Tickets to a series of TEDx lectures held at Antilles School’s Prior-Jollek Hall, the first of their kind to be held on St. Thomas, were sold out on Saturday morning as fans of the popular series of talks gathered to hear speakers on subjects ranging from optics to agriculture.
TED is a nonprofit organization founded in 1984, whose name is an acronym for technology, entertainment and design. Its mission is "the spread of ideas." The organization holds a multidisciplinary conference and lecture series annually in Vancouver, Canada.
TEDx events, like the one held on St. Thomas, are smaller independently organized lecture series that use the TED license. St. Thomas’s TEDx event was organized by residents Leigh Goldman, Laura Harwig and Brigitte Berry, who said their aim was to bring together a diverse set of speakers with ideas relevant to the V.I. community. Each of the speakers was recorded on video and their lectures will be made available for free viewing online.
There was a little something for everyone at Saturday’s event.
Antilles alumni Lukas Neely, a former hedge fund portfolio manager and author of "Value Investing: A Value Investor’s Journey through the Unknown," looked pleased to be back on his old high school campus as he kicked things off with a slideshow demonstrating a model for financial investment he has developed.
Hadiya Sewer, a St. Johnian doctoral student in the Africana Studies Department, shared her thoughts and research on race and racism in American colonies in a lecture that cited intellectuals such as Anthony Bogues and Aimé Césaire.
Nate Olive, director of Ridge to Reef farm on St. Croix, spoke about the limits of current thinking on "sustainable agriculture," suggesting that humanity’s goal should be to go beyond simple sustainability to a more full integration of people into what he called "their food systems." Olive also gave out mangos grown on his farm to the audience after his lecture.
Scientist Mark Changizi gave a presentation on the treatment of colorblindness in medical professionals, saying that colorblindness can be a form of health blindness since it interferes with our species’ unique ability to see coloring related to veins, lyanosis, bruising, inflammation, pallor and rash.
"By understanding the evolutionary origins and function of color vision [in primates], we were able to help diagnose and fix health blindness," said Changizi.
Other lectures included explorations of digital technology and society by Ben Halpert and Amit Mipuri, the importance of character by U.S. Navy SEAL Kevin Williams, image-making and cultural preservation by David Berg, and sea turtle habitat conservation in the Virgin Islands by Scott Eanes.
Organizer Berry said she’d like to see TEDx St. Thomas continue next year "with perhaps some members of the current audience up on stage."
More can be learned about the TEDx events at www.ted.com/tedx.