First Israeli TEDx Youth event held at TA school

Event draws 100 participants including industrialists, hi-tech professionals, educators and students.

December 1, 2010 03:35
2 minute read.
STUDENTS AT the Bialik Rogozin School

TEDx children school 311. (photo credit: Ron Friedman)

The Bialik Rogozin School in southern Tel Aviv hosted Israel’s first TEDx Youth event on Tuesday, dedicated to promoting children’s issues and in honor of Universal Children’s Day held last month.

The event drew 100 participants including industrialists, hi-tech professionals, educators and students.

TEDx (technology, entertainment and design) events, which are independently organized gatherings created in the spirit of TED’s mission – “ideas worth spreading” – are designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.

TED started out as a conference held in Long Beach, California in 1984. Since then it has become an internationally recognized information exchange forum, drawing high-profile speakers and featuring a participant waiting list that stretches years into the future.

TEDx events have gained popularity worldwide in recent years, operating according to the original’s successful format of short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances on a wide range of subjects to foster learning, inspiration and wonder.

The event in Tel Aviv was organized by the Bialik Rogozin action committee, headed by international entrepreneur and hi-tech guru Yossi Vardi. Vardi himself was called in to host the event at the last minute after broadcast journalist Dana Weiss had to cancel her appearance.

The event featured speeches by Education Minister Gideon Saar and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, but for the most part focused on issues and ideas presented by educators and students, ranging from youth-to-youth education programs to toothbrush- based robots.

The event also served to highlight the special character of the Bialik Rogozin School, which is located in one of the poorer neighborhoods of Tel Aviv and is attended in a large part by children of migrant workers, giving it a unique, multicultural feel. The school was at the center of the public battle this past summer to let children of foreign workers remain in the country.

Between presentations, participants were treated to performances by the school’s choir, which featured children from all over the world singing songs in Hebrew and highlighting their feeling of belonging.

Bialik Rogozin’s principal, Karen Tal, told the audience of the challenges that the school overcame in recent years from being on the verge of closure five years ago to doubling its student body and teaching staff.

“There are no secret and no magic solutions when it comes to education – just cooperation and hard work,” Tal said.

To the children, she explained, “Our society needs you and your energies in order to develop. I hope that you will play a role in building a society that is more tolerant to differences and more compassionate.”

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