Producing TED Conversations

TED’s social team has been experimenting with live conversations on the TED Instagram account, for the last year and recently I reached out to them with a proposal to do an Audacious series of these focused on urgent global issues.  We launched late last year and have to say it’s been such a fun collaboration!

The idea is to bring together a change-maker/ activist and an influencer with a passion for a particular social issue to discuss innovative ideas and strategies to address it. Our first one was a climate conversation featuring James Bond star Pierce Brosnan and Audacious Project leader Dr. Heidi Sosik of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Recently we hosted Top Chef host and activist Padma Lakshmi in conversation with World Central Kitchen founder Chef José Andrés.

Love how engaged global influencers like Padma have been in this project and how they are using it as a platform to talk about issues they are passionate about.

I’m excited to see the series grow and and super proud to be leading a project that has seen so many people engaging with important global issues in an accessible and entertaining way.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk!

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I can’t believe that I have been working at TED as the Editorial Director of The Audacious Project for almost a year now! It’s been an exhilarating ride figuring out ways to amplify the work of the extraordinary social impact organizations funded through this initiative.

Each year the announcement of the funded projects happens during the annual TED conference in Vancouver, and it’s always a much-anticipated highlight of the week. So when it became clear that due to COVID, we couldn’t have an in-person event, it was decided that we would pivot to an 8-week online experience. This was pretty daunting for the whole organization. Having to convert an event designed for the live stage (one of the most famous in the world) into a compelling online program is no joke!

Luckily for the Audacious team, we had some digital-friendly content already in the bag, because pre lockdowns I had traveled to Rwanda and Kenya to shoot two mini-documentaries highlighting the work of Audacious grantees. Both ended up being selected for the mainstage session at TED2020 held virtually in June!

One of the videos features SNHU’s GEM program, which provides access to Bachelor’s degrees to refugees.  Spending time with Saida, a refugee student from Kakuma camp in Kenya, and sharing her story and those of many other displaced communities was life-changing. 

The story is now up on TED.com, and I couldn’t be prouder to share it. Check it out here.

saida
Saida Aden Said, a SNHU student, living in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya