7 March 2013

Students and staff passionate about exchanging extraordinary ideas have secured top speakers for The University of Queensland’s first ever TEDx event on March 23.

TEDx are independently-organised speaking events held to benefit the community by giving industry leaders and high calibre researchers a platform to share their passions with the world.

Third-year biotechnology student and TEDx licencee Lawrence Kurniawan Wong said 100 places were available at the free event called TEDxUQ, the first to be held at UQ.

“We have been lucky enough to attract speakers that cover a diverse range of topics including human minds, robots, impostors, achieving success, genetically modified organisms, and entrepreneurship,” he said.

Lawrence said he’d been interested in TEDx events since he was a first-year student, as the online TED Talk videos had introduced him to “all the best speakers” he’d seen.

“I was in Korea on a UQ Advantage Grant program and the university students there had organised their own TEDx event. I thought, ‘If they can do it, why can’t we?’,” he said.

So, with the support of UQ Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Professor Mick McManus and Director of the Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology, Professor Phil Long, he and a group of students made it happen at UQ, with the plan to film the speakers for uploading to YouTube later.

The organising team hoped to attract a diverse audience, and Lawrence said although they had already attracted more than 180 registrations, the final audience will be selected based on their responses to open-ended questions included to gauge their enthusiasm.

“There is a bit of everything for everyone with a curious mind,” said Lawrence.

Attendees will also get a chance to network and discuss with each other the ideas raised during break and the event’s hosted lunch.

“The line-up of speakers and selected TED Talk videos are intended to spark a dialogue around the theme of The Extraordinary. The event itself will be divided into two sessions, each with their own subtheme, The Extraordinary Human and The Extraordinary Future,” Lawrence said.

Speakers and some of their topics include:

Bruce Sullivan, certified speaking professional, author, and business leader, Red Hot Relationships Pty Ltd. You can’t intention your way to extraordinary!
Thomas Suddendorf, Professor of Cognitive Development, School of Psychology at UQ. Clues about the evolution of our extraordinary minds.
Jimmy Botella, Professor of Plant Biotechnology, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at UQ. Waiter, there is a gene in my soup!
Janet Wiles, Professor of Complex and Intelligent Systems, Information Technology & Electrical Engineering at UQ. Robots talking with robots: How Lingodroids invent their own words for space and time.
Matthew Hornsey, Professor of Social Psychology, School of Psychology at UQ. Imposters: The psychology of pretending to be someone you're not.
Leigh Angus, entrepreneur and Program Director, iLab Start-up Accelerator. Conflict, failure and rebirth: Observations of a [closet] entrepreneur.

The independently organised event, operated under a license from TED, is fully organised by UQ students and staff.

The event is sponsored by The University of Queensland, UQ Union, iLab, UQ School of Psychology, and UQ Faculty of Science.

Media contact: Lawrence Kurniawan Wong (lawrence.wong@uqconnect.edu.au)

More Information

Attending TEDxUQ is free. Registration is open until 9 March 2013.
For more information about the event or how you can get involved, please visit www.tedxuq.com.
Facebook – www.facebook.com/TEDxUQ
Twitter – www.twitter.com/TEDxUQ hashtag #tedxuq

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations).

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Long Beach, California, along with the TEDActive simulcast in Palm Springs; the annual TEDGlobal conference is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

About The University of Queensland

The University of Queensland (UQ) is one of Australia's premier learning and research institutions. UQ’s 45,000-strong student community includes 12,000 postgraduate scholars and 11,000 international students from more than 134 countries. UQ has graduates living in more than 150 overseas countries.