Spreading ideas and celebrating a successful year in Germany

On September 29 2020, the first-ever virtual TEDxKanzlerPark Conference organized by fellows of the German Chancellor Fellowship and supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Alumniportal Deutschland took place. Interested people from around the world joined the online event. The program comprised 14 speakers in the three thematic blocks Societal Change, The Future, and Climate Action. Besides inspiring talks and discussion sessions, participants in the conference also enjoyed a musical performance by Russian clarinetist Ruzaliia Kasimova and a guided meditation with Philipp Nowak from Mindfulife. The Alumniportal has spoken to the organizers of the event.

How did the idea of the TEDx event come up?

Organizers: At the closing session of the Orientation Seminar of the German Chancellor Fellowship in October 2019, a group of fellows reflected on the ways their fellowship year can contribute to forging and initiating more academic global collaborations and, importantly, how the outcome of their work could be highlighted to emphasize the value of spending a year at the German host institution.

One of the main insights of this session was that many fellows struggled with finding previous references of what their projects should look like and connecting with the experiences and projects of the previous BUKAs in a way that would present a clear notion of these projects and experiences and allow building on that. Along with that, many fellows underlined the necessity to further build their profiles and portfolios as public speakers and experts on their subject matters to fulfil their leadership and academic potential.

TEDx as the global brand and a grassroots initiative with the audience of over 22.5 million people seemed to be a perfect platform for that.

The organizing team

Anastasia Sukhomlinova is a German Chancellor Fellow, entrepreneur and journalist from Moscow. At the age of 23 she co-founded a business. During her German Chancellor Fellowship she was hosted by the Harriet Taylor Mill Institute, where she analyzed the ecosystem for female founders in Germany.

Elena Lipilina founded a non-profit organization, Wamsport, in 2014 to empower women in Russia and globally by developing women’s amateur sports and advocating gender equality in sport and beyond. During her German Chancellor Fellowship, Elena worked on the project of the Women’s Summer Games as a vehicle to drive women’s empowerment and inclusion through sport.

Marlus Oliveira is a lawyer from Brazsil with 10 years of experience who is working in the fields of environmental and public law. He spent his German Chancellor Fellowship at the Technische Universität Braunschweig.

Where does the title “TEDx Kanzlerpark” stem from?

Organizers: We wanted to come up with the name that would contain the reference of who we are and what we do, of our community. TEDx Kanzlerpark was the perfect title that symbolizes a bridge between the global brands of TED and the German Chancellor program. It gives an almost direct reference to the program and its fellows, as the Kanzlerpark is geographically the closest place to the Chancellery. And the fellowship program is under the patronage of the Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Why TEDx?

Organizers: TED is a global brand that has a massive amount of followers and provides almost instant elevation to the profiles of the speakers who take part in it. TED and its franchised TEDx events have taken science communication to a whole new level, bringing science closer to the audience and teaching scientists to convey their ideas in a powerful and memorable way. Being a TED or a TEDx speaker has become a mark of success, charisma, bright ideas and overall excellence - just like being a German Chancellor Fellow. And this is something that we wanted to encourage in our fellow stipendiaries.

TEDx

“Ideas worth spreading” is TED's motto. And if you want to spread your ideas yourself, TEDx gives you the opportunity to organize a local TED conference. If you want to organize a TEDx event, you can apply for a free license that contains certain requirements, e.g. to design the stage or to publish the lectures as a video. There are different types of TEDx events: events at universities, for children, on specific topics or events that take place at regular intervals. If you want to find our more, check out the TEDx website.

Do you have any advice or tips for others that would like to organize such an event?

Organizers: Frankly - to have a team like ours :) Because organizing an event like this takes a lot of effort, joint coordination, focus, time and experience which we had. Anastasia has experience organizing TEDx events so she knows everything about requirements and stages of preparation. Elena has organized high-level offline and digital expert events during her work at the World Bank so she was able to build and conceptualize the program. Marlus is a highly creative PhD candidate who, among other things, sifted through all the draft talks to advise the speakers on the scientific aspects.

All in all, under the normal circumstances the preparation for the TEDx event should be at least 10 months to produce high-quality content and make sure the event goes smoothly so our tip would be to start as early as possible, start working with the speakers, motivate them and help them produce the ideas that are worth spreading and can highlight their experiences.

The German Chancellor Fellowship

The German Chancellor Fellowship Programme is targeted at university graduates from the United States, the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, Brazil and India who have an international outlook and initial leadership experience. It addresses prospective decision-makers, multipliers and thought leaders from a broad range of professional fields such as politics, public administration and business as well as society and culture. The fellowships give them the opportunity to spend a year in Germany networking with other prospective leaders from abroad, who are also sponsored by the Humboldt Foundation, and to explore new solutions to the global issues of our times. To find out more check the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s website.

Author: Daniela Becker

Pictures:

header: host Zak Reimer in the Theater im Delphi in Berlin (photo: Hannah Wilson)

in text: organisators Anastasia Sukhomlinova (r.) and Elena Lipilina (l.) with host Zak Reimer (photo: Hannah Wilson)

October 2020

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