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TEDXSanJoaquin: Just the Right Amount of Wrong

Sep 6, 2012

Imagine being thrust onto a stage in front of thousands of people and being told you have exactly 18 minutes to change the lives of everyone in the audience -- or at least get them to change the way they think about a certain issue.

No pressure, of course.

Welcome to the world of TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design), the wildly popular conference where speakers from all walks of life have given presentations on topics ranging from why all of us have a duty to vote to how everyone is tying their shoes wrong and how that impacts self-esteem. Those speeches are videotaped and then posted online for everyone to see.

That model of symposium is coming to Stockton on Oct. 10 in the form of the second annual TEDxSanJoaquin. Held at University of the Pacific, this conference will feature local and regional speakers who have been tasked to give the "speech of their lives" on the topic of challenging the status quo.

Last year's TEDxSanJoaquin focused on "revolutionary ideas" and attracted more than 100  attendees. More than 2,000 people watched the program live online, and several of the videos produced from the event have since received hundreds of thousands of views. With this success, TEDxSanJoaquin 2012 will expand to include more than 2,850 participants - accommodating 850 live attendees and drawing a projected 2,000 national and international online viewers.

"My experience at TEDxSanJoaquin was truly incredible," said Hamza Siddiqui, who spoke at last year's event. "To share the stage with visionaries and pioneers from around the world was an extraordinary opportunity for a student like me. Seeing the worldwide response and discussion that arose from my own talk on YouTube and other social media platforms was especially memorable."

Siddiqui, a Pacific student at the time of the event, recited several original poems that he had written. The poems addressed issues around the Muslim-American experience and the different forms of racism and prejudice that Muslims face.

Other speeches presented last year included topics such as "fast food farming," spider webs, the "green" economy and "why corporate doesn't get it."

Pacific alumnus Martín Burt of Fundación Paraguay was one of 15 entrepreneurs, innovators and revolutionary thinkers who spoke at Tedx San Joaquin in 2011. This year’s theme, “Just the Right Amount of Wrong,” will highlight innovative ideas, visionary leadership, and unique artists who continually challenge the status quo.

"TEDxSanJoaquin 2012 will feature speakers who offer a fresh perspective and address current issues within our community, country, and the world," said Jerry Hildebrand, executive director of Pacific's Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship, which organized the event. "We live in a complex world, and in order to realize genuine social change and innovation, we must challenge ourselves to think critically but also differently. That's what TEDx does: It exposes people to new ideas or new ways of approaching old ideas."

For Benjamin Saffold, founder of the Dear Stockton project, that's exactly what TEDxSanJoaquin did.

"While attending TEDxSanJoaquin last year, I was exposed to the Dear World project, and I was so impacted by that big idea that I started the Dear Stockton Project within a matter of weeks," he said. "Hundreds of positive images, thousands of positive impressions, citywide media coverage, a public art piece, a mural and a year later, I return to the well from which the inspiration for Dear Stockton sprung forth ready to act on my next big idea."

Besides exploring the theme of "Just the Right Amount of Wrong," the day-long symposium also will display the winners of the "The City 2.0: Stockton" initiative. For the past few months, both community leaders and local high school students have been submitting their solutions to Stockton's problems, including its high drop-out rate, low employment rate and high crime rate. Five projects likely to spark the creation of "Stockton 2.0" will be awarded $500 grants to put toward their ideas and a free ticket to attend TEDxSanJoaquin.  Additionally, 25 high school essay contest winners will be awarded $50 youth leadership grants and are invited to attend the live event.

The speakers for TEDxSanJoaquin are carefully selected for their inspired thinking and accomplishments. This year's speakers will include Pacific students, faculty, staff, administrators, local and regional leaders, and people who have gained national and international recognition for their ideas. In the TED tradition, they will be challenged to give "the talk of their life" in 18 minutes or less.

TEDxSanJoaquin is a public event and all are welcome to attend. Full day tickets are $40 per person for community member and $15 for all students when presenting a valid student ID.  Flexible and VIP ticket options are also available. Tickets may be purchased at the Pacific Box Office (209.946.2UOP).  Registration will begin at 8 am and the event is scheduled from 10:30 am to 6 pm.

The event is being sponsored by the Ron and Marty Cordes Foundation, University of the Pacific, the Stockton Convention Center, the Port of Stockton, Stockton Hilton Hotel, and the Financial Center Credit Union.

To find out more about TedxSanJoaquin 2012 or view videos of speakers from last year, visit TedxSanJoaquin.org.


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