2017-03-23 / Around Town

'Growing Ideas’ Tedx at Salve

By Olga Enger

Araz Khajarian, one of the Tedx organizers has assembled a slate of a dozen speakers to share their inspirations at the March 25 event. Araz Khajarian, one of the Tedx organizers has assembled a slate of a dozen speakers to share their inspirations at the March 25 event. This spring, a group of Salve Regina University students hope to grow not flowers, but ideas, with the Tedx event, "Growing Ideas", to be held on Saturday, March 25 at 4 p.m. The event is open to the public.

“Tedx events are pretty common on college campuses,” said Salve junior Araz Khajarian, who coordinated the planning effort. Throughout the school year, a planning committee of about 10 students have been busily booking speakers, developing the theme and working with the school to prepare logistics for the Tedx.

Khajarian, of Damascus, Syria, believes the TED process could be adopted by governments to avoid violence similar to what is taking place in her country.

“Everything is a process of brainstorming,” she said. “You can find solutions for pretty much anything if you work on it this way.”

Khajarian transferred to Salve Regina in 2015 on an Institute of International Education (IIE) scholarship program. IIE has partnered with higher education institutions, including Salve Regina, which commit to full tuition waivers for qualified Syrian students. In return, IIE provides up to $50,000 to cover student living expenses.

The event will host a blend of speakers traveling from across New England, including members of the United Nations and local thought-leaders.

The theme, “growing ideas,” developed after the committee received several applications from speakers promoting growth and change.

The organizers hope the speakers will “plant a seed” that will inspire ideas and change.

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, began in 1984 and has since grown to cover a wide range of topics in more than 100 languages. The TEDx programs are independently organized events designed to spark community conversation through TED-like experiences. The flagship TED Conference is held each year on the west coast, and includes topics on science, business, the arts, technology and global issues. Eighteen-minute talks are interspersed with shorter presentations, including music, performances and comedy.

Former TED speakers include Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Frank Gehry, Paul Simon, Sir Richard Branson, Philippe Starck and Bono.

Since this is the first time Salve Regina will host a Tedx event, Khajarian said the biggest challenge was not having footsteps to follow.

“In other clubs, people would have someone to go back to and ask. There would be something written, with steps of what to do. But we had to figure it out ourselves,” she said. “We all learned a lot. We learned about teamwork; we learned about the university. It's a great thing for Salve as well, since Tedx talks are well-known and searched.”

The TEDx event will be held in DiStefano Lecture Hall in Antone Academic Center on March 25, at 4 p.m. Tickets are available online at tedxsalveregina.salvereginauniversity.com. Prices are $10 for faculty/ students and $20 for the general public.

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