TED Talks Event Set for Rangoon in March

By Tin Htet Paing 22 January 2016

RANGOON — Known around the world for its conferences on an ever-expanding range of topics and ideas, TED talks is now coming to Burma.

The independently organized event under the TED banner will take place on March 23 at Rangoon’s Inya Lake Hotel, according to organizers.

“TEDxInyaLake” will feature a range of speakers including poet Nay Oake, filmmaker Lin Sun Oo, lawyer Robert San Aung, environmental conservationist Yin Myo Suu, education expert Tim Aye Hardy, author Pascal Khoo Thwe, and many more.

The organizing team includes eight female professionals headed by Thiri Thant Mon, managing director at Sandanila, and lead curator Thin Lei Win, chief correspondent with bilingual news agency Myanmar Now.

The conference will be held under the theme “Myanmar Connects” and aims to “promote the world of ideas to Myanmar via TED and TEDx talks, and in turn contribute Myanmar’s ideas to the world,” according to the event’s website.

Thiri Thant Mon told The Irrawaddy via email on Thursday she was motivated to help organize the event due to a passion for education and empowerment and a desire to raise learning standards in her native country.

“A country in isolation subjected to poor education and propaganda raises a citizenry that is ill-informed and unable to take advantage of and compete in the interconnected world with the freely available knowledge that we have today,” she said.

“I aim to help change this in any small or large way.”

The event aims to provide a window onto Burma as “a normal human society with normal human problems,” the website says.

Lin Sun Oo, chief executive officer of Tagu Films, who will be speaking about his personal story as a third generation filmmaker in his family, said he appreciated the variety of speakers set to take part in the event.

“It’s a good mix because it isn’t just about politics and the same narrative about Myanmar and its military past,” he told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.

TED describes itself as a nonprofit, launched in 1984, and devoted to the spread of ideas on a plethora of topics, with discussions held in more than 100 languages to date.