Category Archives: TEDxEuston2015


9 Months?!

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9 months?! 9 months?!

Has it really been 9 months already?

Yes, unfortunately, December, Christmas, TEDxEuston and New Years Day were all 9 months ago, but we hope your last dose of TEDxEuston does not feel like a distant memory!

This year we have been somewhat quieter, but we have a special announcement this Saturday! So keep following us on twitter, facebook and instragram to find out more.

Until then, here are 9 TEDxEuston Vision to Reality highlights to reminisce upon, whilst you enjoy the last of summer sunshine.

1.Robtel Neajai Pailey introduced us to ‘Gbagba’ (trickery). Her beautiful book that seeks to empower our children and future generations, to boldly tackle corruption.

Perhaps someone should send Robtel’s talk to a certain ex-PM to remind them there is nothing uniquely African about corruption…

Perhaps someone should send Robtel’s talk to a certain ex-PM to remind them there is nothing uniquely African about corruption…







2.Question. Are you a protagonist in your own dialogue, or a subject in that of another? Thank you Nancy Kacungira for encouraging us to consult one another, tell our own stories and share our progress. Oh and thank you for telling us ‘cowardising’ is a word in Uglish.

3.Remember the emotion felt in the room as we gave Kechi Okwuchi a resounding standing ovation?

3.Remember the emotion felt in the room as we gave Kechi Okwuchi a resounding standing ovation?

4. Ije Nwokorie predicted that creativity WILL save us. He made a rallying call to embrace our creativity as an asset as it will challenge our future work environment.

4. Ije Nwokorie predicted that creativity WILL save us. He made a rallying call to embrace our creativity as an asset as it will challenge our future work environment.












5. The ladies of BBFA and Site Specific transformed the Queenhithe room into a spectacular celebration of Art in various mediums.

5. The ladies of BBFA and Site Specific transformed the Queenhithe room into a spectacular celebration of Art in various mediums.












6. News is dead, long live selfies?
Adaugo, Imad and Sheila – we salute you.

6. News is dead, long live selfies? Adaugo, Imad and Sheila – we salute you.

7. Sandra Obiago’s entire presence and grace was everything.

7. Sandra Obiago’s entire presence and grace was everything.

8.Lindiwe Mazibuko announced that she would not go back into politics unless we go with her.

9.Our final highlight…. the One and Only TEDxEuston Afterparty. If you missed it, you missed.


No matter where you are in your journey of making your visions a reality, it’s always good to take a moment to reflect and appreciate the special moments along the way. We hope TEDxEuston has been a continued highlight in your calendar and that you’ve enjoyed reminiscing with us. With that said, the countdown is on! Only two day’s until our special announcement…


The TEDxEuston Team

Final 2015 talks and performances

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It’s been over 3 months since our life changing TEDxEuston and we are posting up our final talks and performances. First up we have Sandra Mbanefo Obiago is a multi-faceted writer, photographer, poet, art collector & curator, and award winning filmmaker. She has curated art shows and worked with the local creative industry to promote the best of Nigerian art. The TEDxEuston crowd was treated to a personal insight into Sandra’s passion for the arts in its many forms of expression.

Sandra walked us through her experience in the art world and gave examples of some of the projects she has worked on – “I believe that art can change lives.” She says. Sandra finishes by boldly stating that “Art has the power to move us from vision to reality”.


Secondly Irineu Nogueira is a Brazilian who has been living in London for the last 5 years. He has been exploring paths to express his background in Afro Brazilian Dance and Orixás through cross-discipline experiences such as opera, theatre, musicals, cinema and circus, which transformed him into a complete artist. He took the TEDxEuston audience’s breath away with his ensemble of acrobats and energy.

Lastly, Abdoulaye Samb is a guitarist, singer and composer from Senegal. His original music is inspired by Fula and Mandinka cultures and his distinctive musical style has grown out of his travels, collaborations and researches in Africa and Europe. Abdoulaye took to the TEDxEuston stage to play a truly remarkable mixture of Senegalese blues, drawing on the rich Fula tradition.

The time is now!

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Two iconic women took the stage on Saturday 5th December with their powerful talks. Both Mona Eltahawy, Egyptian-American journalist and activist and Lindiwe Mazibuko,youngest-ever parliamentary leader in South Africa each unique in delivery, varied in aspect but linked in thought provoking essence. Urging us all to be active. Watch, digest and get moving. #VisionToReality

Mona Eltahawy is an award winning Egyptian-American journalist. She is writer, activist and public speaker on Arab, Muslim issues and global feminism. While covering the protests in Eygpt in November 2011, she was physically and sexually assaulted and detained by interior ministry and military intelligence.
Mona became an icon of the Egyptian revolution and her piece “Why Do They Hate Us?” became a viral sensation, followed by her book “Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution.”


Lindiwe Mazibuko was until recently the Leader of the Opposition in the South African National Assembly, making her the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) youngest-ever parliamentary leader and the first black woman in South African history to be elected to the post of Leader of the Opposition. Mazibuko has committed herself to making Parliament the true centre of robust political debate and engagement in South Africa. On the TEDxEuston stage her commitment shone as the TEDxuston audience were enthralled by her powerful talk. She stated that Africa has a problem of nicely polished policies without implementation. She made a case for young people not to be disgusted with politics but get in there and be the change we believe. She said: ‘Remittance isn’t enough for the diaspora who want to give back. They must also share their skills and experience with Africa. Your country and continent needs you. Not later… Now!”


From Germany to Nigeria – Mark Essien talks leverage

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Mark Essien is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria-based, an online hotel-booking agency, which is the first and largest of its kind in Nigeria. Since establishing in 2013, Mark has overseen the growth of hotel listings on the platform from just over 100 at launch to over 7,000 hotels al over Nigeria with millions of transactions every year.

At TEDxEuston 2015 Mark eloquently and seamlessly took the audience on his journey, how he started in Germany and took the leap to Nigeria to run Hotelsng. He discussed the difficulties and pitfalls of running a business and shared some of the stories he learnt along the way.

Creativity & Corruption – we can learn from both

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Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author with over a decade of combined professional experiences in Africa, Europe and North America.

Robtel is the author of Gbagba, an anti-corruption children’s book published in 2013 to critical acclaim and subsequently placed on the list of supplemental readers for 3rd to 5th graders in Liberia. Robtel’s determination and bold ambition to challenge the status quo was evident as she spoke to an engaged audience at TEDxEuston 2015. She eloquently discussed her ‘bloodless revolution’ to fight Gbabgba (corruption) in Liberia. She states that corruption is not just about private or public sector graft but also about dubious ways in which we all cheat the system. She reminds us all that there is nothing inherently African about corruption.


Ije Nwokorie joined Wolff Olins in 2006, one of the world’s most influential brand businesses. He is presently its Chief Executive Officer of creative consultancy. Born in America, Ije spent his early years in Nigeria, an experience he credits with underpinning his creative outlook, as he believes it is a world where commerce, culture and creativity are necessarily intertwined in every day life. The TEDxEuston 2015 audience was treated to Ije creative outlook and focus on the power of creativity! Ije discussed the power of creativity (akon’uche) linking it to his upbringing as an Igbo man. He explores how management is most celebrated, and creativity is relegated to the few but strenuously argues that “Creativity belongs to us all…but is in stark contrast to how we think of creativity in the industrialized world”


Social Media can change the world

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It’s been brewing for a while, but on Saturday 5th December it was confirmed: “News is dead, long live notifications”

Christian Purefoy, a multimedia and digital specialist, thrilled the audience with his entertaining TEDxEuston talk. Charting his transition from a CNN correspondent to his current position as a Director at, the honorary Yoruba Chief walks us through the innovative, youth-driven means of translating ideas and discussing topical issues. His humorous talk demonstrates how social media continues to relegate traditional reporting to the back-burner as young Africans find new, pioneering ways to narrate their own story.

Wise words from Nancy Kacungira and Chi-Chi Nwanoku MBE

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New year and the new set of TEDxEuston videos are being released across TEDx YouTube channel. Time for the world to experience what we all shared  at Vision To Reality on that special Saturday in December 2015.

First up is Nancy Kacungira. Nancy has many accolades including entrepreneur and award- winning journalist. A US State Department Professional Fellow, and the winner of the inaugural BBC World News Komla Award. In 2010 she also co-founded Blu Flamingo; a digital media management company that has now grown to manage an impressive roster of clients in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Her ambition and clarity of thought came to fore on the TEDxEuston 2015 stage. She wasted no time in succinctly urging the audience not to point fingers to international media for not covering African news fairly, when African media are not covering it fairly themselves. Nancy looks at the African narratives and argues that we should move away from narratives and have dialogues. Narratives makes you a subject, dialogue makes you a participant, she said.


Chi-Chi Nwanoku MBE is the Founder, Artistic Director of Chineke!, Europe’s first classical orchestra of Black and Ethnic Minority musicians and is also the Principal Double bassist and founder of the Orchestra of the Age of Entertainment. Chi-chi is a professor of Double Bass History Studies at the Royal Academy of Music and was made a Fellow there in 1998. Chi-chi gracefully opened the TEDxEuston 2015 stage. She declared we are all born musicians; everyone of us has a heartbeat connected to something. It was a privilege for the audience to hear her personal journey through her early introduction to music and her experiences as a black women in the classical music industry. She narrates how she is fighting the good fight to bring diversity to the classical world and encourages the audience to “Never be afraid of a challenge”.

Miatta @ TEDxEustonChange 2

First TEDxEuston Vision to Reality 2015 talk released!

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Dear TEDxEuston’ers,

We hope you are enjoying the season. In true TEDxEuston fashion, we’ve been working hard to get our ‘Vision to Reality’ videos released and we have succeeded!

Our first TEDxEuston Vision to Reality 2015 talk is by Miatta Gbanya – the Deputy Incident Manager in Liberia’s Command and Control Structure during its response to the Ebola outbreak of 2014 – 15 in Liberia.

Miatta @ TEDxEustonChangeMiatta is a trained nurse with a Master’s degree in Public Health from BRAC University in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has previously worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo, The Sudan (Darfur) and South Sudan with Merlin and Malaria Consortium, managing various large-scale health projects.

Her talk on overcoming adversity through hardwork and her personal stories of helping to fight ebola in Liberia was one that held the TEDxEuston audience captive the entire time she spoke. Miatta is a perfect example of TEDxEuston’s speakers: hard working, resilient and passionate about the work she does. She returned to Liberia mid-2013 after nearly ten years of relief work in places like Darfur, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Miatta told the audience, “Our countries need us. Our countries need the best we can give.”  She is doing exactly that.

Miatta’s talk was presented as part of the TEDxChange programme, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Watch her incredible talk HERE.

Remember to share your stories and experiences of TEDxEuston with us on our website and social media platforms #mytedxeustonstory.

Season’s greetings,
Your TEDxEuston Team

#myTEDxEustonstory – Ike Anya

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Ike Anya – TEDxEuston co-founder

Ten years ago this month, sitting in my office in Bristol, one morning, I got a text from my younger brother.  We had heard earlier that a Sosoliso Airlines plane had crashed in Port Harcourt and that all the people on board were feared dead. As I scrolled through Nigerian news websites, frantically searching for more news, my phone beeped. His best friend, Okoloma Maduewesi had been on the plane, together with his nephew Chibuzo Kamanu, who was one of a group of secondary school students from Loyola Jesuit College in Abuja heading home to Port Harcourt for the Christmas holidays.

Because I had grown up with Okoloma, had seen him almost as a younger brother and had held Chibuzo in my arms, merely days after he was born, a visceral anguish and anger seized me. Anger that increased as I read about how long it had taken to mount a rescue effort; how there had been no water for the fire engines at the airport. In my grief and anger I attacked my keyboard, bashing out a polemic article, “Why are We Crying, We are all Guilty”, in which I laid the blame for the crash and the state of our country on the doorstep of all Nigerian citizens.

The article, initially published on a couple of Nigerian websites seemed to have struck a deep chord, unleashing an outpouring of responses from Nigerians all over the world, many agreeing with me, others attacking me for laying the blame at their door. A Nigerian in New York, Emeka Okafor, who had a blog, the Timbuktu Chronicles: Africa Unchained, contacted me, asking if he could reproduce the article on his website. I agreed and we exchanged emails and kept vaguely in touch.

A year or so later, he forwarded an email from an organisation called TED who were organizing a conference in Arusha in Tanzania; and who as part of that conference were seeking to identify 100 African Fellows to take part. I forwarded the email to my networks, and decided to apply. In the end, my friend and colleague Chikwe Ihekweazu and I were selected and our journey to TED Global in Arusha began.

In Arusha, we were blown away by the talks, by four days of remarakable Africans telling their stories of doing groundbreaking things – law student Ory Okolloh setting up Mzalendo to shine a light on the proceedings of the Kenyan Parliament, Eleni Gabre Madhin leaving the World Bank to set up Ethiopia’s first commodities exchange, Patrick Awuah leaving Microsft to set up Ashesi, Ghana’s first liberal arts college; Dele Olojede, first  African to win the Pulitzer Prize; Binyavanga Wainaina and Chris Abani telling our stories. We were electrified.

Leaving Arusha, our first instinct was to abandon our specialist training programmes in the UK and return immediately to Nigeria, to begin to do, and not talk. When reason returned, we decided to stay in the UK and complete our programmes, but inspired by Ory’s example, using the internet, we set up Nigeria Health Watch, a blog aimed at increasing accountability in the Nigerian health system, hoping that we would be able to say the things that people in Nigeria might not be able to.

Setting up Nigeria Health Watch helped, but we still buzzed with the inspiration of Arusha, and we kept boring our families and friends with stories of Arusha. For months afterwards, our conversations were peppered with “In Arusha…” “At TED…” “do you remember in Arusha…?”

And so it was that when TED offered the opportunity in 2009 for past attendees to apply for licences to host TEDx events, one-day TED-like events, Chikwe suggested that we apply for one and try and recreate the experience of Arusha in London for our families and friends, and share the inspiration. The first event nearly broke us, juggling busy jobs with organising a conference for a hundred people on the back of our credit cards, unsure if anyone would agree to speak, if anyone would agree to come. But they did – from journalist Funmi Iyanda to former minister Nasir El-Rufai to health publisher Bryan Pearson, to writer Chika Unigwe, they came and shared their stories. And there was an audience of a hundred people to listen, even if Chikwe, my brother Nazo and I had had to arrange the chairs in the room when we arrived at the venue at University College London in Euston; having spent the preceding night in a cheap hotel room in Euston, making up delegate packs and sorting out name badges.

Adaugo Amajuoyi, a medical student and Chikwe’s cousin was in charge of registration with Ifeanyi Mbanefo, a colleague from the Health Protection Agency. When the conference ended at about 8pm that Saturday night, people refused to leave. In clusters, they stood around in the hall continuing the conversations sparked by the speakers’ talks. Two of the attendees, Paddy Anigbo and Felicia Meyerowitz approached us and asked, “When is the next one?” We had not thought that far, and in any case the stress of delivering just one conference had been significant, and so we laughed. They were insistent, and volunteered to help organize the next one, and so the TEDxEuston dream was born.

Over the years, we grew into an event attended by over 600 people, which has sold out every year, supported by a team of passionate volunteers, becoming a significant voice for Africa on the global stage.  We hosted some of Africa’s finest minds, inspiring fresh new ideas and debates, and built an amazing community of regular attendees, volunteers, team members and supporters.

Each year has been a challenge, from raising sponsorship to juggling the organisation with other multiple competing demands, but at the end of each conference, the number of people who came back, saying how much it has inspired them, how gratifying it is to attend a well-organised African-led event has pushed us to go on.

We have now hosted 7 main events, 4 salon events with 80 speakers, with their talks viewed 3.2 million times online.
We have built a community of friends and supporters bound together by the TEDxEuston experience and our commitment and passion to a better African continent

What has kept us going?

It’s been Arnold Ekpe, former chief executive of Ecobank and chairman of Atlas Mara’s comment in 2011 – “I have been attending conferences on Africa since my undergraduate days, but never before have I felt the kind of energy that I am feeling in this room now”
It’s been Chimamanda Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists being sampled on Beyonce’s album and now being distributed to every sixteen year old in Sweden
It’s been senior corporate executive Dolika Banda saying that TEDxEuston had led her to re-evaluate her life’s goals
It’s been the several other untold stories, the emails, the phone calls and messages from Africans all over the world. The woman saying attending TEDxEuston conference for 4 years inspired her to move back to Africa after 20 years in the UK; The second-generation African immigrants saying, watching the talks helped them reconnect with their heritage. The young people in Africa saying “Watching your talks has given me fresh hope”. They are the reason we have continued, against all odds.

This year, at our 7th event, we welcomed on stage Kechi Okwuchi, one of only two survivors of the Sosoliso plane crash. She spoke with eloquence and a deep wisdom, and there was a sense of a circle being closed.

These are experiences that we have been privileged to share and why, when we announced on stage this year that due to financial challenges, this was likely to be the last TEDxEuston, we were engulfed by a sense of loss.

But we are also conscious that TEDxEuston is more than an event; that its spirit is alive in the community of people connected by a shared vision and willingness to work for a better Africa; by the change that is happening on the continent even in the face of enormous challenges.

Which is why we are asking you to share your TEDxEuston story with us.
This is #myTEDxEustonstory – what’s yours?

Go ahead and share your own #myTEDxEustonstory widely on Facebook and Twitter and we will share it further.

Please tag @tedxeuston when you share so we know.


7 Reasons why we curate TEDxEuston

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To celebrate our 7th year, read below 7 reasons why Adaugo Amajuoyi, Amina Abonde-Adigun and Ifediba Nwokedi (commonly known as AAI among the team) co-curate TEDxEuston and help put together our great event each year.

The joys of being a TEDxEuston curator are varied – you have to be able to juggle many hats, have an intense passion and generally prepared for anything. There are many reasons why its so great to curate TEDxEuston. However, to keep things simple we’ll focus on seven reasons as follows:

1. It is a labour of love, dedication and passion for Africa.

I have followed the inception of TEDxEuston since 2009 and admired the Foundation Boards dedication to make it happen year after year. Curating and managing a project like TEDxEuston requires lots of effort and sheer dedication. Sometimes you are surprised to find out how much more you can give at any given moment if you are passionate about what you are doing. TEDxEuston is definitely a labour of love for us as co-curators! There is no better reward than the success we see year after year, speakers making breakthroughs in their endeavours and more importantly the community sharing how much support they have received or feeling motivated to follow their dream to do more in Africa.

2. The team is a family of highly passionate individuals with a lot of energy

A big positive is having one of the best teams you could ever have for any project. TEDxEuston is a voluntary organization where nobody makes a profit. Therefore, the team are focused on creating the best experience for the TEDxEuston community who have come to love the event year after year.

I feel privileged to work with an amazing team of people from all walks of life and various talents. As a curator it is a dream to guide and manage the hard work of such talented individuals. Our role is made easy when your team wants to deliver with pride. We also have great socials and vibe off each others ideas, creativity and ambitions. We definitely champion each other.

3. Together we choose the yearly themes and speakers.

Choosing the theme and potential speakers starts very early in the year with a final list presented and discussed in January, even though the event is in December. The 12 month process is very collaborative with the whole team being involved. This is what we love about curating with a dedicated team.

TEDxEuston team meetings are virtual due to the multiple countries and continents the team are based in. Our meetings are usually full of passionate debate, insightful moments and a clear vision at the end of the debate.

4. A year’s planning and logistics starts

As a curator this is the bulk of our duties and sometimes can be the difficult bit, but equally exciting. From January to January the curators and team attend lots of meetings with partners, venue providers, hotels, entertainers and much more. The leg work is worth it and at times the team have to motivate each other along the bumpy challenges. Keeping within our TEDxEuston motto:

“Where there is a will there is way.”
5. Partners make it happen with their support

The TEDxEuston partnerships are very important to deliver such an organised and inspiring event. Our partners’ support allows TEDxEuston to be an affordable event for many and not just for a few.

Furthermore, partnerships allow the TEDxEuston community to gain direct access to expert knowledge and innovative ventures that shape our daily experiences and socio economic development. As a curator, we love working with partners who are dedicated to supporting our ethos of promoting African ideas worth spreading.

6. The speakers are confirmed and the excitement rises.

When we get to this point – we know its all systems go! Our job is to give the speakers the best possible experience to be able to deliver the best talk they can give to the discerning TEDxEuston community. It is also a great pleasure to support talented individuals through the rather exposing process of giving a TED talk. You’ll be surprised how many seasoned public speakers get nervous like many of us would!

7. The TEDxEuston community make it all worth while.

It may sound cliché but the most important reason we love curating TEDxEuston is to see how inspired the community is about attending TEDxEuston.
On that one Saturday, Africa is present and united in one place once a year, every year. Sharing and challenging the narrative of their individual countries. We will be overjoyed if we eventually have all 54 countries in the house one day.

TEDxEuston is an African family!