The tradition of TED in Croatia is not one of those long-standing, well-established ones. For all kinds of reasons, it is only over the last several years that we started hearing more about TED and the philosophy behind it.
The first TEDx event was held in Croatia in 2010; it was hugely successful and it spread TED’s message in our country. The community has been growing ever since, but it is still much smaller (and probably less coherent) than in other countries. With a goal to change this situation, we started working on a new event, TEDxMaksimir. The original and still active plan was to organize a TEDx event with a much larger TED community behind it and with interesting and innovative speakers on the stage. It is during the organization activities for this event that we got the opportunity to also screen the TEDxWomen event on December 1.
We got the license not long before the actual event, so we really had to work fast in order to make it all happen. Getting any “serious” venue on such a short notice would have been next to impossible, so we needed to get creative about this. The first place we thought of was a lovely café where we normally have our team meetings because of its relaxed atmosphere and yummy cake! It is very intimate, with comfortable armchairs, soft cushions and cinnamon scent in the air. Luckily for us, the owner was very helpful and accommodating and thrilled with what we wanted to do, so here is a huge thanks to her! Once that was settled, we focused our work on lobbying the TED community to attend the event and also spreading the word to all our friends and acquaintances.
Oh the day-of, final technical preparations were finished and we were ready to go! Although the turnout wasn’t very promising at first, quite a few people came and went during the evening. We didn’t really know many of them, which goes to show that the word spread far and wide, not just to our friends and families.
We didn’t organize any live talks because our aim was to focus on the talks from the live stream. When the program started, our small audience was riveted. We watched talk after talk and breaks came too fast. We were fascinated by the brave, intelligent, special women who not only bring change, but also are the change in the world.
We tried using the break for discussions with the audience, but since it was a work day and quite late because of the time difference, few people were able to stay. Even so, all of them agreed that what they saw and heard was remarkable, indeed, and that it changed the way they think of the world, and also of ourselves. One of the attendees said that, because of what she had seen at the event, she will not see obstacles as limitations any more, but as challenges.
We believe that even if our work only impacts one person and changes their views and their sense of self, then it is all worth it. Then what we do makes sense and then we’re not just a bunch of enthusiasts any more, but true agents of change. We take pride in it.