TEDxBerkeley announces 2018 conference, features about 18 speakers

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TEDxBerkeley has announced its conference, which will take place Feb. 17. The conference, with the theme “You are Here,” will examine society through both geographical and conceptual maps.

Senior Sean Kelly, co-curator of TEDxBerkeley, said the conference intends to give a perspective on where we are as a society in terms of social and technological advancement.

“A flat map doesn’t have all of these dimensions — it’s just plain on the paper,” said senior Leilani Gutierrez-Palominos, co-curator of TEDxBerkeley. “There are so many more dimensions and intricacies in our society making it more multi-dimensional.”

According to Gutierrez-Palominos, the conference will feature about 18 speakers, including author Jennifer French, entrepreneur and writer David Lang and UC Berkeley lecturer Khalid Kadir.

The eight speakers listed on the TEDxBerkeley website have been confirmed and additional speakers will be announced soon, according to Kelly.

TEDxBerkeley has been working on the upcoming event since April, according to Kelly. They first came up with the broad theme of “You are Here” and then invited speakers to present a talk related to that topic.

Kelly said TEDxBerkeley primarily uses Facebook to promote the event. Gutierrez-Palominos said the TEDxBerkeley event, which has sold out in past years, will accommodate about 1,500 to 2,000 people in Zellerbach Hall. Tickets are $40 for students, a discounted price from the regular ticket price of $100, according to Gutierrez-Palominos.

Bella-Ngoc Huynh, a freshman urban studies major, heard about the event through Facebook and said she plans to attend the TEDxBerkeley event.

“I think (the TEDxBerkeley conference) will bolster the global focus that Berkeley promotes and bring into light more perspectives,” Huynh said.

Huynh said the presentation looks interesting and seems connected to the course material she has discussed in her geography class. She added that Berkeley is a diverse campus and the event will be a good reflection of the campus’s “unique” student body.

While students such as Huynh look forward to these TEDx events, TED Talks have faced criticism as a medium in the past. In a 2014 TEDx Talk, UC San Diego visual arts professor Benjamin Bratton spoke about how TED Talks oversimplify and promote various ideas and concepts.

According to sophomore Ishan Sharma, manager of event logistics for TedxBerkeley, he has high expectations for the event and believes that students will gain a lot of perspective from attending.

“That’s the whole purpose for these events, to gather multiple viewpoints and hear conversations from insightful people from around the world to better inform us about what’s going on currently,” Sharma said in a Facebook message.

According to Kelly, the event will showcase local and nonlocal ideas that they feel will resonate with the people of Berkeley. He said they want people to walk away from this event having both learned and felt something.

“It’s really exciting that we have one of the largest Tedx talks in the nation,” Gutierrez-Palominos said. “It’s different to be here in person than to see it online. You get to feel everything with the audience (and) connect with other audience members. It’s really nice being in that environment.”

Contact Ella Colbert at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @colbert_ella.