On the 25th of March, Quest University Canada hosted its first TEDxQuestU event on campus. The four-hour long event was a platform for sharing ideas that add value to the world while creating an atmosphere that fostered intellectual exploration and collaboration. The event was spearheaded by a team of 15 students led by this year’s organizer, Okong’o Kinyanjui, and featured a diverse set of speakers composed of eight students, a faculty member, and an external speaker.

For six lengthy months, these speakers intricately prepared their talks around this year’s theme, “Quest-ioning the norm,” with the assistance of committed speaker team members; Nicole Zanesco, Eluti Danzig, Sarah Chudleigh, Nritya Mala, and Megan Morgan. The quality of each talk was representative of a summation of hours of complex research, deep reflection, and rich authenticity that spoke to the soul. Some talks provoked emotion, others expanded our field of knowledge and others offered critical approaches to dire situations.

In her talk, “Can education help erase ignorance as an excuse for racism and discrimination?” we listened to the powerful words of Eliyana Stern, an exemplary 14-year-old activist from Squamish, who’s narrative is not only imprinted in our minds, but has sprung some to action. Jasmine Aimaq’s talk, “Finding the exit to your box,” took us on an emotional rollercoaster that ended with deep insight and a new lens through which to look at the world. Student speakers such as Stuart Lantz, “Why does believing in free will matter?”; Alex Gillespie, “When does motivation become procrastination?”; Benjamin Sandler, “What can we learn from the fake news debate?”; and Johannes Bodendorfer, “Of rifles and schoolbooks: Where do liberal arts and the military meet?”; opened serious dialogue with humour. And other speakers like Leena Lamontagne-Dupuis, “Are the poor lazy?”; Max Notarangelo, “How can we make science probably accurate?”; Maria-José Araujo, “An invisible refugee crisis, why are we not listening?”; and Daniel Herrmann, “How can we have better conversations?”; made complex problems in the world way easier to understand.

Moreover, who can forget the witty comments of our MCs Josh Visser and Nicole Zanesco, in addition to the serene musical interludes by Mitchell Schaumberg. And the lovely smiles of logistics team members like Aria Ciccia, Oliver Rothenberg, and Katriona Mccoll, who’s beaming faces greeted all at the welcome desk. The event designs by Emily Glasberg established a convivial atmosphere and captured the attention of the masses. And the event would not have been possible without the assistance of Rikki Logan and Barbara Fernandes’ comprehensive documentation of finances, proactive budgeting, and innovation with limited resources. The quality background marketing and filming done by Arlette Akingeneye, Michael Geuenich, Parker Carruthers, and Jacob Tracy speaks for itself. Of course Adrienne Dalla-Longa, Alejandro Casazi, and Katherine Crowshaw deserve more than enough thanks for going out of their way to provide assistance.

The fact that the event successfully sold all tickets by the end of the first week showed us the demand and anticipation for the event by the Quest community and beyond. Next year we will welcome a much larger audience with more exciting surprises. We hope to see you there!

The live stream of the event can be found on the TEDxQuestU Facebook page.

Professionally edited videos of each talk will be released later in May on TED’s official website https://www.ted.com/talks.