Posted on July 10, 2011 by Melissa Waggener Zorkin — Leave a Comment
When you revisit a place you haven’t been to for many years, you can sometimes find that your memories were better than reality, or as is the case for me while visiting Edinburgh this week for TED Global, you can rediscover a place all over again and enjoy it with a fresh perspective.
Years ago, my first point of entry into the great country of Scotland was Prestwick where I stayed with a local family for a week. I was 16 and VERY impressionable, with the most vivid recollection being the kindness of my homestay family. Now I am again in the city where Harry Potter began to come to life, and like myself the city has grown and changed in that time, making it a fresh place for me to visit once again. Importantly though the people are just as kind as I remember, which I was reminded of when at dinner tonight with Mervyn Lee, Executive Director of Mercy Corps European Headquarters.
Edinburgh is a city where they celebrate the arts alongside cultural diversity and understanding, and as such it’s an excellent choice for TED Global where many unique and accomplished people are gathering from all over the planet. The TED conferences have always inspired me; and left me all wired up to charge out there and try new things; plus I have unfailingly met an amzing range of engaged, committed and inventive people. In addition to spending time with other TEDsters, I have the honor of speaking on Monday at my first TED University talk. My talk will be about a topic that I am extremely passionate about – using storytelling to spark the promise innovations holds and help it make an impact for those who can benefit from it most.
It’s only a short talk, and honestly I never thought I’d spend so much time on a 4 minute speech as I have on this one, but really it is the fantstic audience that has inspired me. I am very much looking forward to listening and talking with the collection of great thinkers here in the coming days like Karol Boudreaux, Rebecca MacKinnon, Allan Jones and many others. It can be humbling and even a bit intimidating to hear from so many smart people working with such passion on things that are capable of transforming the world in major ways – but I must admit it’s also a lot of fun and a huge learning experience.
It’s that spirit of what is possible, and how we can collectively tackle big problems – a single person at a time – that I hope to contribute to tomorrow by inspiring even just one person to be more active in sharing a story of innovation that they are passionate about, so that it can spark someone else…to spark someone else…to spark..someone else.