TEDx Phnom Penh kicks off tomorrow with an all-day, all-star line-up of speakers on topics as diverse as exporting coffee from Cambodia, using poetry to survive in prison, and the importance of failure.
Started in the US in 1984 as a one-off event, TED – which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design – has since grown into a global set of conferences on “ideas worth spreading,” attracting speakers including Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and Malcolm Gladwell. 7Days sat down with TEDx Phnom Penh co-organiser Allie Hoffman to learn more about what the local version has in store.
How would you explain the concept of TED talks?
It’s about putting people in a room, getting them to talk about ideas, getting them to engage in discussion, question and challenge. It’s an event that stands for the open sharing of ideas, resources, networks and just all getting together and talking.
What should people expect if they come along?
We have 14 talks, no more than 18 minutes each, that are going to take place at what we call the “live” event at Northbridge International School. The TEDX rules limit us to 100 attendees per event. But what we wanted to do from the start, recognizing that 100 is not enough people, is create another opportunity for people to have a TED experience. So we partnered with Ezecom to livestream the event to Zaman International School where there is an auditorium that seats another 250 people, with tickets still available.
What’s going to be happening at the simulcast?
It’s not just sitting in a seat all day hearing people talk on a screen, a lot of the people who are participating at the live event are going to be transported from the live event to the simulcast event at different points in the day to perform, to lead workshops, to have discussions and to do Q&As. So it’s a completely different vibe, it’s going to be really interactive. We have three separate workshops happening during the day so people have a lot of options of where they can go and who they see, and it’s everything from poetry performances, classes in learning how to make hammocks and coffee tastings.
There’s also going to be icecream and free pizza from Swensons and Pizza Company.
Free ice cream?
Swensons and Pizza Company are providing free pizza and icecream. To 250 people. Isn’t that nice?