Alan Warburton is lead organizer of what’s believed to be the first-ever TEDx talk in Surrey next year. The team is on the hunt for 12 speakers. (Submitted photo)

Organizers of Surrey TEDx talk seek 12 ‘inspirational’ speakers

The 2019 event is believed to be the first-ever TEDx talk held in Surrey

What’s believed to be Surrey’s first-ever TEDx talk is in the works, and organizers are looking to hear from people who are interested in being one of their 12 speakers.

Retired principal and Ocean Park resident Alan Warburton is organizing the Surrey event, set for April 6 at the Centre Stage theatre at Surrey City Hall.

Warburton was involved in planning a White Rock TEDx talk last year, but when that event didn’t continue for 2018, he thought it was time to start one in Surrey.

“I just love it,” he said of his experience behind the scenes organizing such events, this time under the “TEDxBearCreekPark” license through TED, a non-profit foundation devoted to “spreading ideas,” in the form of “short, powerful talks” usually 18 minutes or less.

“I’ve been part of Toastmasters for 16 years now and I’ve seen the power of inspirational speeches and talks, and what they can do,” Warburton told the Now-Leader. “I see this as something that’s very timely in terms of the complexity of the world we live in. We need to be inspired.”

TED talks, he said, “take us out of the everyday things that we need to deal with and provide us with an opportunity to hear from people who have really important ideas that we can learn from. They have the potential to not only change our thinking, but to change our actions.”

To Warburton’s knowledge, the 2019 event he’s planning is the first TEDx ever held in Surrey and he said the theme will likely centre on inspiration.

At this point, the team is looking at an “Inspiration Lives Here” focus for the event, a play on Surrey’s slogan, “The Future Lives Here.”

“I love the theme of inspiring hearts and minds,” Warburton added, “because that’s really what we want to try and do.”

But Warburton said the theme could change to something that “fits a little better and reflects the community.”

“We’re a rich, culturally diverse community and we would like for the speakers to reflect that, and the audience,” he remarked.

As the 2019 event will be the first TEDx talk held by this organizing team, they are limited to selling 100 tickets, as per TED policy, explained Warburton.

“We’d love to do more than 100, but we’re limited to that. We anticipate they will go very quickly,” he said of the all-day event.

If all goes well, Warburton hopes regular — and larger — TEDx events in Surrey will follow.

“We would love to be able to expand,” he noted. “Our vision right now would be to fill out a performing arts centre. We may not get that in our first year, but we’d be looking to establish it as a major event in Surrey on a regular basis.”

Three information sessions are planned for potential speakers on Nov. 3, 10 and 17 from 9 a.m. to noon at Five Star Catering (5640 188th St.).

“The idea there is people who are interested in being a prospective speaker, have an idea to share, want to understand what TED is, this is a chance to come and learn more about TED and TEDx speaking and how we’re setting up the selection committee to determine the 12 speakers we will be having on the day itself,” said Warburton.

According to a release from TEDxBearCreekPark, presentation topics could range from “human experience, adventure; agriculture; science; technology; medicine; law; human rights; art; music; design; media; entertainment; sports; business; education; spirituality; and the environment.”

Potential speakers looking for more information, or to register to attend one of the upcoming information sessions, are asked to email tedxbearcreekpark@gmail.com.

The April 6 TEDx Talk is set to run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The speakers will address the live audience, as well as a global platform via YouTube.

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