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TEDx comes to uOttawa

Every once in a while, we have those days where we’re uninspired and unmotivated to do anything (though at this time of year, it might be more than every once in a while), and we need a pick-me-up that’s not coffee. After some aimless web surfing, we might find ourselves on ted.com, a site where videos of talks and seminars are uploaded. Here, innovative minds share ideas and offer original perspectives on just about everything, allowing us to gain an invigorating dose of inspiration that makes us a little more motivated to take on the day.

However, brilliant ideas don’t only come from big names and people who have already established themselves in the so-called real world. They can also come from the average person living an average life. TED believes in “ideas worth spreading” and those ideas can come from anyone. That’s why TEDx events are created in which groups host TED-like events with speakers from their local community who share their innovative thoughts and original ideas.

On Sunday March 29th, uOttawa hosted its third TEDx event, and it featured an incredible line-up of speakers. Students from across different faculties and at different points in their university careers gave riveting talks about a variety of subjects. There were also a couple of professional figures who came in to speak. Some speakers offered the audience a glimpse into their own personal lives and experiences while others shared their original ideas and perspectives, giving the audience some new notions to walk away with.

All of the talks were extremely insightful and eye opening. If you were unable to attend the event in person and have yet to watch the livestream, here’s a quick recap.

1. Abenezer Abebe: Why is ‘’Uptown Funk’’ so Catchy?

Abenezer uses the model of “Uptown Funk” to offer a stimulating talk that discusses the different aspects of a musical composition and demonstrates how works borrow from each other to create something original.

2. Gabi Ghannoum: Terrorism and Islam

Gabi talks about his views of Islam and terrorism and why he believes that the negative way in which these two notions are often associated needs to change.

3. Caitlin Tolley: The Emergence of Youth Leadership Through the Seven Grandfather Teachings (youth leadership and traditional indigenous teachings)

As a member of the Aboriginal community, Caitlin shares a bit about her background and her subsequent insights in regard to the role youth should play as leaders of the future.

4. Lareinaa Aloysious: Anorexia: Started From the Bottom, Now We’re Here

Lareinaa describes her personal battle and struggle with anorexia and how she overcame it. She believes that more support and awareness is required for dealing with eating disorders and the idea of body image.

5. Hiba Elhaj: What We’re Saying When We’re Not Saying Anything : Conversation About Race

Hiba gives a poignant talk about race and the influence it has on people and their perceptions of themselves.

6. Emma Harrison: The Social Stigma of Mental Illness in Progressive and Academic Communities

Emma draws upon her own experiences with mental illness and disability and how that plays a role in her academic career at uOttawa, proposing changes she believes need to be effected.

7. Chelsea Ouellette: Poetry and Stress: A Perfect Friendship

Chelsea’s talk centres around poetry and its significance, citing poetry as her way of getting through stress.

8. Dr. Sue Johnson: The New Frontier of Sex & Intimacy

Dr. Sue Johnson is an author, researcher, and clinical psychologist based in Ottawa. In her talk, she gives an insightful presentation about sex and its impact on a couple’s relationship.

9. Elizabeth Taylor: Explain Oppression in Five Minutes or Less, or It Doesn’t Exist

Elizabeth offers her take on the notion of oppression and the importance of acknowledging this problem in order to respond to it appropriately.

10. Dr Luke Michael: How the Power of Hypnosis Can Make You a Happier and Better Student

Dr. Luke Michael has obtained a degree in Hypnotherapy as well as a Doctorate in Psychology. In his talk, Dr. Luke Michael demonstrates how hypnosis can be the key to reorienting our perspectives to attain success.

All of the talks are available for viewing online and they are definitely all well worth your time! For the live recording of the entire event, please click here.


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An undergraduate student in her final year of study at the University of Ottawa, Melissa Poon is studying English and French as a Second Language with the hopes of working in publishing in the future. She has a passion for storytelling and finds it supremely fulfilling to bring the stories of others to life with a selection of choice words, a dash of character, and a touch of light humour. 
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