TEDGlobal > Geneva: Bringing Global Ideas Back to Portsmouth, NH for TEDxPiscataquaRiver

by Crystal Paradis-Catanzaro
There is something amazing about coming together with people from all over the world, who are all focused on discovering and spreading ideas in their communities.


I went to Geneva, a global capital of humanitarian efforts, peace and cultural diplomacy, for TEDGlobal > Geneva, along with 500 other TEDx organizers who came to learn from each other, get inspired and share ideas.

And when I say “get inspired,” I don’t mean hearing an “inspirational” story and walking away feeling good — I mean hearing important ideas that have sparked change in another city or country or continent, and being inspired to bring that idea back your own community.

TEDx Geneva

Reza Ghiabi is from Iran, and he is the organizer of TEDxTehran. In a city where gatherings of 3 or more people are largely outlawed, TEDxTehran has managed to host events of 1,000 people, coming together to nurture local talent and ideas and share them with the community.


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Antonella Broglia is from Spain, and she organizes TEDxMadrid. When she saw a community coming together to transform the underside of a bridge dividing two disparate neighborhoods (one very wealthy, one very poor), she brought together the artists and innovators together in a TEDx salon event, to give a global platform to their ideas which were transforming their neighborhoods.


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These stories are unique, but their diversity, locality and universality is representative of the many TEDx stories I heard at TEDGlobal>Geneva — both from the stage and face to face.


TEDx organizers across the board care deeply about their surroundings and have the desire to make them even better. I know that’s what drove me to be involved with TEDxPiscataquaRiver; I love Portsmouth deeply and knew that it would be receptive to new and exciting ideas, and also would contribute those ideas to the broader world.


Being around like-minded people with nearly the same challenges from all over the world was incredibly inspiring and moving. And beyond that, we were able to hear from amazing people like Melissa Fleming, who is the Head of Communications for UNHCR, the UN’s Refugee Agency. More from THAT experience in my next article (it really does deserve its own!).


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Photo by Venus Loi

In addition to many actionable and helpful ideas for our next Portsmouth TEDx event, I also took away from the event an enormous heart stuffed fuller than I knew possible.


It was filled with hope, renewed faith in humanity, new friendships with leaders from all over the world, creative energy and the knowledge that this thing we do in sharing ideas really does make a tangible difference.


For more info on the TEDGlobal event, see the official TED recap blog.


View a full gallery of all the photos I took, on Flickr:


View full gallery on Flickr