A group of Bruneian youths have managed to organize a “TEDxYouth@Gadong” conference last Sunday at iCentre, Bandar Seri Begawan. With the theme ‘Youth Empowerment’ the half-day conference involved student speakers and student volunteers aged between 13-22 years old. The conference saw eight youth speakers take center stage to present their respective ideas.

The eight speakers are Sidharth Raj from JIS, Osama Tariq and Seyrence Lee from Chung Hwa Middle School, Brandon Chin and Ruby Lim from Maktab Duli, Heng Sang Hong from Sarjana Muda School, Eric Ngu from ISB, and AK Naim from PTEM. The topics they presented touched on the themes that relate to environment, technology, leadership, motivation, and education.

Osama Tariq, a sixteen-year old Pakistani student from Chung Hwa, spoke about a topic entitled “The Negative Effects of Technology”. When asked about what he thought about the event, he replied “It was a great experience to be one of the speakers for the event. I gained new ideas and met a lot of new people. Hence, ideas were understood and friendship was made. Overall it was an awesome experience.”

“It was an amazing opportunity to speak at TEDx, especially as we are youths. I believe this is just the beginning of something big and important.” commented Eric Ngu who spoke on the topic “Don’t say “Why?”, Say “Why not?””

Only thirteen-year old, Sidharth Raj, a JIS student who lives in Seria was the youngest participant in the entire TEDx programme. He presented a topic entitled “Why don’t we learn what we need to learn?” where he shared his thoughts on introducing life-based learning in schools.

The TEDx volunteer programme, which is a vital part of TEDx, saw seven youths took part. Here they got involved in five key areas of the enterprise. The five areas are commercial, marketing, technical, operation, and IT.

The youngest person involved in the volunteer programme was a fifteen-year old, St. Andrews student named Wei Quan. He co-headed the commercial operations where he got the chance to independently manage the official TEDx ticketing booth located at Coffee Bean Tea and Leaf, Bandar.

Attending the conference include well-known local personalities such as Delwin Keasberry of Brunei Tweet, Rano Iskandar of Ranoadidas, and Iswandy Ahmad of Brunei AIDS council. Edward Findlay, Public Affairs Officer from the US Embassy also came to support the conference.

TEDxGadong is a Bruneian-based enterprise aimed at producing TED-like experiences. Its last event was held in August 2014 and it saw two students from UBD and a student UNISSA become TEDx speakers. “TEDxYouth@Gadong” is a group offshoot project aimed to involve students aged between 12-18 years old.

“TEDxGadong@Youth” conference was supported by BEDB, British High Commission, US Embassy, Brunei Enterprise, and iCentre. Interested sponsors or partners can contact the group through WhatsApp at 8911718. The public is also invited to ‘like’ their facebook fanpage at facebook.com/tedxgadong.

More pictures at TEDxGadong. Pic credits to Najib Azhar!

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