Saturday, September 11, 2010

TEDx Yerevan announces speakers for ‘beyond borders’ event...

TEDx Yerevan has announced the speakers selected for its first by-invitation-only event being held on Sept. 25. The theme of the widely anticipated event is “Beyond Borders” and topics of the 6-12 minute TED Talks will include innovation, technology, education, diaspora, and the arts.

The speakers selected after topics were proposed by the public and auditions held over the summer are Michael Aram, Rev. Ktrij (Armen) Devejian, Paula Devejian, Hagop Emrazian, Rich Goldman, Hans Gutbrod, Vardan Hovhannisyan, Hrair Hawk Khatcherian, Meroujan Minassian, Alexis Ohanian, Siemon Scamell-Katz, Timothy Straight, and Anna Yeghoyan (bios available here).

TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission to promote “ideas worth spreading.” The program is designed to give communities, organizations, and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue. At TEDx events, talks given by thought leaders are intended to spark deep conversation and connections.

TED started in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from the fields of technology, entertainment, and design. The independent TEDx Yerevan event is operated under license from TED and it will be held at the Ani Plaza Hotel in Yerevan. The TEDx Yerevan organizing committee is headed by Alexis Ohanian and Kristine Sargsyan, along with representatives of the Civilitas Foundation and other organizations.

Alexis co-founded, a popular social media site that was sold to Condé Nast in 2006. He recently completed a Kiva Fellowship in Armenia and founded Breadpig, Inc., an “uncorporation that’s responsible for bringing geeky things into the world” like xkcd: volume 0 and donating all the profits to charitable causes. In 2009, Alexis delivered a TED Talk on How to make a splash in social media.

Kristine has 13 years of experience in the non-profit and business sector as an organizational development consultant. She has worked with organizations including World Learning, USDA, PA Consulting Group, Eurasia Foundation, and Caritas Armenia. Kristine is on the board of the Professionals for Civil Society NGO and is the initiator of TEDx Yerevan and the TED Open Translation Project in Armenia.

En route to a presentation at a Startup Bootcamp at MIT, Alexis reflected on the reason behind initiating the TEDx Yerevan event: “I was so impressed by so many energetic, inspiring people who I met during my time in Armenia, that it seemed like such a waste to not have a conference to get them all sharing.”

Update: Videos of the talks presented at TEDx Yerevan are now available here.