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Dr. Susan Mathison, Areavoices.com, Published June 20 2012

Mathison: TEDxFargo offers ideas worth sharing

Today is not only the longest day of the year, but also the second TEDxFargo event at Ecce Art and Yoga.

Hundreds of volunteer hours after the first TEDxFargo, the carefully crafted event promises to showcase interesting ideas, inspiring stories and calls to action, with a healthy dose of fun. I’ve enjoyed being part of the process and want you to know about it.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and started out in 1984 as a nonprofit conference to connect people and projects within these disciplines. Over time, the scope has become much broader. The two annual TED conferences – held in Long Beach/Palm Springs, Calif., and Edinburgh, Scotland – are attended by prize-winning scientists, A-list celebrities and business moguls.

The events feature the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). Music, dance and comedy are also a big part of the program.

I enjoyed sharing my own story “Beauty Makes Us Happy” at the first TEDxFargo in February. Art professor Mike Strand, and businessmen Carl Peterson and Doug Burgum also shared their stories and ideas for the world. You can learn a lot in less than 18 minutes! These videos have been viewed by thousands of people around the world. Tonight’s speakers likewise have messages that will inspire and stimulate the audience.

Unlike most conferences, TED speakers actually attend and participate in the conference as well, allowing for connections and conversations that go beyond what is said from the platform.

TED.com includes award-winning TEDTalks videos and other TED features. There is also a separate but related organization called TEDMED that focuses on health and medicine during another annual conference and online community.

According to TED curator Chris Anderson, “We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.”

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxFargo, where the “x” means it’s an independently organized TED event.

At our TEDxFargo event, videos, live speakers and performers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

To ensure quality programming, the TED organization limits TEDx tickets to 100 for the first few events held under a TEDx license. Available tickets sold out in nine minutes, and the Fargo Theatre stepped up with their Second Screen location, so that the program will be shown through a live simulcast for 75 more attendees. You can watch from the comfort of your own home through a web-based live-stream on www.TEDxFargo.com from 3:30 to 5:15 p.m. and then again from 7:15 to 9 p.m. Talks and performances will also be posted on the website and YouTube within a few weeks after the event.

TED is thought of as a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. Some have called it the “ultimate brain spa.”

Through TEDxFargo, we share and shine that global light on our community and our people. Enjoy, and learn something new. Think about your own TED talk idea. What does the world need to know from you to make it a better place?

Dr. Susan Mathison founded Catalyst Medical Center in Fargo and created PositivelyBeautiful.com.