TEDx event seeks to provoke dialogue

Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 3:32 PM
Last updated Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 1:04 AM
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Crowded into a conference room at the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library, they discussed things that matter to the world.

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Grace Belangia helped organize the TEDx event, a local version of the global TED talks, a nonprofit that brings some of the world's most powerful thinkers to a stage.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Grace Belangia helped organize the TEDx event, a local version of the global TED talks, a nonprofit that brings some of the world's most powerful thinkers to a stage.

SLIDESHOW: SPOTTED

View more photos from the event

A professor of biochemistry talked about the path from hardship to success. A graphic designer pondered how the digital age makes audiences ultra-accessible yet more distracted than ever.

In Augusta’s inaugural TEDx event Friday, the idea was for 15 speakers to provoke dialogue and debate by delivering “the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less.” The event is a localized version of the global TED talks, a nonprofit that brings some of the world’s most powerful thinkers to a stage.

The event’s theme was “matter,” which co-organizer Eric Parker said reflects the state of cultural growth in Augusta.

“What this city has developed in the past year connects with the fact that we all matter and we’re important and we can do great things here,” Parker said.

Organizer Grace Belangia applied for a TEDx license last year and said a second conference can be held in 2015 if enough interest is shown.

Only 100 tickets were available for the session Friday, but almost 300 people watched live streaming in viewing parties at several locations.

Ned Murray, the headmaster of Episcopal Day School, gave a talk on the changes in higher education and the need for schools to better prepare students, not just with book smarts, but also with social skills.

He said with new online colleges and emerging financial models, there could be a time when the four-year institution no longer exists.

With the changing climate, Murray said reading, writing and arithmetic might no longer suffice and that more employers are demanding a strong work ethic, problem-solving skills and
creativity from the workforce.

“In the end, what good is an education without a moral compass to guide its use?” Murray said.

He said these noncognitive skills must become more of an urgent focus as early as pre-kindergarten.

“What do our children need to be prepared for the world?” Murray said, calling for a revolution in early education. “They need us to reshape, rethink, refine, reorganize.”

Charlie Bennett, an academic librarian at Georgia Tech, talked about one of the biggest misconceptions about libraries – that they are just a collection of books.

“A library is where citizens of a civilized democracy make choices about what matters, what we should keep and what should disappear,” he said.

Even 5,000 years ago in Meso­potamia, people decided what pieces of information were important enough to etch onto clay tablets – weather patterns, marriages, big events.

“The form is less important that the information,” he said.

Augusta lawyer Aubrey Rhodes brought his son, Daniel, to the conferences after they became followers of the global TED – Technology, Entertainment, Design – talks.

Rhodes said the event was a way to promote dialogue and cultural connections in the city.

“I hope it sparks some new ideas around the area,” he said.

Comments (14) Add comment
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soapy_725
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soapy_725 02/01/14 - 08:57 am
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Yes. A moral compass. Gods' or or one from Karl Marx?
Unpublished

Yes. A moral compass. Gods' or or one from Karl Marx?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/01/14 - 10:53 am
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Austin Rhodes Speak?

I wonder why Austin Rhodes was not invited to speak to this esteemed, learned group?

countyman
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countyman 02/01/14 - 11:22 am
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Great event!!

I hope the event can return next year to Augusta..

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/01/14 - 11:33 am
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Were you there, Countyman?

Were you there, Countyman?

corgimom
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corgimom 02/01/14 - 01:25 pm
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“What do our children need to

“What do our children need to be prepared for the world?” Murray said, calling for a revolution in early education. “They need us to reshape, rethink, refine, reorganize.”

They need to be taught MANNERS and SELF-CONTROL and RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY, after that, the rest just falls in place.

We don't need to "rethink" anything, we already know what works- and what doesn't.

countyman
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countyman 02/01/14 - 01:56 pm
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Yes

Yes

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/01/14 - 03:58 pm
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Countyman, were you the black

Countyman, were you the black gentleman with the backpack next to Deke in the photo?

corgimom
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corgimom 02/01/14 - 04:00 pm
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No, I know what Countyman

No, I know what Countyman looks like, I didn't see him in any of the photos. Unless he was in the background of a picture.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/01/14 - 07:08 pm
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So, Countyman, it's up to you

So, Countyman, it's up to you to straighten us out. Were you in any of the photos? I say you were in one that featured Deke. Corgimom doesn't think so.

Tehblister
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Tehblister 02/01/14 - 04:32 pm
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@riverman1

Austin Rhodes was not "invited" to speak because he did not apply to speak. There was a request for speakers several months ago. I would imagine that he did not request to be considered.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/01/14 - 04:52 pm
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Theblister

It wasn't a serious question. His words are too inflammable. Heh.

corgimom
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corgimom 02/01/14 - 07:40 pm
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There are pictures of him in

There are pictures of him in the AC, Riverman, he's not black. I've seen his pictures.

Actually, he's not half bad looking.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/01/14 - 07:50 pm
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Environmentally Unfriendly

I enjoyed going through the slideshow. One thing I noticed was that the organizers and the participants are not environmentally friendly. Why not, you ask? Well, it looked like the overwhelming beverage of choice was water packaged in individual bottles. Those things are most unfriendly, since they put a lot of plastic in the landfills and the cost of the water inside is obscenely high compared with tap water.

Next time, the organizers should put out pitchers of Augusta tap water.

moderate321
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moderate321 02/01/14 - 08:35 pm
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This was not an event for the masses...

Tickets were expensive and only 100 people could go. Seems a little bit exclusive!

corgimom
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corgimom 02/01/14 - 08:53 pm
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Judging by what the paper

Judging by what the paper reported, the masses didn't miss much.

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