There’s a saying in Poland: “Put two Poles together, you’ll get three opinions.” So I wasn’t sure what would happen when the whole of Eastern Europe and Russia got together to brainstorm for “Desert Day” at TEDxSummit, and I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be an example of collaboration, but TEDxSummit was surprising in so many ways!
We started off by resolving a real-world political issue — our Turkish TEDx’ers had first to decide whether to join Eastern Europe, the Middle East or demand the creation of a new category, what they called “Mediterranean Europe”. Their badges said Western Europe but they seemed pretty adamant that wasn’t an option. In the end they were persuaded to stay with Eastern Europe and their experience was invaluable. We also had to reassure Russia, who said one of their biggest problems was that no one thought they belonged in Eastern Europe. Believe me, as a Pole that was a new one for me.
Our Ambassador, Vlad Fiscutean, had the unenviable task of leading a group of TEDx’ers from countries that are more usually labelled by their location behind the former Iron Curtain than by their unique cultures, histories and futures.
He did a great job and the outcome was hugely encouraging. Of course we talked about the problems we face, we had the inevitable discussion about what process to use and how to report back. But most of all, we met each other and made the fundamental human connections that will mean that future collaboration between TEDx’ers in this rich and interesting region is inevitable. Watch out!
Written by Ewa Spohn, TEDxKrakow