TEDxYouthInspire, the first TEDx event targeted exclusively at African youth is underway at Ghana’s Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT. Under the theme, a good head and a good heart, culled from one of iconic former South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiographies, the conference promises to be an inspiring as well as awakening experience for the over 100 young invited attendees, and thousands more who will be following events closely through the power of the world wide web.
A conference of this nature, at this point in African history, holds some significance as many African countries mark their 50th milestone of liberation from the shackles of colonialism this year. It is therefore imperative for one to reflect on the progress that Africa has made in the space of the past 50 years, specifically examining the lives of today’s African youth as compared to those of their colleagues at the dawn of independence. Armed with the knowledge that overall progress on the continent over the span of the past 50 years has been marginal, perhaps one question then becomes pertinent at TEDxYouthInspire: “In what ways can African youth contribute to the reversion of the retrogression seen on the continent for large periods of its post-independence history?” Indeed, such introspection resonates well with the conference’s theme taken from the book a long walk to freedom.
Apart from its historical significance, the event has the potential to be a life-changing experience for both speakers and attendees. Many of our promising speakers will have their first major public speaking experience and the limelight of the TEDx stage will not only establish them as role models for their contemporaries, but will also open
Further, a major topic that is running throughout the day’s deliberations is the role of leadership in the transformative process of the continent. Leadership’s role is instructive because it inspires ideas, strategies, action, discipline, direction, reflection and celebration. Without good leadership, there is no way that we will see the kind of change we want to see happen in Africa. Patrick Awuah, from Ashesi University captures this philosophy rather succinctly in his now renowned TED talk at Arusha, Tanzania. We’re hoping that TEDxYouthInspire will help raise the next generation of African changemakers. As leadership is a prevailing thought of the times, it is by no accident that it ties in nicely with the theme of the last BarCamp Ghana: “leadership for our times-cultivating changemakers.” Submissions from various attendees also attest to the importance of leadership.
TEDxYouthInspire started at 9:00 am and will be running until 6:00 pm. The day is not all about talks as there are other items lined up to engage the attention of young leaders. There is a cultural performance, screening of TED talks and a movie, lunch and plenty of opportunity for interaction. TEDxYouthInspire is being hosted by