TEDxCUNY to Hold “Who We Are” Conference in March

5 mins read

“Who We Are?” is a phrase that sometimes we ask ourselves in reflection. Many of us struggle with the individualized question “who am I?” and our identity on a daily basis. TEDxCUNY is a platform for speakers to introduce new ideas that can help us, as people, navigate who we are. The TEDxCUNY team contains eighteen to twenty members. Organized by Emily Madray, a sophomore at the Macaulay Honors College at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Katiera Dickinson, a senior at John Jay hope to help us answer that question. 

 Dickinson explains that the idea behind TEDxCUNY is about generating ideas worth spreading around CUNY. Madray and Dickinson’s mission is to continue TEDxCUNY’s mission and apply it to the CUNY community, with this year’s “Who We Are” theme being TEDxCUNY’s first conference in four years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two really want to celebrate identity and diversity through this conference. Madray said that, “In everyone’s daily lives, it’s easy to lose sight of their individual identity and the roles that we have in the larger context of the shared world.” 

“Throughout our life’s journey, we are shaped by the people and experiences that we encounter. And so, sometimes we like to be understood through a series of labels, and these labels have the power to marginalize and uplift us,” said Madray. “So, we chose this theme so that we can gather the CUNY community to celebrate our diversity and how different we are, but also how similar we are. Also mentioned is the ability to organize events that elevate marginalized voices and spread ideas relevant to the CUNY experience.” 

Because many CUNY students and affiliates come from diverse backgrounds, one of the benefits of TEDxCUNY is to elevate those voices and provide them with a platform to spread ideas. Madray says, “We want to gather such a large and diverse community to share really interesting ideas and to spread education and learning throughout the entire community.” One negative, Madray said, is that there are so many ideas worth spreading but they can only project so many speakers at their conferences. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of presentations was limited, but they still held smaller events called with two to three speakers. 

“I have a strong belief that a public institution not only as large but as diverse as CUNY not only deserves but also needs a platform for spreading ideas and having sessions like these.” Madray said. A year after its original formation in 2013,TEDxCUNY received its license in July of 2014, and since then they’ve had annual CUNY events that gather faculty, students, staff, and the broader public for a day of idea sharing. TEDxCUNY represents nearly 500,000 students across the 25 institutions in the CUNY system. That number makes TEDxCUNY the largest TEDx university organization by representation. “We’re really excited that we have this opportunity to come back post-pandemic to continue our mission of sharing ideas with the community,” Madray said.

Dickinson explained the appeal of attending TEDxCUNY conferences to The Knight News saying, “Speakers have the ability to interact with students they have never seen before — students from all CUNY campuses.” This conference is open to all CUNY students and faculty free of charge. Conferences usually have eight to twelve speakers, but this year’s “Who We Are” conference will have ten, with two being student speakers. CUNY students are free to stay at the conference for the full 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. time span, but can come and go as they please. One can only gain a great deal from attending this TEDxCUNY conference, not lose.

There will also be, as mentioned before, two student speakers. One is Amy Morales Lara, who is pursuing a Master of Social Work degree from the Silberman School of Social Work at CUNY Hunter College. The other one is Bryan Tapia, who is a sophomore at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is a first-generation Hispanic student. 

The link to reserve free tickets for the “Who We Are” conference is here..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog