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SIU TED Talk event is looking for presenters

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Sienna Walaszek TEDxSIUC

Sienna Walaszek's presentation, "Connecting to Our Inner Child," was part of the 2020 TEDxSIUC event. Organizers are looking for speakers for the 2023 at SIU. 

Have an idea worthy of sharing or a new approach or perspective on the world around us? Thought leaders and innovators are invited to be among those considered for the 2023 TEDxSIUC, a program planned for Southern Illinois University to share ideas worth spreading.

The effort is licensed by the TED conferences non-profit which holds events and posts online videos featuring speakers, presenters and performers on a wide variety of topics. Applications are now being accepted to be part of the Southern Illinois event, set for March 4, 2023 at the SIU Student Center.

A TEDxSIUC was also held in 2020 with eight presentations. Organizers hope for a similar number of speakers this year.

“A TED event is essentially a panel of speakers, each bringing their own unique idea,” explained organizer Matthew Sebalja, a senior in marketing from Fenton, Missouri. “Every single speech has a set objective that the speaker wants the audience to learn.”

He said each presentation ranges from five to 18 minutes and presenters come from a variety of backgrounds.

“It could be an expert in the field of psychology, a business owner, an Olympic athlete or someone else,” he said.

Sebalja and other organizers will review all of the applications (which consist of an online form and a short video clip) to choose eight presenters for the spring event. The TEDxSIUC website said the group is seeking “speakers who are doing amazing work in their field and want to share that work ... something truly unique and important to share … ideas should challenge the audience to think about things in a different way.”

The program is an outreach of the SIU Office of Student Engagement, but is open to the public both as applicants to present and as attendees at the March 4 panel.

“TEDxSIUC provides our community with an opportunity to share knowledge and ideas, generate conversations on various topics and learn. We need to continue to provide opportunities for growth throughout the community and region, and this is one of the best ways we can do that,” said Tena Bennett, assistant vice chancellor of student affairs and auxiliary enterprises at SIU.

“This is basically a chance for people to get their ideas out,” said Nicole Gray, program assistant at SIU’s Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center. “Whether it is a big idea, small idea, or new take on an old idea, it all is what the TED organization embodies. TEDxSIUC gives us a chance to bring that spirit to a smaller community.”

Gray said the organizing committee has received “some pretty cool applications so far,” and added that they are open to reviewing everything from science presentations to motivational speeches and more. “The TED stage is open to performances or art as well as information.”

Information and applications to be part of the 2023 TEDxSIUC is available at online at https://tedx.siu.edu/. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 24.

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