AUC students host first TEDx event in St. Maarten | THE DAILY HERALD

A scene at the TEDx event.


CUPECOY–Ten speakers captivated a sold-out audience at American University of the Caribbean (AUC) School of Medicine’s first Technology, Entertainment and Design (TEDx) event on Sunday.

  TEDxAUCMED brought together students and members of the St. Maarten community for a seven-hour programme of powerful and inspiring presentations.

  The event’s theme, “Weathering the Storm”, was carefully selected as an homage to Hurricane Irma. The event was organised by a student committee led by fourth-semester students Elizabeth Allison, Jeffery Summers Jr., Monique Gonzales and Kyle Anthony. Starting in April, the committee planned and executed every detail of the event following strict guidelines to have TEDx licensed as an official TEDx event.

  TEDx events are localised conferences where communities, organisations and individuals can connect and share ideas through talks and performances. There have been more than 100,000 TEDx events in more than 130 countries, but only 11 held in the Caribbean. The inaugural AUC event was the first in St. Maarten and, if the event organisers have their way, it won’t be the last.

  “This event centres not only on the science of weathering the storm, but the notion that we are capable of overcoming extreme adversity,” said Elizabeth Allison during her opening remarks. “We hope today empowers you to weather your own storms.”

  While some speakers gave harrowing accounts from the category 5 hurricane, others talked about medicine, art, and evolving global landscapes. In his opening speech, Yassin Nayel, a fourth semester student used a powerful patient story to punctuate the question: ‘How can we achieve equal treatment of infectious disease worldwide?’

  Yassin was one of the 10 featured speakers at the event and one of six from AUC. Other AUC speakers included fourth semester students Fouad Berry and Tsitsi Rwakonda; class of 2019 graduate Dr. Constantine Kanakis; Neuroscience Course Director Dr. Gautam Ullal; and Housing Supervisor Melissa Harrison-Grinuva.

  Another four presentations were delivered by unaffiliated speakers, including Safe Haven Foundation and shelter Director Cassandra Richardson; Director of Strategic Partnerships for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Fellowship in Disaster Medicine Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner; award-winning painter Roland Richardson; and journalist and comedian Joe Dominique.

  The presentations were as different as the speakers themselves. With diverse perspectives and experiences, they each gave an inspiring, thought-provoking and energising presentation.

  “It was an absolutely enriching experience,” said Alicia Liverpool, who attended the event with two colleagues from David Company. “The topics explored, the content of the speakers, and videos were captivating. We left empowered and were so glad we attended.”

  Liverpool was among 100 guests in the sold-out event on Sunday. As a part of the TEDx guidelines, the event was limited to 100 people. AUC students and staff who were unable to secure a ticket watched a livestream of the event in an overflow space.

  For the organising student committee TEDxAUCMED was better than they could ever have imagined. “We started this event hoping to fill seats, but gained such overwhelming support from AUC, Adtalem, and the St. Maarten community along the way. Our speakers put in a lot of hard work to deliver wonderful, thought-provoking presentations. It has been such a proud moment for us,” they said.

  With the inaugural TEDxAUCMED gaining so much attention, the conference organisers have already been thinking about their next event. A possible partnership with the St. Maarten Department of Culture may even be in the works for a future event.

  “We want to continue to build on this weekend’s success and are already putting together a team of students to host the next TEDx at AUCMED,” the committee said in their release, adding that there are discussions for ideas for other events to come in the future.

Source: The Daily Herald