“Illuminate” will be the theme for the TEDxVirginiaTech 2014 event to be held on Nov. 20, at the Moss Arts Center. TED enthusiasts and great speakers, thinkers, and doers are invited to “give the talk of a lifetime” at the third annual event.

Intentionally broad, the theme is meant to inspire multidisciplinary and transformative ideas in line with the principles of TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to ideas worth spreading. The 2014 event will be held in the evening, so the theme casts a deliberate contrast between light and dark. It evokes a broad range of literal and figurative interpretations and proposes intriguing questions, such as:

  • How can we make the invisible, visible?
  • How can old and new problems be seen in new light?
  • How can we ignite the power, passion, and promise of new knowledge?
  • How do we prevent the suffocation of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurialism?
  • Are there proven frameworks for providing clarity on societal problems?
  • What are the long-term environmental effects of new lighting technologies?
  • What impacts does light have on both the function and aesthetics of architectural spaces?
  • Can the shadows be just as interesting as the light?
  • What artifacts represent a moment of clarity, of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension?
  • Have you experienced an unexpected moment in which a passion was illuminated for you?
  • What happens scientifically in our physical beings in a moment of enlightenment?
  • How does light affect our mood and social behavior?

The TEDxVirginiaTech committee invites university faculty, staff, students, alumni, and New River Valley community members to submit nominations for speakers. Deadline for submissions is April 30. Self-nominations are welcome and encouraged.

“TEDxVirginiaTech - Illuminate provides a platform for engaging the local and global community in igniting the power, passion, and promise of creativity, innovation, connection, and illumination,” said Peter Doolittle, professor with the School of Education and director of Virginia Tech’s Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research. He serves on the organizing committee of TEDxVirginiaTech. “As Virginia Tech works to Invent the Future, it must illuminate the questions, context, solutions, and integrations necessary to move forward.”

Nominations will be accepted at the TEDxVirginiaTech website until April 30, with a short list of prospective speakers being invited to pitch their talks to selection committees in May and June. Final speakers will be announced in August. Nominations should include: The potential speaker’s name, affiliation with Virginia Tech, email address, description of idea worth spreading, how the idea relates to the event theme, and information about why the nominee is a credible speaker.

Speakers at the event will be allotted up to 15 minutes to address a topic that has broad appeal, relates to the event’s theme, and is an idea worth spreading -- a central principle held by the nonprofit organization. Dynamic, highly visual presentations coupled with a storytelling speaking style are encouraged. As with TED guidelines, speakers are disallowed from addressing political and/or religious agendas, or promoting a company, and also precluded from using podiums or notes during their talk.

TEDxVirginiaTech talks will be streamed live via the Internet. The talks also will be recorded, and the resulting files will become part of the larger TEDx Talks archive. As a result, allotted times will be enforced. To assist with the requirements of speaking at a TEDx event, speakers will receive mentoring in the development of their presentations and their presentation delivery by the TEDxVirginiaTech steering committee.

More than 500 people attended TEDxVirginiaTech 2013 at the Moss Arts Center. Previous TEDxVirginiaTech speakers have spoken at TEDGlobal, been featured on TED.com and in national publications, and received prestigious honors for their work.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California almost 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes on a diverse mix of topics. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED.com.

TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende, and former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The TED2014 Conference takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia, along with the TEDActive simulcast in neighboring Whistler. TEDGlobal 2014 will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

TED’s media initiatives include TED.com, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; and TEDBooks, short e-books on powerful ideas. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

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Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.