Tedx event sparks conversation on global issues

Tedx event sparks conversation on global issues

Centered on different aspects of security, the student-run TedX event, Haven: Fearlessness Reimagined, on Saturday, Feb. 20, featured eight speakers who are all part of a larger global conversation.

Wait Chapel was draped in black curtains creating an intimate environment where all eyes were centered on the speaker standing on the red dot for their 18 minute presentations. The event sold 2,200 tickets to Wake Forest students, faculty, staff and outside community members.

Mark Hurd, the keynote speaker and C.E.O. of Oracle kicked off the event with his presentation on security within the world of data. After working in the technology industry for over 30 years, he offered audience members the latest information about the growing industry of data and how it is often used by both “good guys” and “bad guys” in order to collect information about consumers.

“If there’s one message I leave you with today, it’s that the internet forgets nothing,” Hurd said. “My advice to you when you’re dealing with security is to read before you click and think before you post.”

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Katrena Perou, the chief program officer at Urban Arts Partnership, followed Hurd’s talk with her work in getting students involved in the arts at the underprivileged Samuel Gompers High School located in the Bronx, N.Y.

She captured the audiences’ attention as she rapped on stage from the voice of one of her students titled State of Emergency.

“If we were in a state of emergency,” Perou said, “we would run around and jump up and down and act in a sense of urgency. But he didn’t imagine those words or make them up. He was talking about his everyday life in the Bronx.”

She told the audience about the personal connections she tries to make with the students in order to understand their struggles and make them feel welcomed to attend her program.

Following Perou, the executive director and C.E.O of the Polaris Project Bradley Myles shed light on the solutions and ways the audience could get involved in putting an end to human trafficking.

He shared the anecdotal story of Deborah, a Tanzanian woman who was tricked into human slavery in the suburbs of Washington D.C. He told audience members that the solution to the problem was not only to meet these victims with resources and help, but to also to make human trafficking a non-profitable business.

“What will help put an end to this is if we flip the profits of human trafficking and make it a high risk business,” Myles said.

Maureen Berner, a UNC Chapel Hill professor who researches food insecurity in North Carolina and around the country, spoke about the food scarcity — especially for children in elementary schools. She shared statistics that 57 percent of kids in grades K-12 qualify for free and reduced lunch and of those 57 percent, only 17 percent get access to food in the summer months.

“These kids have a direct economic impact on our future as they will one day be our workforce contributing to our economy,” Berner said. “This problem of hungry kids is fixable — we have the means to fix them we just have to act on those means.”

Carl Krebs, the architect who helped design the 9/11 memorial, followed Berner’s presentation with his decisions he made while designing the 9/11 memorial.

“We wanted to figure out how we as architects could make this public place a safe place — physically and emotionally,” Krebs said. 

Errin Fulp, a Wake Forest computer science professor who researches biologically-inspired network security solutions, gave a unique perspective on ways that technology can look to nature for answers to cyber and computer security.

“Although cyber security is becoming increasingly complex, we have some suitbale models — especially in nature — that we can use as examples,” Fulp said.

Ignacio Packer, the security general of the Terres des Hommes International Federation, reminded the audience of the influence of the refugee crisis abroad and how the distinctions we often make aren’t that clear.

“Refugees are people fleeing persecution,” Packer said. “Migrants are people fleeing destitution, starvation and poverty. However those lines are often blurred.”

The event ended with the audience left in tears after the presentation given by Nicole Hockley. She started the Dylan Hockley fund in memory of her son who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, shared the story of losing one of her sons to gun violence. She reminded the audience to not limit the problem to just gun control, but also the “person behind the gun.”

The event was emceed by senior Daniel Sechtin, who challenged each speaker with a question after each presentation.

“If there’s one thing to remember, it’s that the TEDx event itself is only the beginning, Sechtin said. “I hope that everyone takes what they learned and uses it to positively impact the lives of others. And I’m not just saying that. I really think these events have the power to change lives around the world.”

The event gave students a variety of different ways that security can be applied to every day life.

“I think the different perspectives were really interesting,” said junior Elliot McKoy. “Out of the three TedX talks I’ve been to, this is the most open ended. I enjoyed hearing from Mike Hurd to see the more technical side and then also the look to nature from Errin Fulp for how we can adaptively address problems.”

Senior Gabrielle Shea agreed with McKoy, echoing the appreciation for the variety of topics.

“I think talks have been very relevant to issues in contemporary America and around the world and I like the blend of non-profit and for-profit perspectives,” Shea said. “My favorite talk was about the Polaris project.”

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