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A rising tide…


There is an old saying, often attributed to former US President John F. Kennedy, that “A rising tide floats all boats.”

While this may strike some as a quaint aphorism or a cliche, it strikes a chord with us on the TEDxCalgary organizing committee. Calgary in the early months of 2010 is home to no less than four TEDx events in and around the city, with another event occurring in Edmonton throughout the same period. In our estimation, the interest in TEDx-type events in Calgary is without parallel in Canada in terms of its intensity, and perhaps may be one of the most intense concentrations of TEDx events for any city or region of its size globally.

Why such a level of interest?

One obvious answer is that Calgary is home to a growing range of connected, globally aware, and highly creative people working in a range of sectors. We’d certainly like to think that this helps to describe many of the members of our own organizing committee, and all indications are that this is a common trait on the counterpart organizing committees for other TEDx events in the area. Many of us are “from away”, and we’ve deliberately chosen to make Calgary our home. With that choice made, it seems natural that we should take a vested interest in the types of ideas that help drive the future development of the city, and that we’d also have a strong desire to search the globe for centres of innovation — like TED and TEDx — that contain “Ideas worth spreading”.

A second answer is that Calgary, as a city, is on the cusp of significant change. This seems to be a continuous thread in the city’s political, social, and economic discussions, but all of our growth to date hasn’t really prepared us for the realities of getting even bigger (and more influential) as a world-class city. From infrastructure to social policy to habitability, becoming — and staying — in the leagues of those cities world-wide with more than a million inhabitants puts us in a special position of responsibility for our current and future actions.

Where we once might have been content to let things happen around us, there is a growing need for citizen engagement in the issues of today and tomorrow. The complexities of planning for a future Calgary are beyond even the most talented of civic councils and city staffs, as the decisions being made need to engage such a diverse base of stakeholders.

At the end of the day, we’re very pleased to see such a level of interest in TEDx events, as it demonstrates the level of engagement that a growing number of Calgarians are willing to show in the issues surrounding their city and the world at large. Having such a diverse range of TEDx events in the city through to April 2010 is a great opportunity for interested participants to get out, join in one of the events, and come create a better community — and world — together.

Add your voice to the discussions… send us your thoughts by commenting here, or by connecting with us through any of our various social media streams. YOUR ideas matter to us, and we look forward to the conversation!

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