Do we have the chance to attend #TED India?

These are just a few concerns I have with regard to participation of youngsters in TED India. I keep seeing a lot of tweets about TED India’s final date of registration and how they are looking forward towards the participation of Indian youth in the event.  However a few concerns remain. I may be wrong or I may be right. I’m just trying to add a perspective here and intend to keep it as short as possible.

a) While India has a large young population, a majority of the TG that TED would ideally want to attract rests in the tier 1, 2 and 3 cities. And within that set, given the high standards that TED has set for its fellow program + presence of local societal factors influencing the opportunities for creating an impact makes it all the more difficult to participate in TED India! (Leave aside the fee of Rs.1.5 lacs)

b) TED India should understand that, India is just 60+ yrs old and though there are enough opportunities for making a change, the youngsters are not (yet!) trained or educated in the best of manners/processes when it comes to a strict ‘problem-solving’ approach or even ‘critical thinking’. After 12th std, youngsters have only three fields to choose from > science, commerce and arts (though this is rapidly changing now with options like management, finance, information technology and accounting)

c) Societal factors like earning a good salary as soon as one graduates, looking after one’s own extended family, buying an house by saving enough money are still the driving forces for youngsters. We have very less avenues + interest for research and development, technological expertise, etc

d) The best of young Indian minds (IITs and IIMs) tend to either go abroad for better opportunities or end up working in the best of MNCs in India itself. There are also many ailments that plague the Indian ecosystem when it comes to policies, labour laws, education, etc > hence the trend.

e) So, what TED can get is (i) highly aspirational and motivated young minds who have the will to work for a change. (ii) Students who are presently studying in the final year of the best of institutions (iii) Young execs who have started projects/ventures of their own

Feedback in the form of appreciation or critism are welcome 🙂


~ by rb on June 7, 2009.

2 Responses to “Do we have the chance to attend #TED India?”

  1. Dear Hopelessly, The TEDIndia Fellows program is not for youngsters per se, but targeted towards those 21-40 though 18-20 and 40 plus are most welcome, too. We’re not looking primarily for undergraduate or high school students UNLESS they have done something remarkable. The successful candidate does not even need to have attended college, as we value achievements over credentials, something you might find unusual. Remember the TEDFellows come all expenses paid, so there is no cost or barrier to their coming except filling out the applications and being adjudged as a worthy addition to the conference.

    We’re looking for outstanding people from all sectors of society, not just students or entrepreneurs, but tech, entertainment, design, arts, science, humanities, NGO’s filmmakers, novelists, bloggers, activists and more. Please email me if you have any further questions.

    Tom Rielly
    TED Fellow director.

    • Dear Tom,

      I really appreciate your prompt reply! Thanks a ton for giving me a perspective on things from a TED view point. Again my only concern is that although TED is looking out for individuals from all sectors of the Indian society irrespective of age, education, background, etc > how visible is TED for them? In fact, I’m even surprised to notice that most of the ‘wired’/’internet addicted’ youngsters of India haven’t even heard of TED.

      In India, there are lot of people who do great work on ideas worth spreading – a woman donates cycles to poor school children so that distance is no longer an impediment to education; a couple teaches English language to Tibetan refugees with the help of technology; a group of people work hard to make every Indian village wi-fi enabled. The challenge is to reach out to those agents of change.

      And we youngsters can be TED’s channel. And we are more than willing to help. I’m sure TED must have taken into consideration all these aspects.

      For youngsters like me, attending TED would be a dream come true. Just to be in that last seat of the event would be great inspiration for us. Do let us know how we could associate ourselves with TED.

      An ardent & passionate fan of TED I remain


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