Fight Gbagba- there is nothing uniquely African about corruption
Telling the African story
The Gift of Blindness
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We should all be feminists
Her Royal Highness, The Nnabagereka (Queen) Sylvia Nagginda Luswata
Called to serve
The soft vengeance of a freedom fighter
Amina J Mohammed
Choosing a path of service
Africa in the hands of the youth
Power in our interconnectedness
Failing all the way to success
Rage for change
Embracing life’s challenges
The changing role of grandparenting
Boys, Sex and Control
Standing On Shoulders Of Giants
Not Learning from History
Powering the African Marketplace
Pushing entrepreneurial boundaries
Dr. Kayode Fayemi
Don’t be Afraid of Politics
Rt. Hon Paul Boateng MP
Only The Best Is Good Enough For Africa
Africans can save Africa
Finding African Stories
The Resonance Collection
Back To My Guitar Roots
People Powered Leadership
Between the Lines
Don’t Trivialise Corruption, Tackle It
Print of my heart
No Ordinary Fashion Designer
No More Labels
Cultural Heritage: A Basic Human Need
Against All Odds
Teresa H. Clarke
Bridging the Diaspora Divide
Debunking the made-for-Africa script
The Crazy Ones
Reshaping an Industry
Finding my Calling
My Wakeup Call
Making Long Term Bets
Our Struggle Is Not Over
The Ripple Effect of Training Young Leaders
Africa is the forward that the world needs to face
Occupying the office of the citizen
Trust your struggle
FATIMA B MUHAMMAD
Empowered women will change our world
Conversations with Baba
Where are the contemporary Pan-African intellectuals
FRANCES MENSAH WILLIAMS
Where is home
Consider what you have in your hands
To build a country
Time to give back
ALI A. MUFURUKI
Is Africa really rising?
Dont be a waste
Education made the difference
YVONNE ADHIAMBO OWUOR
World for worlds
TEDxEuston celebrates the diversity, vibrancy and potential of Africa as it reflects the ideas and inspired thinking of those who are committed to engaging meaningfully with the continent. TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading.” The program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.
At TEDxEuston we are committed to “African Ideas Worth Spreading”. Through our annual conference and other activities, including TEDxEuston Salon, blog platforms and other conversations, we connect people who have innovative approaches to Africa’s challenges, encourage responsible engagement with the continent, and create an environment to passionately embrace the continent.
TEDxEuston is organised by a team of global professionals operating in the UK and elsewhere, including Nigeria, Ghana, Germany, USA and India. Dedicated to the success of TEDxEuston, we believe in the power of ideas, the strength of stories and in the bright future of Africa.
TED is a non-profit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Having started out as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives.
The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, with simulcast in Palm Springs; TEDGlobal is held each year in Oxford, UK. TED’s media initiatives include TED.com, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide.
TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world, and the TEDFellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.
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”
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 BattaBox.com, 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.
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”.
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 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.
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 #myTEDxEustonstorywidely on Facebook and Twitter and we will share it further.