Thank you for joining the TEDxAmRing conference on May 30th in the Hofburg Palace, Vienna. The foundation of every talk was change in its different forms. What differed where the amazing stories of bravery, courage, talent, passion, fear, ambition, innovation and love. A common conclusion: we need change to happen at a global level if we want progress. So here’s a sneak peek of every story presented by the nine speakers, for those of you not able to join. The talks will be online in the next weeks, so stay tuned on our social channels: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.
A tale of fragile change by Mark Dybul
40 times as many people had access to treatment for AIDS in 2012 than in 2012 and the number of deaths caused by malaria in Africa has dropped by 40% within the same years. Change is happening and it’s shaping up the lives of millions of people. “The progress we’ve made is fragile though”, says Mark Dybul, and to reach perfection, namely a world where future generations have complete control over HIV, TB and malaria, change needs to become a fact and reach more profound levels within our society. We need to treat everyone equally, bring everyone on board for discussions around HIV/AIDS, regardless their sexual orientations, and finally put an end to stigma and marginalization.
A tale of changing old narratives by Danny Resnic
In the first minutes of his talk, Danny Resnic’s personal story rendered silence in the crowd. Within minutes everyone got to understand his inspiration for the origami condom, a change in an industry that got stuck for the past 100 years because of economic monopoly. Encouraging the public never to embrace the status quo, Resnic said his “mission is to change the decades old narrative of protection”. Faced with an incredible paradox – the only product in the world we actually accept with an 18% failure rate is the condom – Danny Resnic invented the origami condom that will be on the market next year.
A tale of collective strength – Saijai Liangspunsakul
With a background in economics, Saijai Liangspunsakul “learned the language of technology” with a clear personal purpose: make an impact in the world and reach the inner peace in the same time. And her talk proved she’s on the right track. After understanding that change is impossible without empathy, Saijai supported the work of community health workers in her home village by developing an app called CommCare for them to use, that sends live updates on a patient’s health status directly to their doctors and so shortening the treatment delivery time. “Mobile communication enables us to join global efforts to fight for one goal” said Saijai Liangpunsakul.
A tale of empathy by Adrain Chesser
The general stigma on HIV/AIDS makes it incredibly difficult for HIV positive people to openly share their diagnostic with friends, families and acquaintances due to the fear of being rejected, discriminated and abandoned. Most of the time it even prevents them from doing so. Adrain Chesser experienced the same fear, but eventually challenged it by immortalizing the reactions of his friends while he was telling them he was HIV positive. His project “I have something to tell you” made the subject of an incredibly touching exhibition at TEDxAmRing, as well as “The Return“, a series of photographs he created as the archetypes for a new age, a new life 10 years after he’s been diagnosed. “47 people were photographed for the project. No one said stop, no one left, no one abandoned me” said Adrain Chesser.
A tale of openness by Regan Hofmann
When diagnosed HIV positive 17 years ago, Regan Hofmann was told she had only one year to live. Harsher than this was in fact the shame that came along with her diagnosis. Until she realized that “HIV doesn’t make you a terrible person. It makes you a biologically unlucky one”, she was one of the many victims of the stigma around HIV. Her powerful and inspiring talk was a lesson on how to openly speak about sex, HIV, AIDS and on how to take the hysteria out of these topics.
A tale of powerful media by Bill Roedy
When Bill Roedy started his talk with the statement “Television can actually save more lives than medicine”, everyone got intrigued. “Being the chairman of MTV gave me a unique kind of power. I knew something had to be done!”. His idea of taking such a controversial topic like HIV on TV seemed very risky back in those times, but Bill Roedy took that risk and brought on board a lot of well-known people to talk about HIV as a disease that’s 100% preventable. “There are a billion young people on earth, we need to mobilize every single one of them” said Bill Roedy.
A tale of acceptance, love and respect by Conchita Wurst
“If somebody died because of cancer it was an innocent victim. If somebody died of aids, there’s nothing innocent about that”. Grateful for the changes that have happened for the past 20 years in the LGBT world in terms of perception, community and politics, and encouraged by Sir Elton John himself in a letter she read out at TEDxAmRing, Conchita Wurst urged us in her inspirational talk to focus on the progress and free ourselves from the prejudice, stigma and shame. “The future of love and respect starts every day because all bad things include something good. Respect the bad and love the good.”
A tale of courage and action by Vivienne Westwood
To wrap up the TEDxAmRing event, Vivienne Westwood underlined the importance of fighting back an unhealthy system, run and controlled by governments and banks, that only generates bigger and bigger gaps between the wealthy and the poor. Awareness, information and communication are key to creating a world that’s comfortable to everyone to live in. “What’s good for the planet is good for the people!” said Vivienne Westwood right before the long standing ovation she received at the end of her talk.
A musical tale by Albert Frantz
Between the talks, world class pianist Albert Frantz created the perfect atmosphere for deeper thought with his wonderful piano performance: Études d’exécution transcendante by Franz Liszt.
We hope this conference gave you enough food for thought until the next TEDxVienna events on September 25th – TEDxVienna Cityx and November 1st – TEDxVienna Brave New Space. We hope you had a great time and met wonderful people! Thank you for coming!
PS: Special thanks also to all our partners!
Header Image credits: Royalty free