A group of Troy University students are bringing talented public speakers and thought-provoking stories to the Troy campus.
TEDxTroyUniversity will host its first conference on Sunday, Nov. 5, from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Trojan Center Theatre.
The theme of this year is “Puzzled,” which — according to Asem Abdelfattah, a sophomore economics major from Alexandria, Egypt, and an event organizer — is specific enough to have a defined subject matter, but also is general enough for variety and differences.
“‘Puzzled’ can be understood as pieces that people try to put together for a final solution, a brand-new idea. A puzzle can be a bigger picture made from many smaller, distinctive pieces,” said Abdelfattah.
Troy will be the first public university to have a TEDx event in 2017.
Abdelfattah said that he and his team members have been working hard to bring TEDxTroyUniversity to campus.
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks covering a wide range of topics from science and business to personal development. The three letters in its name stand for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It has videos in more than a hundred languages, which help share ideas all over the world, according to the TED website.
Essentially, TEDx is a branch of TED, but the “x” signifies that it is an independently organized event that operates under a TED license.
The program was created under TED’s mission — “ideas worth spreading.”
According to the website, the TEDx Program is a program designed to help communities, organizations and individuals to spark conversation and connection through local TED-like experiences.
Abdelfattah said that through this event, he wants to promote conversations and idea sharing.
“Valuable ideas should be discussed, especially those that can influence the community,” he said.
Abdelfattah was involved in TEDxYouth@Alexandria for about four years in Egypt when he was in school. He said that involvement gave him the knowledge and drive to bring TEDx to Troy.
“I searched if there was TEDx in Troy, but there wasn’t,” said Abdelfattah. “That’s why I was determined to make it happen.”
According to Abdelfattah, the TEDxTroyUniversity team is completely run by students. The operation includes logistics, sponsorship, marketing and interactive audience engagement and speaking, which ensures the quality of all the talks.
“Everyone on the team is very talented and self-driven and eager to help when I asked them to join the team,” Abdelfattah said. “I trust them, and I believe no matter the many obstacles that we face, we can do something and be proud of it.”
Adrian Bone, a sophomore economics major from New Market and director of volunteers, said he asked to join the team when he heard Abdelfattah presenting the idea.
Bone used to work with TED talks in high school for his homework assignments. He said that the talks provided him with new points of view on topics that he was already familiar with.
Bone said the event is a great opportunity for Troy students to learn from the talks and the team to learn from the experience.
“Students can learn a great deal from it,” Bone said. “And for those who are involved in the organizing process, this is an opportunity for essential skill developments.
“Organizing and running an event is absolutely valuable for future employment.”
“We would like to have speakers from our Troy community, students, alumni or faculty/staff members to be on stage,” Abdelfattah said.
TEDxTroyUniversity released a speaker application for those who may be interested in joining the speaker lineup. There will be several speakers and sessions during the four-hour event.
According to Abdelfattah, after the final selection of speakers is conducted, they will undergo a few sessions of coaching on how to present their stories and how to make a public appearance.
“We want to make sure that the ‘ideas worth spreading’ are best delivered,” he said.
The speaker application closes on Sept. 30, and the list of speakers will be released the first week of October.
Nguyen Nguyen, a junior art major from Hanoi, Vietnam, said that he was delighted to see Abdelfattah and his team bring TEDx to Troy.
“TED is something that hugely impacts my values and worldview,” Nguyen said. “Most made me laugh, learn something; some challenged my beliefs, made me feel uncomfortable and expand my perspective; and a couple simple saved me.”
Abdelfattah said he hopes this event will ignite more free speech and discussion among students about new ideas and solutions.