U of M community inspires at inaugural TEDxUManitoba
Researchers, alumni and students from the University of Manitoba captivated audience members in person and online at the inaugural TEDxUManitoba, held yesterday at the Fort Garry campus. From nano-medicine that targets diseased cells to the surprising intelligence of birds, speakers showcased the visionary work being done at the U of M across multiple disciplines.
The independent event — held under the banner of the popular TED series — was organized by a group of students committed to spreading powerful ideas that use technology, entertainment or design in ways that challenge the status quo.
“I loved seeing people from all areas of the University of Manitoba come together to take part in the inaugural TEDxUManitoba,” said Tanjit Nagra, marketing and social media coordinator for TEDxUManitoba and second-year student in the Faculty of Arts. “From team members, to audience and speakers — we saw undergraduate students, grad students, staff and members of alumni participate. It was great to see so many people engaged in the event.”
While the event was streamed online for all, in-person attendees were selected from a pool of over 400 applicants. Carly Isaak, a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences was one of 100 lucky participants chosen to be in the audience.
“I really enjoyed the intimacy of the event,” said Isaak. “When David Barber was presenting his research on sea ice loss, he was talking about these very serious issues, but it felt like he was having a relaxed, one-on-one conversation with you.”
Barber, a Canada Research Chair in Arctic System Science and director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science, related the atmosphere at TEDxUManitoba to that of public squares in ancient Greece.
“TED talks are loosely based on a form of communication that has been around for a very long time,” said Barber. “In fact, it was the Greeks who perfected this type of discourse — having their intellectual discussions and sipping on Retsina wine, resplendent in their togas. These discussions, in the Greek agoras, ultimately led to the earliest higher-learning centres, including the early universities of the Middle East and the medieval university system of Europe.”
Barber commended his fellow presenters and students for organizing an event that was “second to none for the U of M — and for Manitoba writ large.”
“To coin the phrase that TED uses — Manitoba certainly has many ‘ideas worth spreading,’” he added.