TEDxChange to focus on Global health issues | ParkRecord.com

TEDxChange to focus on Global health issues

TED, an acronym for technology, entertainment and design, is a nonprofit organization that started in 1984 with a goal to cultivate "Ideas Worth Spreading." It began as a conference that would bring people from the technology, entertainment and design worlds together.

TEDx is a localized concept taken from the original group that helps people, communities and organizations learn and discuss issues through TED-like experiences and conferences.

Park City has its own TED champion in Teri Orr, executive director of the Park City Performing Arts Foundation, and she will host the next TEDxChange at the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, April 5, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The event will feature 90-minutes of live streaming from a TED presentation from Berlin, Germany, by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

"They will talk about global health issues," Orr said during an interview with The Park Record.

The upcoming event is the product of the Gates Foundation.

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"They had a TEDxChange in September, 2010, and the Park City Performing Arts Foundation was part of that event," Orr said. "We were invited to be a partner with them again. We are one of 150 global TED partners."

In addition to the live stream, the Park City event will feature local live speakers, entertainment and refreshments.

Local presenters will be travel writer Lavinia Spalding, West Point graduate and author Donna McAleer, Brigham Young University professor Dr. Paul Johnston, cardiologist Dr. Nassir Marouche and singer/composer Mary Beth Maziarz.

"Lavinia is an adventurer," Orr said. "She had traveled the globe and will speak about having meaningful experiences while traveling."

McAleer’s book "Porcelain on Steel" is about what it takes to be a successful woman attending West Point.

"Donna, who is also a member of the National Bobsled Team, will talk about women in leadership positions," Orr explained.

Johnston’s presentation will be about global nutrition.

"Paul is a Brigham Young University professor who has done work in nutrition for decades, specifically in Kenya," Orr said. "He will speak about his experiences."

Marouche, one of the top cardiologists in his field, will speak about his training and profession.

"He was born in Lebanon and is now based at the University of Utah," Orr said.

Finally, Maziarz, whose music has been heard on the TV programs "Party of Five," "Joan of Arcadia" and "Everwood," will speak on creativity.

"She will also do some performing for us," Orr said. "And there will some surprises as well, because there always are."

The lunch period is an important part of the TEDxChange because that’s where some of the magic happens, Orr said.

"After people have seen and heard the presentations, they are all excited to talk about them and ask how do we take these global lessons and apply them locally," she said. "During lunch, we can all talk to each other about the concepts and ideas."

The first time Orr participated in a TED event was in 2008, and she has gone five years in a row.

"It changed my life and I know that sounds very dramatic, but it did," Orr said. "I felt like I found my tribe, and there are other nerdy people like me who wanted to talk about new things that are developing every year. Also, there’s the fact that entertainment is always a huge part of the conference. So, to see and hear cutting-edge performers is also wonderful for me."

Orr was able to introduce some of those ideas she learned from the TED conferences to Park City.

The Mega Genius Supply Store and I.Q. H.Q., which provides a place for students to study, get tutored and do homework after school, is one of those concepts Orr learned about from TED.

"Also, the Curiosity Evenings that we do with speakers, food and wine came out of my involvement as well," she said. "All this is information should be accessible to as many people as possible."

That said, the TEDxChange at the Eccles Center is limited to 300 people.

"We only limit the number so we can have conversations with as many people as we can in a short period of time," Orr explained. "That way we can form our own little TED community here and then spread the word."

Orr wanted to thank the Park City School District for partnering with the Park City Performing Arts Foundation to make the live-streaming and even possible.

"They are allowing us to make this happen on school time, and it requires shifting a lot of schedules around," she said. "I’m grateful it sees a community benefit in this."

The Park City Performing Arts Foundation will present a TEDxChange about global health issues in the Eccles Center for the Performing Arts, 1750 Kearns Blvd., on Thursday, April 5, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Lunch will be served. While there isn’t an admission cost, attendees must be members of the Park City Performing Arts Foundation, and memberships start at $20. For more information, visit http://www.ecclescenter.org.