ACCORDING TO CHIKWE Ihekweazu, a TED Fellow and one of the organisers of TEDxEuston, "the purpose of the conference is beautiful in its simplicity; to spread ideas that can change people's perspectives, trigger the subconscious, lead to innovation, and affect every person in a different but significant way. It all sounds somewhat abstract, but that's the beauty of TEDxEuston. It's only abstract until you have felt it, listened, watched and immersed yourself in it."
Ihekweazu, of Nigerian and German decent, is an epidemiologist, currently based in South Africa. Together with a team of 13 African professionals, he organises TEDxEuston on a not-for-profit basis.
TEDxEuston, he explains, is about Africans claiming ownership of their stories. "Many Africans are taking their destinies in their own hands and have done so very successfully," he says, "but how often do we hear their stories in the Western media, or indeed in our reportage of the continent?
"We have not been very good in telling out own stories and this has a huge effect on our societies as we do not see the role models in our dialogue to inspire us to greater heights. TEDxEuston seeks to tell our stories to our friends in the West, but to ourselves as well!"
"With the knowledge that the Western media is predominantly "weighted in favour of negative stories" about Africa, TEDxEuston aims to break that cycle by creating a platform for Africans, who have succeeded in various endeavours, to speak to other Africans. The topics vary and range from their inspirational stories of hope and achievement to innovative African approaches to development.
An offspring of TED, a global nonprofit organisation devoted to using ideas to change attitudes and lives, TEIxEuston wants to reflect the ideas and inspired thinking of a new generation of leaders committed to an active and meaningful engagement with the continent. The idea for TEDxEuston first came to Ihekweazu and a friend, Ike Anya, after they attended TEDAfrica 2007. His excitement prompted him to...