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Responding to the petition to disinvite George Papandreou from TEDGlobal

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An online petition was posted early this past weekend, asking that “the TEDGlobal conference organizers remove George Papandreou from the speakers list.”

Papandreou is the former prime minister of Greece. He was prime minister in 2009, when the euro crisis flared up. Under pressure from the markets and from Greek citizens protesting harsh austerity measures, he resigned in 2011 to make way for a national unity government.

He has been invited to share his views on these events and other themes at TEDGlobal 2013, which will take place in three weeks. With all due respect for those who have signed the petition, the TEDGlobal program won’t change. Papandreou’s experience as the PM of his country during a phase of political and economic turmoil is an interesting lens into the broader problems that continue to trouble Europe. That’s why we invited him to TEDGlobal. What he learned from his period in office gives him a rare insiders’ viewpoint, at a crucial moment for the continent.

For the record, any politicians coming to TED are asked to give a talk that is framed around ideas and insights, rather than partisanship. And like all our speakers, Papandreou is not being paid to speak at TEDGlobal.