TED Running At Oxford

TEDGlobal 2009 currently running at Oxford. It has an amazingly diverse range of speakers.

Intro to Stephen Fry’s talk is here (AudioBoo) and Gordon Brown made a surprise guest appearance yesterday.

You can also find a great selection of videos from previous events here – certainly worth a look, there’s something for more-or-less everyone.

On their site they pose a very honest question: Is TED elitist?

That’s a word to be very careful with. The answer is yes (in a good way), but also no.

It’s certainly true that the majority of those attending the annual TED conference have been extremely successful in some field or other, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. But financial success (which is what “elitism” sometimes implies) is not the key measure. TED attendees include thought leaders and innovators from a surprisingly broad range of endeavor: technology, entertainment, design, science, business, global issues, philanthropy and the arts. Because of their recognized achievements, most of these people can afford the $6,000 standard membership fee. But in the past few years we’ve taken several steps to further diversify the audience:

  • We’ve expanded significantly the number of non-US attendees, and also the number of women.
  • We hold 20 audience places every year for people from the educational and nonprofit worlds who otherwise couldn’t afford to attend. They pay one-third of the normal fee.
  • And starting this year, we have 30 places for TED Fellows, who will pay nothing to attend.

Some background:

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with the annual TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK, TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Program, the new TEDx community program, this year’s TEDIndia Conference and the annual TED Prize.

The annual conferences in Long Beach and Oxford bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

On TED.com, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free. More than 450 TEDTalks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks feature closed captions in English, and many feature subtitles in various languages. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.

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