Speakers at the second annual Independent Medellin Ted Talks presented promising initiatives and inspirational ideas for Colombia’s future Thursday.
The event brought together local and international speakers from various fields including business, politics, and technology, to discuss this year’s theme: Overcoming Adversity. Presentations of inventions and projects took place alongside philosophical discussions, during six hours of talks to to a packed auditorium at the University Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB).
The online audience was possibly even more important. “I wanted to try to share the ideas of the brilliant people of Medellin and Colombia on a global platform, like that of TED. It’s a world where inspiring ideas are shared, ideas for characters who want to transcend humanity with their thoughts and projects,” said Angela Moreno Guerrero, a Medellin lawyer who organized the event.
Alejandro Echeverri, a world-famous Colombian architect who designed UPB, as well as leading the transformation of Medellin through the constuction of beautiful libraries, parks and schools in the city’s poorest areas, talked about architecture as a mechanism of social and political and change.
Berhrokh Khoshnevis, an engineer and professor at the University of Southern California, presented his business model for 3D printing which has the potential to quickly and affordably build housing for Colombia’s displaced population. Khoshnevis builds machines that can be programmed to construct houses without human labor.
“I didn’t know much about Colombia before but it is a very refreshing surprise to me to see that it is a really alive country with a lot of hope and my hunch is that it is going to be a very successful Latin American country,” said Khoshnevis.
Other talks were more philosophical, considering questions like the pursuit of dreams, and the idea that empathy is necessary for a functional society.
The list of speakers included seasoned professionals as well as emerging talents such as Federico Hoyos, a political commentator and professor at the EAFIT University in Medellin, who won a contest to present his idea “Waking Democracy” — the idea that people need to wake up and engage in their political process. For Hoyos, “it was a great honor to be speaking with these kind of people.”
The conference also featured a live performance form local hip hop artist and development activist Jeison Alexander Castano aka Jeicho.
The full conference will be available on the TedxTalks website within two weeks.