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TEDx UWCMC: Shifting Lenses

30th Nov 2015 by admin - , (0) Comment



In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, UWCMC organized its first TEDx event on 6th December, 2015. TEDx conferences are forums for people to share locally driven ideas on a global stage, an ideology perfectly in line with the UWC mission. The theme of the student-led conference was ‘shifting lenses’- an appropriate way of showing the diverse perspectives and ideas present on our campus.

With an audience of about a 100 people, there were eight talks, four from our own students and the others from external speakers contacted by the UWCMC TEDx team. The talks ranged from personal stories such as that of the Danish first year, Vilhelm Juhler Kjaer, who reflected on his experience of being away from home and saying goodbye multiple times in the relationships he made in his life, to motivational ‘life hacks’ against procrastination, shared by Dr. Shishir Palsapure, a practising psychotherapist  from Pune. Other external speakers included entrepreneur Kalpesh Gawali, innovator and entrepreneur Vishnu Swaminathan and young entrepreneur Akshay Agarwal, founder of online ventures ‘Ukhadlo’ and ‘ClassFever’. Students and volunteers at UWCMC joined them, namely Marjorie Naila from USA, talking about bisexual discrimination, Sidhartha Jha on the topic of ‘duplicature’ and first year Shayena Shah reflecting on a project called SaniStitch that works on maintaining maternal health and hygiene.

The entire event was available worldwide via live stream, captured by MUWCI TV, an on-campus service programme led by students with skills in photography and videography. After weeks of tremendous amounts of work put into the conference, Director of the UWCMC TEDx and a speaker at the TEDx Coimbatore conference 2013, Saket Sekhsaria talked about his desire to make the first TEDx happen at UWC and the reasons behind why this was really important to him: TEDx provides an unbelievably strong platform to spread your ideas and take them to the next level. Many people have great ideas, few people work towards them, and a select few possess the rigor, discipline, and passion to make their ideas come to fruition. TEDx is a celebration of these people and their work, which to me is an appreciation that was long overdue at UWCMC.”

The audience left feeling proud of the TEDx core team, their peers, who had put months of work and commitment into making this event possible, contacting speakers, arranging logistics and creating buzz around the event.

“The main theme and point of organizing TEDx event at UWCMC was the sharing of ideas. And I believe that TEDxUWCMC did that very efficiently,” says Devendra, a member of the audience.” “The plethora of new ideas presented across the wide spectrum was definitely impressive. The event was well-organized despite a few technical difficulties. Overall, most of the speakers did a good job of presenting their ideas and spreading their enthusiasm to me with the same intensity that they feel it.”

After a day of hard work, the entire organizing team was ready to collapse of exhaustion. However, they managed to achieve something significant – they established the groundwork for TEDx, so that their peers could renew the UWCMC TEDx licence and take this innovative initiative forward, making sure UWCMC fulfils its quota for receiving and sharing ideas that are truly worth spreading.

Stuti Behari (Class of ’17)



What’s TEDx?

A TEDx conference brings together thinkers and innovators who present their original ideas that lend themselves to any discipline – from technology to business.

Who will speak?

Entrepreneurs, innovators, doctors, and young changemakers.

What is our theme?

TEDxUWCMC’s first theme is “Shifting Lenses,” which aims to challenge current attitudes toward problem-solving and bring our attention to new, innovative solutions. This will be induced not only through the talks during the event but also through the rigorous, critical discussions that viewers participate in after the event. As the event date etches closer, it is our hope that the talks will help refine old solutions or provide new solutions, which would not only benefit our little hilltop but the world as a whole.

Here are our speakers:

External Speakers

1. Kalpesh Gawali

Kalpesh is a young entrepreneur with a strong passion in driving the younger generation to a sustainable future. He co-founded “Nutrino Energy” a venture providing a clean and sustainable energy source. He is the 2nd youngest certified climate leader and mentor in The Climate Reality Project. He is currently working in collaboration nationally and internationally in Climate Change, Travel, Youth, Opportunity & Empowerment and Marketing. He will give a talk on clean and sustainable energy. The theme of “shifting lenses” is used in describing how people can get out of the ‘traditional life’ in order to lead to a passion-driven life. He will explain further about his interpretation on “no risk no reward” statement. His personal experience will be included regarding his works that helped people’s lives by providing electricity to them.

2. Vishnu Swaminathan

Vishnu has more than 14 years of experience as an entrepreneur and innovator. He started two IT based companies in Singapore in the areas of financial transactions and animation technology. He then moved to India to head a leadership school based in Pune, where he led the school’s social effort by creating a independent Centre for Social Development. He has also run an assignment with National Innovation Foundation, a government sponsored organization working on grassroots Innovation at national level in India. He is the representative for Ashoka foundation in South East Asia. Mr Vishnu will give a talk on how changemaker schools are capable in producing the change-makers needed by the world today. The theme of this TEDx event in this talk will be about the skills taught to these change-makers should be and the features of the schools per se.

3. Dr Shishir Palsapure

Dr. Shishir Palsapure MD MSc a practicing psychotherapist with vast experience; he is an Associate Fellow, Rational Emotive & Cognitive Behaviour Therapy supervisor certified by the prestigious Albert Ellis Institute, New York, NY, USA. Dr. Shishir is the youngest certified Supervisor-Trainers of Psychotherapists. He practices Psychotherapy at Care Hospital, Nagpur. His area of specialization is Cognitive and Rational Emotive Behavior therapy. He will give a talk on the topic of “procrastination”. In his talk, he will explain the elements of procrastination and what drive people into committing this. By using the theme of “shifting lenses”, he will attempt to change the audience’s perspective on this and hopefully will reduce the level of procrastination committed.

4. Akshay Agrawal

Akshay is a young entrepreneur and a founder of two successful online ventures – Ukhadlo and ClassFever. Ukhadlo is an online networking platform which connects Entrepreneurs, Investors, Incubators, and Accelerators to ideate and launch start-ups. ClassFever is a venture of an online Live Ranking portal for school across India which ranks schools based on Statistical analyses and Parent and student Feedback. His talk will be about holistic element of entrepreneurship on the perspective of a teenager. He will give a talk that will change people’s perspective especially teenagers on entrepreneurship as what TEDxUWCMC theme suggests.

Internal Speakers

1. Marjorie Tunu Naila

Naila’s talk will be on bisexual discrimination in which she will mention about how people nowadays discriminate bisexual people by often misunderstood the use of the word per se. This is important to ponder upon and work with as large statistics showed how these people involved with depression and also suicide due to this type of discrimination. The talk moves the audience in understanding what and how the support should be given to the bisexuals or LGBTQ in general either financially or psychologically. Naila is a volunteer at UWCMC and is a UWC alumna (UWCSEA, Class of ’15)

2. Sidhartha Jha

Sidhartha touches upon the topic of “Duplitecture” where he will describe how duplicated work can also contribute in this world. The curiosity of turning a negative element into something beneficial is what makes him to come up with the topic. This talk is important as it changes people’s perspective on the further development of the work that has been copied. Sidhartha is a second year at UWCMC (Class ’16)

3. Vilhelm Juhler Kjaer

Vilhelm will introduce the positive approach to the action of saying goodbye in his talk. His talk will capture the audience’s attention through his attempt to attach positivity into actions we consider inherently negative, through the use of personal examples. His idea is important as a means to inculcate ways of making a life after saying goodbye, adaptable.

4. Shayena Shah

Shayena works on a project on maternal health and hygiene called SaniStitch where she conducts workshops that educate women on making reusable menstrual products. Her talk will be on menstrual hygiene where she will describe the importance of keeping self-healthy during menstrual cycle. The theme of “shifting lenses” in this talk is when the audience’s perspective on menstrual hygiene changes in a way proved by the successful project she is leading.

For more information and updates on the event, please follow our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tedxuwcmc

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