In the past few years, talks from conferences presented by the nonprofit known as Technology Entertainment Design (TED) have become increasingly popular, spreading across the Internet and getting thousands of hits on Youtube. The organization licenses different entities to organize their own independent version of a TEDTalk, called TEDxTalks, and next year, Gallaudet University will host a TEDx event on Feb. 28.
Dr. Thomas Horejes, Assistant Professor of Criminology and Sociology has been an avid watcher of TEDTalks and TEDxTalks for years. This past spring, he began the process of bringing a TEDx event to Gallaudet University, first by obtaining licensure from the TED organization.
“I have been a fan and supporter of TED and TEDx for many years and I passionately believe in their mission to foster community-based dialogues with the goal of sharing ideas. While I have never attended an official TED conference, I often watch the TEDTalks and TEDxTalks and find them inspiring,” he said. “In this spirit, I decided that Gallaudet would be a wonderful place to host a TEDx event because the deaf and hard of hearing community has many stories and unique perspectives to share with the world at large.”
The event next February will be unique in that all of the presenters will showcase their ideas in American Sign Language (ASL) to accommodate attendees from the Gallaudet community who are deaf and hard of hearing. Because ASL is a visual language and uses movements of the hands, body and facial expression to communicate ideas and meanings, when these talks are recorded for the University’s TEDxTalks page, they will feature English voice-overs and captions to reach a wider audience.
One hundred individuals will be allowed to attend the event at the television studio on the Gallaudet campus.
The university is currently seeking proposals from individuals interested in speaking at the independently-organized event. The call for proposals will end on Nov. 15. The TEDx organizing committee at Gallaudet University expects to have 15-20 individual speakers. An announcement regarding proposal topics and presenters is expected in December. The event will be recorded and uploaded to the TEDxTalks website and the university’s TEDxTalks page afterward.
Although the event is five months away, announcements regarding the university’s TEDxTalk have been met with excitement. The university’s social media pages have created buzz within the university community and its supporters and excitement is building, Dr. Horejes said.
“The two announcements about TEDxGallaudet have garnered nearly 150 likes on Facebook and almost 30 shares and on Twitter, the news received 15 retweets. Excitement is building and I’m confident that the TEDxGallaudet videos that are posted after the event will be well-received by the public at large,” he said. “I’m truly excited to see the TEDxGallaudet presentations and to learn how they will inspire others around the globe,” he said.
For more information on the TEDxGallaudet event, see the university’s web page, at http://www.gallaudet.edu/tedx.html.
Gallaudet University is the world’s only liberal arts university where all programs and services accommodate students who are deaf and hard of hearing; there, students learn through English and ASL.