Youth TED Conversations

Join TED Conversations about youth

As we approach TEDxYouthDay alongside our very first TEDYouth event, we’re curious to hear what you have to say about all things youth-related. Each week until the last day of TEDxYouthDay, a youth-related question will be asked on TED Conversations. We invite you to sign up or log-in using your TED.com account and jump in the Conversation!

This week’s youth-related question is, “Do you have a story about when a young person first watched a TEDTalk or TEDxTalk? What happened?

I certainly remember what happened when I first watched a TEDTalk. A friend had sent me a link to Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on how schools kill creativity. I was simply amazed that this professor who works in a prestigious academic institution was giving a talk on things that I never imagined anyone in education would have the guts to say…publicly!


I wrote in my journal all the thoughts it had inspired in me and the solutions I would love to try. I then sent the video to 10 of my friends from college and high school via Facebook. I was 19 or 20 at the time. Now, I’m 23 and I still remember how watching Sir Ken Robinson’s talk made my brain explode with inspiration and a new sense of awareness about the world around me.

What about you?


If you missed our previous youth-related Conversations in honor of TEDxYouthDay, we invite you to take a look at what others had to say. Here’s a quick recap of the Conversations started and comments we received:

Week 1: What is the single most important question that the youth of this era need to ask themselves?

Nanjira Sambuli:
We need to ask ourselves, especially youth in Africa, who are ever on a crossroads between the old and new school of thought,(what Prof. Ayittey refers to as the hippo vs cheetah generation…http://goo.gl/Dvg7p) whether through our words/silence, actions/inactions we are part of the problem or the solution.

Harold Saxon:
Where are we going? I feel like a lot of my peers are just sort of living without thinking about the future and I think we could really benefit from some… direction, I guess.

Simone Lackerbauer:
“How can I make a change with the technical and communicational possibilities I have today which my grandparents did not have fifty years ago?” — New media, innovative communication technologies, virtual platforms for debates: we take all these things for granted, spend hours on polishing our Facebook profiles, but forget to ask how we could make use of them for the future of humanity.

Week 2: What does it take to make the youth take charge and feel responsible for their own initiatives?

Matt Lane
Integrate community decision making (town halls, local businesses, and schooling programs) processes into the daily activities of our lives.

Ginger Tetreault
I think its rare to have found what you’re passionate about in life as a youth. Many are not taught to recognize it. We often learn to base our decisions on the wrong reasoning such as greed, status and the like but not the value of honoring and following that which we are most passionate.

So you ask, What does it take? I believe it takes teaching youth to recognize their true path in life where they will excel because they have been naturally drawn to an initiative which matches how they work most effortlessly and that which holds their interest. I think we would all agree that it has become a challenge to ‘hold the interest’ of today’s youth brought up in an electronic era where the internet delivers answers instantly, food can be ordered and received in ‘minutes’ and technology more efficient as each year passes. This era has also bred impatience.

If youth could more frequently see the result and consequences of their actions it would truly resonate with them. If they could see the bigger picture they would see another person their age, somewhere else in the world ‘dreaming’ of having the same opportunity as they have in their hands.

Week 3: What have you learned from a young person recently?

Debra Smith
I have a 20 year old daughter who grew up with four brothers. She understands men far better than I do and I learn a lot from her about being a modern woman.

Chandramouli Dorai
I’m just back from my walking. I saw a 6 year old kid giving small trees to every one on the road. I just went to him and asked why he is giving that to all? He said its his birthday. After speaking with him I have also decided to celebrate my birthday in this way.

What conversation would you have with the youth on TEDxYouthDay? Start it today on TED Conversations.