Last Friday, I attended my first TEDx event, TEDxAthens. According to the official website, TEDx events are all about ideas, inspiration, dialogue…

TEDxAthens was all these for me. I left the venue inspired and full of new ideas. Ideas worth spreading.

Here are the moments that inspired me most:

  • Alexis Stamatis, author and poet, described how a whole story can be hidden in a seemingly boring, ordinary scenery. All we have to do is find “another way to see things”.
  • Konstantinos Lazarakis, Master of Wine, touched a timely issue. Very often, lately, I have heard young people in Greece complaining about the lack of guidance at school on which studies and profession to choose. Personally, I don’t think many people find their path while they are at school. I also don’t think that anyone’s professional choices depend only on his first studies. Konstantinos Lazarakis was studying something totally different, when he decided that what he really wanted to do was to study at the Institute of Masters of Wine. After studying for seven years, he passed the examination and became the only Greek to hold the title “Master of Wine”. He ended his talk encouraging us: “Chase your wildest dreams!”
  • Kostas Grammatis is a young innovator full of ideas! Ideas that seem too romantic and too impossible! But Kostas proved that, if you believe in an idea, you will find the way to realise it. He believes that “access to information is a human right” and his dream is free internet access for everyone in the world! Last Friday, his team launched a new website, Buy This Satellite, where they ask for donations so they can buy the Terrestar-1 satellite and reposition it. This way they will be able to provide free internet access to people who need it.
  • Maria Tzemi is a journalist. When her son was diagnosed with autism, instead of giving up and spending her life “wondering why”, she published the magazine Special Life, which is about autism and pervasive developmental disorders. In her deeply inspiring talk, she proved that our happiness depends on our choices. Maria Tzemi “chooses happiness under any circumstances”. She believes that “we are something much more than what we believe we are” and that we can go through any difficulty if we choose to face it and accept it.
  • Christos Ioannidis, high school teacher and founder of Schoolwave Festival, said a truth that touched everyone’s heart: “The theft of childhood is the largest scandal in Greece”. Parents have put children in too much pressure causing their indifference and denial. They advice them to leave the things they like for later, meaning “never”. This is why Christos Ioannidis published the students’ magazine Schooligans and, in 2005, he found the music festival Schoolwave, which is the most important school music festival in Europe.
  • Dr Dimitris Protopsaltou is associate partner and media & communication strategist for Veria Public Library. Thanks to his and Yiannis Trohopoulos’ (Manager of Veria Public Library) work, the library received the 2010 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Award. They believe that the purposes of a library are: “Giving back to the society; creating experiences; serving the un-served”. With their innovative and open-minded ideas they have achieved half of the city’s population to become a member of the library and attract about 300 visitors on week days and 800 on Saturdays.
  • Elena Panaritis, Institutional Economist and Social Entrepreneur, described her experience in Peru, while working for the World Bank. It took the country seven years to overcome the bureaucracy and put together development programmes for the reintegration of the “informals”, the inhabitants of the ghetto of Peru. Elena Panaritis described how often people fell in disappointment and cynicism but she resisted and kept trying. She believes that “transformation is possible” and she has seen with her own eyes.

So, isn’t it time for us all to believe that transformation is possible? Isn’t it time to stop looking at the negative side of things and choose to be happy under all circumstances? Isn’t it time to gather all this inspiration and transform it into action?

See you at the next TEDx, TEDxWomen, on the 8th December 2010!

The music performances were also great. Musica Ficta and Monsieur Minimal were my favourites. Enjoy: