Our Common Future…TEDxChiangMai 2018

 |  February 1, 2018

TEDx in Thailand has seen an explosion of growth in the past couple of years with at least 10 TEDx events organised in Bangkok, Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai each year.

The very first TEDxChiangMai was held in 2011 under the name TEDxDoiSuthep, attracting a few hundred participants. The last event was held in 2016 and was sold out with over a thousand attendees. This year’s theme is ‘Our Common Future’ which was inspired by the 1987 report from the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development. This year will see 20 speakers chosen to speak, inspire and widen the perspective of those attending and to look beyond the boundaries we face today.

“I’m looking at the fourth industrial revolution,” explained Nati Sang, the Founder of Makerspace Thailand who is scheduled to speak at the upcoming event. “Now that hardware and software have converged into one, and technology is portable, we as people have a greater power of invention, creation and the ability to make things with imagination as the limit. That is what I’ll be exploring,” Nati continued.

Another speaker, Kenneth Rimdahl, who is the founder of Monsoon Tea said, “Deforestation is the biggest threat of the human kind, so we produce free-grown tea without cutting down the forest, and for that not only are the forests saved but we can make them profitable, giving them even more value; and by saving the forest, we’re literally saving the world.”

This year’s head coordinator is Ploypilin Kasemsuk, a feisty 23 year old recent graduate in Associate Medical Science. In the one year since graduation, she has gathered a reputation as a formidable motivator, activist and organiser. She held the Sound Muan event, a TED-style talk that gathered inspirational youths to come and inspire others with support from Creative Chiang Mai, she organised a movie screening project that brought alternative films to Chiang Mai and she is now working on a sex education programme for school students with the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning.
“I first volunteered for the event a couple of years back when I was still at university and I have been participating in the event since, so last year when they recruited the team for this event, I joined in again,” explained Ploypilin of her involvement with TEDxChiangMai. “The thing is there is no barrier of seniority like most other organisations here in Thailand. At the meeting table, a student’s opinions matter just as much as a professor’s or a professional’s, and for a young inexperience student to be heard is one of the most valuable things imaginable,” she continued.

As a non-profit organisation, every TEDx event is driven by the passionate, dedicated volunteers from various sectors, students included. In the case of TEDxChiangMai, students play a significant role in putting together the event as the team’s mission aims to seek out “ideas worth spreading”, often in fresh, young and open minded people. Successful international professionals like Nati and Kenneth share the same platform as young aspiration entrepreneurs like Klee Bho who is trying to connect people through native Karen instruments and music.

“I’ve learned from meeting all these people that everyone has their own story, idea, background, and it’s just the never ending lesson to me,” Ploypilin said.

Talks this year will cover topics such as the aging society, big data, health care, leadership, cybersecurity, genetic engineering, cultural values, green space, forest conservation and much much more. But you will not be sitting still all day long just listening to talks. There will be a plethora of activities to join in including performances, massages, food and drinks, games and more. Participants will be encouraged to make friends and connect with each other. Translation devices in Thai and English will be available. Most importantly, the event aims to be waste free, by banning plastic cups, straws and single-use plastic bottles.

A year of brainstorming, seeking, discussing, curating has been refined into a one day event, TEDxChiangMai “Our Common Future”, on February 10th at Le Meridian. Tickets available now.

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