Reflections on TEDxPhnomPenh

Posted on: February 21, 2011 Posted by: Manin Oem Comments: 0

Reflections on TEDxPhnomPenh

TEDx in Phnom Penh

Photo credit: Anna Baranova

Maybe you’ve heard of TED. You might have watched one of their inspiring videos on any of a multitude of topics from politics and education to technology, design, and music. The word “inspiring” comes up often when people speak about TED talks—it’s just impossible not to be energized by the concepts contained within them.

The idea for TEDxPhnomPenh came to PEPY people Daniela and Rithy after they ventured to TEDxBangkok in 2009. Rithy was inspired to take the phenomenon to Cambodia, and Daniela was motivated to help.

When I came on board to join the organizers, things were still in the initial stages—roles were being worked out, possible themes were being thrown around, and we were talking a lot about the inspirational impact we hoped to have. Rithy formed the Khmer Young Entrepreneurs, and they became influential in setting the tone for the conference, making some of the most important decisions about speakers.

We wanted TEDxPhnomPenh to be the start of a movement, to be the catalyst for encouraging a great community in Cambodia to share their ideas. This is what ultimately led to setting this year’s TEDx theme as ‘Building the Future.’ We asked ourselves: What could the future of Cambodia look like? What challenges are there to overcome? How do the young people of Cambodia want their country to be perceived by the world?

As the day approached, I was anticipating the usual stress that comes along with the execution of a big project. However, the vibe from the attendees, other organizers, and supporters made everything run smoothly. People did their parts with smiles on their faces. It was contagious—I beamed the whole day.

TEDxPhnomPenh featured 13 presentations covering a range of issues. Sithen talked about self-education. Channe talked about capacity building at the local level. Mike talked about the phenomenon of the quarter-life crisis… and the day continued with one impressive talk after another! Through it all, I was so inspired by everyone I saw around me. I witnessed people working together on a project that they believed in, and having fun at the same time! No furrowed brows, no raised voices, just getting down to the business of learning and sharing, while smiling the whole time—inspiring indeed.

Learn what our Khmer staff thought about TEDxPhnomPenh:

Click here to see Rithy's thought
Rithy Thul
Click here to see Hangchhay Ao's thought
Hangchhay Ao
Click here to see Seak Ngoy's thought
Seak Ngoy
Click here to see Sopheak Sun's thought
Sopheak Sun
Click here to see Bopha Soth's thought
Bopha Soth
Click here to see Kimline Nuch's thought
Kimline Nuch
Click here to see Awatd's thought
Watd Khouth Sochampa