Dolph Lundgren – On healing and forgiveness

The movie Rocky IV turned Dolph Lundgren aka Soviet boxer Ivan Drago into a Hollywood star. Exactly 30 years later the Fulbrighter Dolph Lundgren shares his personal fight worth fighting with a live audience at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. “If you heal yourself you can heal others” is the message of this surprising TEDxFulbright talk about a fighter who became a social activist.

Best known for his performance in Rocky IV as Ivan Drago, Dolph has starred in over 50 films. He was awarded a Fulbright to MIT after graduating at the head of his class in chemical engineering at the Royal Inst. of Technology in Stockholm. He also completed an exchange program with the University of Sydney.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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Recap of TEDxBeijing 2016 Year End Event

This is a recap of the TEDxBeijing year-end event that took place yesterday. It was my first attendance at a TEDx event in China and it was superbly organised. The venue was at Mee Park Cafe inside Universal Creative Park, Beijing.

TEDxBeijing 2016 Year-end event

The 300 RMB tickets were almost sold out by the time I purchased my ticket on the evening before the event. Luckily I took the proactive step of contacting the organisers and asking them to reserve a ticket for a fellow TEDx organiser from South Africa.

The venue was packed – always a good sign.


  1. Rubén Salgado Escudero: It’s always difficult being the opening speaker. Even though there was sound problems, Ruben recovered quickly. His freelance photography from Myanmar was inspired by the impact solar lighting is making in this developing country, the poorest among its South East Asian peers.
  2. Ching Tien: A speaker who packs powerful emotional impact. She runs a charity: Educating Girls of Rural China. During the Cultural Revolution she was sent to Gansu province, in a rural, western part of China. Despite great difficulties, she eventually moved to Canada. It was a little ironic when she quoted Chairman Mao, “Women can hold up half of heaven.”
  3. Greg Smith: He delivered an interesting talk on the pros and cons of building highways. He is the Asia-Pacific lead for the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), a UK-based charity dedicated to creating a world free of high-risk roads.
  4. Hu Weiwei (MoBike): A crowd pleaser for sure. This female entrepreneur shared her passion for encouraging more young people to use bicycles in Beijing and other big cities around China. Ironically, it reminded me of the Katie Melua lyrics, “there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing…”
  5. Saki Chen: This was supposed to be much more exciting as a TEDx Talk. She showed video clips of her in action as the first female-Chinese solo pilot to fly a light aircraft around-the-world. There’s an expression – dynamite comes in small packages – that best describes this young lady.
  6. Qichao Hu: An applied physicist graduate from Harvard. This was a fascinating delivery of a hardcore geek business, i.e. improving battery performance while reducing the size. The potential for providing high altitude wireless Internet through drone technology is astounding. What most impressed me was the developers’ ability to reduce the battery size while doubling the capacity compared with batteries used in the iPhone 6.
  7. Hu Yihan: Another impressive topic, using big data for medical challenges in China and worldwide. There was no mention of privacy concerns during this talk. However, the benefits of the medical advances made in this field may outweigh everything else in the short term.
  8. Yuan Chen: This lady spoke confidently about her work. I did not access the interpretation provided, so I did not get the gist of the topic, except that she has an impressive track record with a Ph.D. and experience in Nigeria and India.
  9. Mario Zaccagnini: What a delightful treat. This food entrepreneur delivered a presentation that I’m sure Ellen DeGeneres or Oprah would have enjoyed. Since moving to Beijing, he has started several successful restaurant ventures: Eatalia Group (La Dolce Vita, Carpe Diem, Unique), Galleria and Feel Bar.
  10. Chen Xu: the Director of the Greater China Observatory Group, responsible for business development and public relations in the Greater China Region.
  11. Hao Zhou: is the founder and CEO of QuantGroup, a web-based credit scoring and data mining system that assesses risk for large institutions, including the Federal Reserve, totalling hundreds of billions of dollars.

TEDxBeijing 2016 welcome

TEDxBeijing 2016 year-end event at Mee Park





TEDxPortElizabeth launches in Nelson Mandela Bay

[Port Elizabeth, Monday, 27 June 2016] – Sharing a world of dreams with the global TED and TEDx community, TEDxPortElizabeth will launch their first conference this year with the theme Through the Looking Glass in partnership with the new AFDA Film School in Port Elizabeth.

TEDxPortElizabeth continues on from TEDxNMMU (2012) and TEDxSummerstrand (2013), both organised by students from NMMU. TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design) started in 1984 in California as an elite conference for visionaries and innovators. By 2012 TED Talks had been viewed more than 1 billion times online.

This TEDx conference features 15 speakers and performers from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, George, Jeffrey’s Bay, Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth.

TEDx Conference Port Elizabeth 2016

The audience will be captivated by international business coach, Deshun Deysel, who will open the conference speaking on Peak Performance. Her family moved from Uitenhage to Johannesburg when she was 12 years old. She powered into the history books in 1996 as a member of the first group of South Africans to plant the new democratic flag on Mt Everest.

Another highlight is Farah Fortune, known in the entertainment industry as the “pit bull in heels.” She is the CEO of African Star Communications, with offices in Lagos, Nigeria and Johannesburg and her clients include AKA, Casper Nyovest and Pam Andrews.

TEDx 2016 Conference line-up

After attending the TEDGlobal conference in Tanzania in 2007, I have become very active in speaking and organising TEDx events in China and South Africa,” says Ramon Thomas, TEDxPortElizabeth founder. After returning home with an MBA degree from China, Thomas started recruiting a team of enthusiastic volunteers from Nelson Mandela Bay.

Speakers from Port Elizabeth include mama Nomhle Nkonyeni, who recently won a SAFTA life-time achievement award; Xhosa poet Siyabonga Ngcai aka Gqoboz’imbawula Mbawula, Alexander Road High school learner; Thulani Ndzotyana who wants to be the first female president of South Africa in 2044; and youth artist, Mdali group.

Speakers from Uitenhage include 7-year-old child palaeontologist Caleb Zealand; Mr Joe Slingers, who was featured in the book, Great South African Teachers by Prof. Jonathan Jansen; Mrs Elizabeth Muller, head librarian for 25 years until her retirement in 2009; and artist Colleen Grewar.

TEDx Conference Port Elizabeth 2016Wikipedia editor, Bobby Shabangu, contributes to the world’s largest encyclopedia writing articles in isiSwati and English. “I discovered that if I don’t edit, no one will edit,” he says. “[I wanted] to activate people into talking about Wikipedia and the work they do and everything that’s actually how I got involved with the whole thing.”

AFDA is sponsoring the venue for this conference. Their students will film all the speakers and performers and the videos will be uploaded to the TEDx YouTube channel. This is an opportunity to showcase Nelson Mandela Bay’s talent on the global stage.

The 2016 TEDxPortElizabeth conference takes place at AFDA Port Elizabeth campus, 28 Bird Street, Central on Friday, 1 July 2016. Only 100 tickets for this conference are on sale online.

Event details:

  • Venue: AFDA Port Elizabeth campus, 28 Bird Street, Central
  • Date: Friday, 1 July 2016
  • Time: 09h00-15h00
  • 15 Speakers, Performances, Networking and 4 curated TED Talks
  • Our Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Website

TEDxPortElizabeth 2016 Conference line-up

About TEDx, x = independently organised event. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organised events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organised. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)


Jade Redcliffe, Communications Manager

Mobile 072-5659132



TEDx: Banishing the Mundane from the Center of Accra

EDx: Banishing the Mundane from the Center of Accra

TEDxSYPALA – Trials, Tribulations & TRIUMPH

We just successfully completed West Africa’s first TEDx event. (more images and videos to be uploaded over next couple of days).

It was embedded into IMANI’s ( annual SYPALA program which brings rising young professionals from across the West African sub-region to stay at TEDster Patrick Awuah’s university, Ashesi, for a week. TEDx crew was extremely grateful to IMANI and Executive Director Franklin Cudjoe for their tireless support and encouragement.

At SYPALA this year, IMANI also launched a prize named after Guido Sohne, the quintessential Ghanaian-born genius who has hired by Microsoft to develop an African strategy for them last year. Guido unfortunately passed away before his dream of uniting the proprietary and open-source software worlds could be realized. This year’s Sohne Prize was sponsored by IPMC Ghana ( and Tropical Business Solutions, and was won by Theophilus Acheampong, a Chemical Engineer by training, and a deep-thinking, all-round, star performer by practice.

SYPALA had the honour of hosting several amazing speakers, including the first African in 850 years to become a tenured professor at Cambridge University, and the musical rebel who dared a sitting President on live television. But this post is about TEDxSypala, not SYPALAJ

TEDxSypala was held at the fabulous Coconut Grove Regency hotel (, nestling tranquilly in the pulsating historic center of Accra city.

Speakers ranged from a Ghanaian-born financial guru who served on one of the Clinton transition teams to an amazing young Ghanaian Designer who thrilled the crowd with his incisive insight into the developmental context of design (blending as he did artistic opinions about the redenomination of national currencies with deadpan observations on the travails of fair-trade branding).

There was also the dude building what is probably West Africa’s only Technology Park dedicated to SMEs, and, of course, TEDster Patrick Awuah was there to inspire us with a new talk about “what’s next for Ashesi”. The opening Speaker, Dr. Anyimadu, formerly of Ghana’s Legon Ivory Tower, set his talk against the background of the Thomas Fynn collection, and with irresistible panache sent us all on a mind-bending trip into the digital consciousness of fisherfolks along Ghana’s soon-to-become oil belt.

Bernard Akoi-Jackson, who we were honoured to have as the event’s impresario, has carved a niche for himself as the conceptual artist who transformed elite perceptions about the artistic possibilities ensconced in the interstices of Ghana’s best known psychiatric institution. For his TEDx performance, he strove to take the German composer Wagner to trial by distending the composer’s chords around the Ashanti trance-dance, the Akom. The Akom is a rebellion against any notion of natural order, and is the mainstay in the repertoire of the official sorcerers of the ancient and extant Ashanti Kingdom. It is not a dance to be performed lightly, even if the motive is as high as cutting Wagner down to size.

Planning and organizing a TEDx event gives you a much better appreciation of what the TED crew manages year in and year out to deliver at Monterrey, and now Long Beach ( That delivery, not even to mention the much eulogized talks, is itself worthy of cataloguing as one of the unsung wonders of this age.

We set up our audio-visual equipment overnight and begun testing a full 3 hours before the event. Yet, true to Murphy’s Law, we still had to contend with a hitch that saw us start 30 minutes after the advertised time. Though some performances called for lights-out, the TV crew (including our own professional videographers) would have none of it. Apparently, no one had informed them of the need to bring directional lights. The lapel mikes malfunctioned and speakers had to endure the unTEDlike ordeal of using hand-mikes. Even Africa-renowned Atukwei Okai (, revered for his devotion to the ideal of poetry as spectacle, was forced to wrap his lyrical fingers around the shapeless gadget, and restrict his gesticulations accordingly, very much to his consternation, as you would imagine.J

We managed to deliver TEDx to our participants and the general public and post TEDx evaluations revealed the need for a much better organization should we decide to have our future SYPALA participants and the general public go through the experience.

Still it was a day to remember: for nearly 10 hours we attempted to “banish the mundane” and stayed immersed in a world where ideas can terrify, and soothe; fortify, and melt; disrupt, and heal; and we emerged reformed from banality, and, on that account, TRIUMPHANT.

On behalf of: Remy Edmundson – Producer

Chris Kweku Benett – Production Assistant

Bright B. Simons – Curator &

Bernard Akoi-Jackson – Impresario