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Jerusalem to host TEDx event
By MELANIE LIDMAN
07/12/2012
Capital to hold first citywide TEDx event, an internationally recognized event featuring a diverse array of speakers.
 
The capital’s first citywide TEDx event, an internationally recognized event featuring a diverse array of speakers, will take place on Monday at the YMCA.

Volunteer organizers worked for a year a half to bring speakers such as Dr. Amal Ayoub, a female Israeli-Arab scientist who uses gold to attack cancer cells, happiness researcher Eyal Doron and “culinary entrepreneur” Michal Ansky, who founded the Tel Aviv Farmers’ Market.

TED events feature a series of informative presentations, each less than 18 minutes, by speakers who are experts in their fields. “This event is totally cut off from politics, religion or conflict, we’re trying to unite people based on creative ideas,” said event organizer Beto Maya.

“We’re a group of people that really love TED,” added Maya. “We think that this is a platform that really helps create dialogue between people, especially in a city that’s so confusing like Jerusalem.”

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, achieved cult status after the first conference in 1984. In addition to the official TED conferences in Long Beach and Palm Springs, California, and Edinburgh, Scotland, there are hundreds of independently organized TED events around the world.

In the region, there have been TEDx events in Ramallah, Gaza, Tel Aviv, Jaffa and smaller events in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood, as well as a Jerusalem event called TEDx- Holyland for Israeli and Palestinian Women focused on the conflict and women’s empowerment.

Maya said the purpose of TEDxJerusalem is to unite people through dialogue and a network of ideas that is not connected to politics.

Unfortunately, the hope to rise above politics was not possible for everyone. At a conference in Qatar for TEDx organizers, Maya met with planners from TEDxRamallah and TEDxGaza, who offered guidance but refused to cooperate in a public way. “They said, we can help you with ideas but we really can’t be involved because of the ‘occupation,’” Maya said. “It was surprising because I wanted to get out of this conflict and say we’re just people, let’s sit and talk.”

More than 500 people are expected to listen to 17 speakers at TEDxJerusalem, which Maya hopes to turn into an annual event. Approximately 1,000 people applied to attend the event, but the YMCA hall only seats 500. The event is sponsored by ROI Community, Schusterman Foundation, the Leichtag Foundation, the Mifal Hapayis national lottery and New Spirit.
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