Got 20 minutes for your thoughts?
Like many people, I could use a little life-changing inspiration to satisfy and reconfirm our place on the planet. This Sunday afternoon, I’ll find my intellectual divine intervention at TEDxMaui. For the first TEDx talks on Maui a few years ago, I was a total virgin. I had heard about TED and YouTubed it, but you won’t get that overwhelming feeling that the secret of the universe was on the tip of your tongue until you are there in the MACC’s Castle Theater with everyone else.
“Anyone with a thirst for knowledge can have a profound experience at TEDxMaui,” says Sara Tekula, a co-founder for TEDxMaui. “I believe in this community’s ability to make a difference in the world, both locally and globally, and this event is where change-makers get inspired and subsequently find one another.”
The TED mantra is “ideas worth spreading.” Originally, TED talks couldn’t stray from its name–which stands for Technology, Education and Design. But you can find all sorts of talks at TEDx events, which are like franchises of the official TED. Some of the world’s most progressive thinkers and dreamers in music, performance, business, politics, art, science and health now share what they know about the world in 20 minutes or less. It’s common to go to the event looking forward to one presentation, but connecting with another.
Limiting the talks’ length forces speakers to be concise. There are also breaks throughout the event, in case your brain feels like constant stimulation will blow it up. But these are hardly points of mere relaxation–event-goers are swept into the MACC’s courtyard, where they can find conversation, networking, art installations from Maui’s Maggie Sutrov and Oahu’s Andrew Binkley, beverages, live entertainment and booth demonstrations. The Maui Makers will also hold an interactive exhibition on the fine art of making.
TEDxMaui runs the whole day, with registration starting at 7:30am (you get a gift bag). The talks start at 9am, with conversation and leg stretching breaks every 90 minutes. There’s also an after-party at the end, with a rocking band, no-host bar and more discussion until around 7:30pm. Thats a full 12 hours of TED submersion–a bargain at just under 14 cents a minute.
This year, the TEDxMaui theme is “A Brilliant Life.” Old Lahaina Luau came forward again with youth scholarships so 50 high school students can attend. Here’s the line-up:
• Adaptations Dance Theater – Maui’s nonprofit professional contemporary dance ensemble.
• Svetlana Berdyugina, PhD – NASA astronomer living on Maui looking for and researching extraterrestrial life.
• Dave Kalama – Maui’s surf icon; big wave pioneer; world-champion ocean athlete.
• Rosemary “Rosie” Kulhavy-Sutherland – King Kekaulike High School student; TEDxYouth@SeaburyHall speaker; humorist.
• Rick Rutiz – Founder and director of Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike; mobilizes at-risk youth to learn construction skills to benefit themselves and their community.
• Sunny Savage – Wild food harvester, expert in foraging techniques.
• Daniel Anthony – Food sovereignty leader; local farming advocate; driving force behind the movement to bring kalo back to our classrooms, kitchens and local economies.
• Robert Cazimero – Contributor to the Hawaiian cultural renaissance; legendary and award-winning Hawaiian singer; songwriter; kumu hula.
• Taimane Gardner – ‘Ukulele virtuoso; songwriter.
• Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘ohi‘a Gon, III, PhD – Senior scientist and cultural advisor at The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii; Expert on Hawaiian ecology.
• Maya Soetoro-Ng, PhD – Peace, multicultural and international studies educator and children’s book author; co-founder of the community peace training program Ceeds of Peace with Kerrie Urosevich; Campaigner for her brother, President Barack Obama.
• Kerrie Urosevich, PhD – Community mobilizer and peace builder; Early Learning Action Strategy Coordinator for the Hawaii Governor’s Office; Co-founder of Ceeds of Peace with Maya Soetoro-Ng.
• Dr. Bradley Willcox, MD – Longevity researcher; physician; co-author of The Okinawan Diet Plan and The Okinawa Program.
• Kimi Werner – Maui born and raised champion spearfisher and freediver; artist; chef-hunter.
• Lindsea K. Wilbur – Hawaii’s own futurist focusing on social invention and human-centered political design; organizer and traveler on the Millennial Trains Project with the Government Futures Lab.
• Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu (Kumu Hina) – Kanaka maoli teacher; cultural practitioner; community leader; one of first openly-transgender candidates to run for a statewide political office in the U.S.
• Daedelus (Alfred Darlington) – The “mad scientist of music; artist; producer; composer; performer.
• B.J. Fogg – Behavior scientist; expert on habit formation; founder of Stanford’s Persuasive Tech Lab; one of Fortune’s “10 new gurus you should know.”
• Edward Readicker-Henderson – Travel writer; contributing editor of National Geographic Traveler and ISLANDS magazines.
Photo Courtesy Jessica Pearl