Last Friday the seven inaugural TEDxSuva speakers came together to share their ideas with each other for the first time. Over pots of chicken palau and pumpkin curry wonderful new connections were made between amazing people and their ideas. Only one month after the Cyclone Winston, the strongest tropical cyclone ever to make landfall in Fiji left large parts of the country devastated, the evening was a small oasis and a strong reminder of the resilience and the intellectual strength that exists in this country.
Words and concepts danced with themes relevant to the lives of Pacific people. From the deep desire and commitment to be part of the world’s solutions to climate change and the pressing need for fresh thinking on the epidemic of non-communicable diseases devastating our islands. From ‘development’ through relief work across human rights and storytelling over tattoos and cultural symbols around secrets of arts entrepenureship and lastly in and out of those most fundamental of all themes: pacific identity, agency and culture.
It was sometimes funny, sometimes sad, always engaging, always provoking. The words were personal, all from the heart and all filled with deep advocacy and commitment.
For some, their words and their ideas were still searching for the right rhythm. For others they were falling into place… one after the other. For one, the words were so true and heartfelt that they flowed out near perfect for the TEDxSuva stage.
All came away with their bellies and their hearts full, inspired and humbled by the exchanges made. A welcome deep breath in what has been weeks of shallow breathing for so many Fijians. Some could not sleep that night, so grateful of the inspiration… It was truly an honour and a privilege to be in that space, that Friday evening in Suva.