Sixteen speakers have been selected to pitch their ideas at TEDx Telfair Street on Jan. 31 at the Augusta Main Library, which is a localized version of the TED conferences held around the world.
TEDx guidelines allow only 100 tickets to be sold for the inaugural event, according to organizer Grace Belangia. But if enough interest is shown and TED grants a license for a second event in 2015, more tickets will be available.
“It’s really exciting to see, with all the other things happening in Augusta with innovation and technology, that we’d have this here,” Belangia said.
Those interested can apply for a ticket online and briefly explain why TEDx matters to Augusta and why he or she wants to attend. Belangia said a group of volunteers will select 100 audience members from the applications based on answers with a goal of diversity in mind.
Winners will be notified in early December and can then purchase the ticket for $100.
Belangia said those who do not secure a ticket have a chance to view a live streaming the day of the event at four locations across the area by registering online in December.
TED conferences began in 1984 around technology, entertainment and design topics, and they give speakers a platform to give “the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less.” The organization has brought some of the world’s best thinkers to one stage, including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, politicians, economists, poets and educators.
Since the TED nonprofit began giving licenses to communities in 2009, more than 7,000 TEDx events have been held in 149 countries.
Belangia said she applied for a license earlier this year to help boost Augusta’s growing cultural scene. She said with so many innovative minds and ideas in the area, there needed to be a centralized place to showcase them.
The Augusta speakers include a Georgia Regents University professor who was forced into labor on a green tea farm in China as a child, a designer who has trained astronauts for space missions and a retired Air Force general who flew 180 combat missions over North Vietnam and Laos.
“It’s good for people coming here or thinking of coming here to know that we have a community that supports and embraces “ideas worth spreading,” Belangia said.