Recently, Deerfield obtained a TEDx license, which will allow the school to host an official TEDx conference on February 22, 2015. TEDx is a program that was created to help spread communication and conversation within both small and large communities by issuing licenses to presenters who are interesting in promoting discussion in their communities and beyond. As stated on the TEDx website, “The TEDx experience is about bringing big ideas to your local community to spark connection and deep conversation.” TEDx lectures are often filmed and presented on the TEDx platform, so as to be shared publicly on the web.
Last year, after Cat Wyatt ’14 introduced the idea of TEDx talks at Deerfield to the Student Council, Nahla Achi ’15, Haidun Liu ’15, Megan Retana ’15 and Academic Dean Peter Warsaw created a ommittee to work on bringing TEDx to Deerfield. In order to host TEDx talks, an organization needs an official license, which allows the community to host one TEDx conference that will be shared publicly through the TEDx platform.
According to Achi, the committee decided to introduce Deerfield Talks at School Meeting in order to see whether any of the presenters “could prepare Talks that had the potential to be presented at a TEDx Conference.”
Deerfield Talks in the past have included the presentations of Ken Park ’15 on “water” and David Liu ’15 on the Chinese government, which used Deerfield as a model to explain the Communist hierarchy in China. Among the Academy’s favorite Deerfield Talks was one by Matt Morrow ’15, who asked the question “How many countries are there?” Matt explained that certain countries and/or organizations, such as the United Nations, recognize some countries that other organizations, such as the US Olympics Committee, do not.
Katy Gray ’16 commented, “It was so interesting to see that countries, which I always thought of as being set in stone, could be so debated worldwide.”
Not only did the Deerfield Talks prove that students and faculty presenters are ready for the conference, but also they sparked conversations around campus about topics beyond Deerfield.
As Emerson Logie ’16 noted, Deerfield Talks can be “useful in this community because they give people the opportunity to expand on topics not only relevant in our community but to the world around us.”
After seeing how well our community responded to the Deerfield Talks, the committee took on the task of applying for a TEDx license. This required an “organizer” to fill out an application for the TEDx organization to approve.
According to the TEDx rules, if the organizer has not already attended a TEDx conference, a maximum of 100 people can attend the organizer’s conference. However, the committee hopes to simulcast the conference in the Hess Auditorium so that the entire school can watch the conference live.
The TEDx website states that the conferences are to be “community-driven” and include “bias-free content,” meaning there will be no “commercial, religious, or political agenda.” The committee plans to fulfill this expectation in February’s conference, in order to further the positive impact that Deerfield Talks have already had on the community.
The TEDx Deerfield Academy conference will exclusively represent members of our community, including students, faculty, staff and potentially parents and alumni. “I think TEDx talks will connect our community by initiating curiosity in each other’s passions and discoveries,” said Retana.
Although Deerfield will be hosting an official TEDx conference, the community will continue to hear Deerfield Talks at school meetings. Achi stated that “[Deerfield Talks] are as important as TEDx talks.” Additionally, from now on, the Deerfield talks will be recorded so that they too can be shared with the world.