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Feel The Force with TEDxQMUL

TEDxQMUL is back and ready for 2016 with a new theme, ready to turn campus into a hub of inspired talks and speakers 

Many of us will know TEDx for its short, powerful talks. The talks aim to share ideas worth spreading, ideas that ultimately aim to change attitudes, lives, and the world. Usually lasting 18 minutes or less, the audio-visual format of TEDx talks makes them widely accessible online. Unlike TED, TEDx is independently organised. At universities these talks are primarily led by students, showcasing the ideas of young people and their pitches for effective social change.

Many universities, particularly in the US, have their own TEDx group or society. In recent years, British universities, including the University of Edinburgh, Sussex University and Queen Mary have all set up their own TEDx groups on campus.

Last year’s event saw students talking about community, a relevant topic for a uni that places itself in an ever interesting and intensely ethnically diverse area of London. Launching TEDx at Queen Mary for the very first time, TEDxQMUL 2015 hosted a wealth of stimulating discussion during 6 talks focusing around the topic.

External speakers were isolated to just students and staff members at Queen Mary. The six speakers included Phd student and approachable leftie Sofa Gradin, Drama student come Callux YouTube star Aidan Peppin, and our very own student media alumnus Bruno Cooke.

So, what’s in store for TEDx 2016?

“This is the second year TEDxQMUL is running. We have grown from around 60 attendees in 2015 to a capacity of 300 delegates. This year’s theme is force because now more than ever, the strength of various movements has defined our humanity. Indeed, the success of the human race depends on our sense of humanity as a driving force. ‘Force’ itself is expansive and cannot be contained within boundaries. This is what makes it so powerful,” said TEDxQMUL coordinator Halima Raji.

According to a recent survey conducted by TEDx QMUL, 38% of students said that ‘Star Wars’ was the first thing that came to mind when hearing the word ‘force’. Regardless of our practically universal adoration for Jedis, TEDxQMUL hope to discuss a range of topics relating to the force of nature, physical force, spiritual force, force of technology, oppression and motivational force.

Being a unique annual conference, it draws the extraordinary wealth of innovation, motivation, creativity and inspiration found here at Queen Mary.

TEDx is the child of the TED brand (Technology, Entertainment, Design), a global non-profit platform for ideas worth spreading. Starting in 1984 as a conference, today TED shares ideas from a broad spectrum — from science to business to global issues.

Writing on the event, the TEDxQMUL team have said: “No, this is not a Star Wars teaser event, we celebrate the movements and diversity of various people and causes both in QM and the world who use their undying belief and courage in progress to serve as forces for change, forces for promotion and forces for progress. The whole-day event will comprise of series of thought-provoking talks from 10 amazing speakers, including refreshments, entertainment, and networking.”

“TEDxQMUL will showcase the intellectual capabilities of the QMUL community, facilitate stimulating conversations on issues currently facing our immediate community as well as the world at large and propagate inspiring, informative and motivational messages,” said coordinator Halima.

Whilst we aren’t anticipating Jabba The Hut to put on a talk any time soon, there are indeed some exciting speakers lined up for TEDxQMUL. With a certain air of enthusiasm, Halima added:

“We will be hosting both external and internal speakers. Internal speakers will comprise of students and lecturers. Externally, we have been in contact with professional swimmer and author Sean Conway, Australian stand-up comedian Matt Parker and influential Afghan refugee Gulwalli Passarlay.”

It’s certainly worth noting that many TEDx talks, aside from being incredibly intellectually stimulating, can often be related to current affairs and global news. With this in mind, perhaps it’s not all that unlikely that the talk from refugee Gulwalli Passarlay, who is a familiar face for refugee discussions at the university in the past, will open up discussion on the recent events in Syria.

Corrections and Clarifications: Our latest issue stated that ‘All events are free to attend’. This was a mistake and we’d like to sincerely apologise both to the TedXQMUL team, and to any students who were inconvenienced by this. Information on ticket prices can be found at, or by searching ‘TedxQMUL’ on Facebook. 

Image: TedxQMUL website

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