In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDxBasel 2016 was packed with ideas, inspiration and like-minded people.
Before the formal event, there was a small stage in the foyer where ten audience members had a chance to present their three minute pop-up talks. This was a new initiative offered to audience members this year. The most favored talk according to the viewers was by Liz Lian who also got to talk on the main stage during the actual event.
At 1 PM, it was time for the highly anticipated main event. Hayes Ford, one of the event organizers, took center stage as this year’s TEDxBasel host. The event program was full-packed with twelve talks, two interviews and three music performances. No less than 500 enthusiastic guests attended the event, which is a huge success.
There was no particular theme this year, so the talks covered a wide range of topics: From the beauty of architecture and nature to an amazing story of an Auschwitz survivor. From recycling of soap to save children in poor countries to the people’s initiative for basic income in Switzerland.
From the Swiss approach of saving the seeds of vegetables to data health collection stored in a health bank. And from leading women in the workplace to issues with communication in the corporate workplace - and much more.
There were many great ideas and wonderful talks. Here are a few that caught my attention:
Marco Serra on the meaning of beauty
The architect responsible for the master planning at the Novartis campus was the first on stage. He spoke about the meaning of beauty and its value in architecture. How we should see the intense investment in creating beauty in the old as compared to the new, and how we should coexist with nature. Once gone, no one will be able to build it back.
Enno Schmidt on an unconditional basic income
The artist, filmmaker, author and spokesman Enno Schmidt was interviewed regarding the people’s initiative of unconditional basic income currently being debated in Switzerland (Grundeinkommen).
It is an innovative idea to give a basic income of 2500 francs to every adult and 625 francs to every minor. In the speaker's mind, such a policy could revolutionize working habits in a positive way.
Dorothee Schiesser on how soap can change lives
My personal favorite and inspiring talk was by Dorothee Schiesser, the founder of SapoCycle. After working in the art world for many years, she felt that something was missing in her life. Soap gave her the meaning she was looking for.
She founded SapoCycle in Basel, a foundation that recycles discarded soap from hotels. Their mission is to distribute the soap to countries that need help preventing disease. Not only is this foundation located in Basel, but they also employ mentally handicapped workers who help process the soaps. Chapeau to a great cause!
Dorothee Schiesser started her talk with her favorite quote from Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop: "If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room."
Shlomo Graber on why love is stronger than hate
Urs Bucher interviewed Shlomo Graber, a holocaust survivor who lives in Basel. His autobiographical book, "Love is Stronger than Hate", took him three years to write. Born in Russian Carpathia in 1926, he was raised in Nyirbator, Hungary.
In 1941, he and his family were deported to Poland as stateless persons, in April 1944 taken against their will to the ghetto, and in May 1944 sent to Auschwitz. The entire family was murdered and suffered severe persecution at the hands of the Nazis. On May 8, 1945, Shlomo Graber was freed by the Red Army and in 1948 he emigrated to Israel. Since 1989, he has been living in Basel, Switzerland, where he paints.
A quote his mother told him as a child has stayed with him forever: "Be strong and never let hatred enter your heart. Always remember, love is stronger than hate."
Samuel Vonasch from ZAAK
When Zürich based ZAAK hit the stage, the audience received a cardboard box and instructions on how to place their phone inside it. After clicking on a specific website, each person was able to enter a virtual reality environment right there at TEDxBasel!
Esther Meduna from ProSpecieRara
Finally, Esther Meduna from ProSpecieRara left us with food for thought about her love for plants and preserving agricultural diversity. We even received some tomato seeds as a way of starting our own preservation initiative.
The local and international music performances by Cansu Kandemir, Bret Simner and Jasette were a nice addition to the many talks.
In summary, it was definitely a day filled with new ideas and insights into various happenings in our area. My personal highlight? The interaction with curious minds like mine... We need more events like these in Basel. Thank you to the organizers and volunteers who made it happen, and I hope to see you again next year at TEDxBasel!