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Your guide to the TEDx talkfest

Your guide to the TEDx talkfest

Lisa Mam, aka Lil Dots, painting Khmer style graffiti. Photo Supplied

After a sold-out session in February, TEDx Phnom Penh is back tomorrow with a new panel of fourteen speakers, including Secretary of State for the Ministry of Commerce Sorasak Pan, and Cambodian Centre for Human Rights President Ou Virak. The talks will take place in front of a live audience at Northbridge International School, and will be simulcast to an auditorium at Zaman International School, which also features some unique speakers of its own and still has tickets available. If you’re interested in going along, here’s a rundown of what to expect:

Kosal Khiev: Cry Along With Me – The Importance of Storytelling and Empathy

Wrong place, wrong time was Khiev’s defence after being caught up in a gangland shooting in the US during the 1980s. Charged as an adult, sixteen-year-old Khiev spent sixteen years in prison before being deported to Cambodia in April, and credits the love of spoken word poetry he developed behind bars as the key to adjusting to life in a country he was too young to remember.

Pan Sorasak:
Bridging the Digital Divide
As well as a scuba diver and a blackbelt in karate, Pan Sorasak is also Cambodia’s Secretary of State for the Ministry of Commerce, and he knows a thing or two about what makes Cambodia tick. Sorasak will share his insights in a talk about how Cambodia can bridge the digital divide between rich and poor, and not miss out on the opportunity to develop addictive iPhone applications. Sorasak is also credited as one of the creators of the Khmer Unicode script, which allows Cambodians to use everything from Microsoft Office to Facebook in their native language.

Derek Sivers: Why You Need to Fail

Formerly a professional musician and circus clown, Sivers shot to fame in 1998 with the launch of CD Baby, an online music retailer which quickly grew to represent 150,000 musicians around the world. After selling his business for $20 million in 2008, Sivers donated the proceeds to charity and embarked on a second career as an author and public speaker. A regular at TED talks around the world, Sivers’ presentations on “How to Start a Movement” and “Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy” have received over five million hits online, putting him among the top ten TED speakers of all time.

Ou Virak: Why We Need to Rethink Human Rights Activism

The recipient of too many international awards to list, Cambodian activist Ou Virak defines his mission, and the mission of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights which he heads, as protecting the freedom of expression, information and assembly in Cambodia. Virak will present his ideas about what human rights activism actually involves, how to go about it, and what can be accomplished.

Josh Jones: Cambodian Coffee – Have Your Habit Help

After living in Cambodia as a teenager during the 1990s, Josh Jones returned in 2007, and after taking up a position at the Three Corner Coffee Company, he is on a mission to market Cambodian coffee to the world. Jones said he’s willing to let the tastebuds of his audience be the judge of whether Cambodian coffee is among the world’s best, and will conduct coffee tastings at the end of his talk.
Soluy Loeut: Social Business in the Remotes

In between working as a freelance photojournalist and a primary school teacher in Siem Reap, Loeut also coaches an amateur AFL team and trains with the Cambodian Eagles in Phnom Penh. In this talk, Loeut describes what she’s learned in her journeys around Cambodia and why she thinks self-reliance, small businesses and teaching people how to fish will transform the lives of Cambodians in remote areas.

Peap Tarr and Lisa Mam: Graffiti Brushing Cambodia

What do graffiti and street art have to offer Cambodian youth? This joint talk by Peap Tarr, the founder of Klap Ya Handz, Cambodia’s first hip hop label, and his co-presenter Lisa Mam, aka ‘Lil Dots’, aims to answer that question by laying out a plan to promote Khmer culture around the world with spraypaint.

Maria Fernandez Sabau:
Connecting the Dots

Founder of “cultural consultancy” Lordcultura, Fernandez Sabau specialises in the management of museums, galleries and tourist sites, and said she is driven by the belief that creative thinking is the most valuable asset we have at our disposal. Sabau is in Cambodia studying how the arts can be an engine of economic growth, and tomorrow will share her thoughts in public.

Michael Jones: Reinvent the Wheel! Why Copy When You Can Create?

Education consultant Michael Jones recently launched a new website where Cambodian teachers and students can upload and share lesson plans and coursework with each other online. It’s all part of his Open Equal Free initiative which aims to make a great education, you guessed it, Open, Equal, and Free.

Warren Daly and Dina Chhan: Title of Talk: The Art of Visual Observances

Daly, founder of independent record label Invisible Agent, and head of a marketing firm in Phnom Penh, joins forces with artist Dina Chhan for their joint talk on art and design aesthetics.

Other speakers include Andy Hawkings, Preetam Rai, Ronjon Bhattacharya, and Chhun Lay, who will present on topics including musicians without borders, why and how to incorporate internationalism into daily life, and the key to personal success and leadership.


  • Five-year-old Hanuman dances his way into hearts of Cambodia

    A young talent from a new-established settlement has emerged, captivating the online world with his mesmerising performances of the traditional Cambodian monkey dance. Roeun Kakada is a five-year-old prodigy who has taken the social media sphere by storm with his exceptional dance skills and dedication

  • Fresh Covid warnings as Thai hospital fills

    A senior health official reminds the public to remain vigilant, as neighbouring countries experience an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the latest surge appearing to be a result of the Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-variant. Or Vandine, secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health,

  • Honda shutters Siem Reap football club

    Japanese football legend Keisuke Honda, the owner of Siem Reap football club Soltilo Angkor FC, has been forced to shut the club down, after it failed to attract sponsorship for the upcoming season. Honda, the former manager of the Cambodia men's national football team, said

  • Hun Sen warns of regional tensions

    ASIA is becoming a dangerous geopolitical hotspot, with several countries announcing that they intend to send naval vessels towards Southeast Asia and on to the South China Sea, warned Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Heated geopolitical issues can easily escalate, namely to war. I am not

  • PM declares ASEAN Para Games open

    The 12th ASEAN Para Games officially kicked off on the evening of June 3 at Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, with a spectacular opening ceremony featuring fireworks and performances by some of the Kingdom’s most accomplished talents. Tens of thousands of sports fans

  • Waterway job still pending for Kampot tourism port’s opening

    The search is still on for a contractor to expand and deepen the Kampot International Tourism Port’s waterway and deliver additional enhancements allowing safe access for larger vessels, nearly a year after the main construction work on the 4.25ha site was completed on June 30, 2022.