After hosting two TED events in 2011 and 2012 The Guardian/ Observer decided to organize this year their own (sort of) event inviting inspiring people to inspire other people to do too all sorts of amazing things. I have never attended a live TED event, but this day-long Guardian’s event of IDEAS totally exceeded my expectations and, i think, TED has a serious competitor. I did not feel bored for a minute. Such ‘world changers’ like – Chido Govera, who from an orphan girl in rural Zimbabwe has become a successful entrepreneur, activist and educator, Michael Twitty, who is questioning the conceptualization of ‘American food’ and campaigning for adequate representation of Afro-American culture in America’s food history, Jack Monroe, who is fighting against food poverty in Britain, and Emmanuel de Merode, who is working in the Eastern DRC preserving Virunga National Park from exploitation of natural resources through illegal activities – are a live evidence of what happens when a human being follows his/her passion and how changing the world starts from individuals. Individuals, who may have nothing except belief in themselves, determination and ability to dream.
Giles Duley’s story was incredible. He as a war journalist/ photographer lost his 3 limbs about 3.5 years ago and just recently has re-started working again. His greatest joy now is to be able to move from being a subject of a story (journalist who lost 3 limbs) to being again an author of stories from conflict zones.
Similarly, Edwyn Collins, a musician who has suffered several strokes and had temporarily lost memory, brought me to tears with his singing. That unimaginable desire of not giving up was very touching.
Thanks to technology (meaning, skype) audience could also have an indirect presence of Edward Snowden. When he was asked how he could leave behind all of that material wealth/ well-being and family/ girlfriend, which to so many would be a ‘paradise’, he said “it’s not about me. i’m just a mechanism of revelation.” His sense of responsibility to gain back rights of individuals supersedes his personal life interests. Courage to leave one’s comfort zone, risk his life, have no chance to return home and live in unknown – that’s truly extraordinary.
Last but not least, i was very pleased by the selection of amazing musicians – Benjamin Clementine, Conchita Wurst, Tinie Tempah, Rokia Traore – who shared their own stories about dreams, challenges, fights, success, achievements. All of these talented people have gone through difficulties and challenges, each in their own way. But inner strength, hard work, patience and practice has made their dreams true. I wish i could pack and hide somewhere half of the inspiration i gained today and could use on grey, gloom days to remind me of what’s possible and to send away doubts.