TEDxYerevan, held on Saturday, September 25, 2010, was born of the desire of a group of TED devotees who had already spent months translating TED talks into Armenian. Beyond Borders was chosen as the theme.
The choice of such a theme was natural. Yerevan, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited settlements, has been a place on the global map despite continually changing borders. In the globalized 21st century, where nations and states are searching for new ways to define themselves – beyond borders – Yerevan remains the capital of a state whose people have lived beyond all borders for millennia.
A committee of volunteer organizers and a handful of local sponsors got together to hold TEDxYerevan. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. In the internet world, www.TED.com has become a very popular site for ideas worth spreading, for listening to interesting people around the world with interesting insights and new ideas of global relevance. TED provides general guidance for TEDx programs, but individual TEDx events, including the one in Yerevan, are self-organized.
In the same spirit of ideas worth spreading, at TEDxYerevan, TEDTalk videos and live speakers combined to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.
In an all-day event, 17 speakers, including Serj Tankian via videotape, addressed a 200 person, full-house, invited audience.
The official hosts of the event were Alexis Ohanian and Kristine Sargsyan.
This independent TEDx event was operating under licence from TED.
Here are the speakers and the talks:
Alexis Ohanian: You’ve Lost Control and That’s OK!
Alexis Ohanian, from the US, who contributed actively to securing the TEDx Yerevan event license, had participated in TED conference in 2009, where he presented “the positive impact of social media on solving various issues”. His Yerevan talk was entitled, “You’ve Lost Control (and That’s OK!)”. Alexis, who co-founded Reddit.com with a roommate and watched it to become one of the World Wide Web’s most striking examples of democracy in action, also founded Breadpig, Inc., an “uncorporation” that’s responsible for bringing geeky things into the world.
Vardan Hovhannisyan: The Key To Happiness
Vardan Hovhannisyan, established the Bars Media Documentary Film Studio in 1993, one of the first independent film companies in Armenia. In 2007 his “A story of people in war and peace” won the Best New Documentary Filmmaker prize at the Tribeca Film Festival. Being an award winning documentary filmmaker from Armenia, presented the key to happiness, through his recent film, Donkeymentary, about a village in Kenya, where the only merit of wealth, luck and happiness are donkeys.
Timothy D. Straight: Where is Eurasia?
Timothy D. Straight, born in the US, has spent most of his life outside that country, in Norway for nearly two decades and in Armenia since 2000. After serving in Bosnia as leader of the Norwegian Peoples Aid office during the war, he came to Armenia and headed the Norwegian Refugee Council. He has served as the Norwegian Honorary Consul as well as the Finnish Honorary Consul. His talk, entitled “Where is Eurasia” looked at Europe as geography, mentality and culture.
Sona Hovhannisyan: All I know about Management is Music
Sona Hovhannisyan, a professional pianist turned manager, she said that her life’s most impactful and life-changing leadership experience was with AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run organization. She is currently at an entrepreneurial stage setting up her own company as well as working at a large food-production company as a Learning and Development Manager.
Hrair Hawk Khatcherian: Cancer and the Miracle of Life
Hrair Hawk Khatcherian, a photographer, a globetrotter and a pilgrim, explained how he came to travel 44 countries in the last 17 years, photographing everything from Armenian churches and monuments, to landscapes and portraits, to still lifes and nudes. His talk was entitled, “Cancer and the Miracle of Life”.
Hagop Emrazian: Promoting Learning Within 10 Minutes
Hagop Emrazian, is the Head of Learning & Development at Agility Logistics, responsible for the training function in the Middle East & Africa regions. He flew in from Kuwait to talk about “Promoting Learning within 10 Minutes”. A firm believer in introducing unconventional learning solutions to enhance people’s performance in a multicultural environment, he addresses the importance of self awareness, assertiveness and personal branding.
Paula Devejian on Design Perfection
Paula Devejian, born in Fresno, California, has lived in Armenia since 2001. She currently serves the Armenian Church as the Director of Internet Development at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Her talk, “Design Perfection”, involved her favorite pastime: baking.
Hans Gutbrod on Well Being and Happiness
Hans Gutbrod, lives in Georgia and is the Regional Director of the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), which has conducted multiple research projects, over many years, with a specific emphasis on gathering quality data on social, political, and economic developments across the Caucasus. He used the data from multiple research projects, over many years, to speak about perception of happiness in the South Caucasus countries.
Rich Goldman on Social Media: Engaging Geek-To-Geek
Rich Goldman, vice president of Corporate Marketing and Strategic Alliances for Synopsys and CEO of Synopsys Armenia. It was recognized as the best company in the country by The National Assembly of The Republic of Armenia in 2005.,He said his company, and others like it, should be engaged in Geek to Geek interactions, more than Business to Business.
Nvard Manassian: Question YourSELF If You Want to Have One
Nvard Manasian, an educator, has worked for both governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations in the field of education. As her career has evolved, she has come to believe that whatever we consider to be “sound” education is geared towards perfecting knowledge of the past. She prefers to focus on making sense of new knowledge and transform the self. She intermingled her personal educational challenges with her conviction that one must “Question YourSELF if You Want to Have One”.
Siemon Scamell-Katz – Persuasion: Influencing the Rational Decision Maker
Siemon Scamell-Katz, the international shopper strategy consultant from UK, has spent 17 years researching shoppers in their natural habitats throughout the world. His presentation is about insights into shoppers, how they navigate and make purchase decisions, how persuasion works and and thus how persuasion works and the broader implications on persuading people to think differently.
Meroujan Minassian on Visualizing History
Meroujan Minassian, an architect and the co-founder of the “Ket Architect” firm based in Yerevan.His projects span a wide range of construction types and design styles, for houses, banks, hotels, schools, community centers, churches, as well as interior designs for homes, offices and educational institutions. Meroujan Minassian has participated in international architectural competitions. He presented a multi-dimensional approach to visualizing history.
Serj Tankian on Holographic Performance
Serj Tankian, singer, poet, songwriter, activist, and composer; Serj Tankian has always created music as an outlet to express his thoughts and feelings with a level of passion and consciousness that few in today’s world of music can rival. An Armenian immigrant born in Lebanon and re-rooted in Los Angeles, Tankian was introduced to the melding of cultures, ideas and ideals from a very young age. The principles learned from this integration and adaptation have led to his understanding of the oneness of all things and have since maneuvered and transfigured into the music that he lives to create.
With a mission of spreading diversity and understanding through music, poetry and activism, Serj Tankian will continue to surprise and enlighten those who listen to his music and hear his words.
Anna Yeghoyan: YOUth Can Make a Difference
Anna Yeghoyan has been working in the public sector for the past seven years with the focus on youth development through participation and volunteerism. She currently chairs the international board of directors of the Gyumri-based non-governmental organization “Youth Initiative Center”, of which she is a co-founder. She is also employed in the community, working on women development projects at Armenian Caritas.
Rev. Fr. Ktrij (Armen) Devejian: What Are You Worth?
Rev.Fr. Ktrij (Armen) Devejian, who moved to Armenia from the US nine years ago, entitled his talk, “What Are You Worth?” A licensed architect, he served in the administrations of California Governors George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson. He currently is the Foreign Communications Director for the Catholicosate of All Armenians and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin as well as the pontifical representative for India.
Michael Aram: The Outsider Perspective
Michael Aram, an internationally recognized designer has lived and worked in India since 1989. Michael Aram trained as a painter, sculptor and art historian, and has neatly applied his diverse background to the decorative arts. His work is also a celebration of craft and age-old hand working traditions. It is the enduring fusion of these ideals of originality and craftsmanship that has become the hallmark of this artist. He spoke about the function of the outsider’s perspective in validating local art and craftsmanship.
Raffi Kassarjian on Erectronic Brain Fill
Raffi Kassarjian, Chief Executive Officer of iCON Communications in Yerevan, was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and lived for over 30 years in the US until he moved to Armenia in 2008. He had over 16 years experience in the technology industry. His talk, “Electronic Brain Fill”, had to do with finding ways to reverse brain drain.
Pegor Papazian: Development Professional
Pegor Papazian, Chief Executive Officer of the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia. Previously, Pegor was head of project development at the United States Agency for International Development. Prior to his position with USAID, he was Vice President of Strategy and Product Development at Prosum Inc., which was ranked among the United States’ top 200 fastest growing private companies by Inc500. He spoke about theories of development and ways to catalyze development.