m to reach the lush green plateau of Fairy Meadows…

"[TEDxFairyMeadows] made me discover a whole new side of TEDx as a platform to share ideas and stories and it made me realize how this platform can be used to make the ordinary stories and ideas special. Especially in a culture such as we have in Pakistan where open sharing and open dialogue is a taboo, this platform can be used to create connections that can do wonders.