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TEDx brings innovated ideas to the Hall

In an effort to spread innovative ideas from the Seton Hall community and the larger region, Seton Hall will host a TEDx conference on Friday, April 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The conference will include short, 8-18 minute presentations by 8-10 speakers and selected TEDTalk videos of speakers at other TED and TEDx events.

TEDx Seton Hall, according to senior Zishan Jawani, who is organizing the event, is an independently organized event modeled after the TED Conferences.

The conferences are held annually in Long Beach, Calif. where, according to, some of the world's "most fascinating thinker's and doers" share their ideas with each other and the world.

Jawani said that TEDx Seton Hall's theme will be "Asking Big Questions" and each of the speakers will address one of the "big questions" in their fields. Jawani discovered the TEDx program after exploring the TED Web site.

"I wanted to bring TEDx to SHU because I believe that our community has ideas worth spreading and through these ideas we can find ways to make our world a better place and build better servant leaders," Jiwani said.

Improving the world through the spread of ideas is the central aim of the TED program.

According to its Web site, TED is a non-profit organization devoted to "ideas worth spreading." The organization began in 1984 as a conference that sought to bring people from the technology, entertainment and design sectors together to spread and share their ideas with each other.

TED's scope has since broadened to include innovators, thinkers and "doers" in a wide variety of fields.

"We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world," TED's mission statement said. "We're building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other."

While TED itself is an exclusive, invitation-only conference, the organization has realized that "ideas worth sharing" exist in every community and launched its TEDx program, where the x denotes the conference is independently organized.

Since the creation of the TEDx program, Jawani said there have been over 750 licenses issued by TED for TEDx conferences around the world, including at universities like Yale and cities like New York and Austin, Texas.

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According to TEDx Seton Hall organizing committee member Michael Grajales, speakers for the event will come from both inside the Seton Hall community as well as outside the university.

The committee has confirmed four speakers from outside Seton Hall, including Clara Chow, founder and CEO of YouthBank, a small-business incubator that provides street youth in cities like Lagos, Nigeria with the skills and resources to pull themselves out of poverty by founding their own businesses.

Because of restrictions imposed by TED on TEDx Seton Hall as part of the licensing agreement, Jawani said attendance at the conference is capped at 100. Because of the limits, Jawani said interested participants will have to fill out a short application with their contact information and a 100 word statement on why they would like to participate in TEDx.

"I think it is good to have the conference to have a application process because we really want the audience to buy into the experience and get into it," Jawani said. "We aren't looking to make it exclusive, it is just a requirement that we were given."

Applications will be available online at the TEDx Seton Hall Web site after spring break.

Brenden Higashi can be reached at


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