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TEDx Talks @ RIS

TEDx Talks @ RIS

By Elisia Brodeur

The TED movement began in 1984 as a conference that merged “technology, entertainment and design.” The TEDx program started in 2009, and since then TED talks have covered almost every topic you can think of. TED’s leader, Chris Anderson, explained on that “TEDx events typically focus on a local community that concentrates on local voices.” He goes on to say “Officially, the ‘x’ in TEDx stands for ‘independently organized TED event’—but it’s more of a TED multiplied.” According to, “Since the beginning of the TEDx program, nearly 15,000 events have been held in every corner of the globe. And now, a new TEDx milestone has been reached: one billion views of TEDx Talks.”

On February 27th, 10 of our brave RIS students took to the stage in the PAC to share their passions, experiences, and thought-provoking talks during our school’s 5th annual TEDx event. TEDx 2018 featured 8 high school students, 1 middle school student, and 1 elementary student. Their presentations ranged from 3–8 minutes and covered a diverse range of topics, from service learning to ocean pollution to fear of public speaking to dealing with stress.

There was an impressive turnout of fellow students, parents, and faculty to watch the TEDx talks. Although admission was free, the first 100 guests who signed up to attend received an official TEDx gift (a reusable bag) and cupcakes after the talks. Those same guests also agreed to participate in a brief feedback survey for the TEDx organization.

The event was orchestrated and produced by Mr. Said, who planned all of the logistics and worked individually with each student to prepare their scripts and slides and rehearse their talks. He would tell you that he had a lot of help from faculty and students, but in exemplifying “the generosity of spirit abundant at Ruamrudee International School” that he notes on the tedxyouth website, he didn’t want to be formally recognized onstage after the talks because he wanted to keep it “all about the kids.”

The RIS TEDx event was a professionally presented, informative afternoon that left all of the audience members impressed and with lots of ideas to think about and hopefully take action on themselves. Here are the bios of the 10 TEDx speakers and the topics of their talks. You can watch each TEDx talk on YouTube by searching for the speaker’s name and title of their talk.

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If you do not know Poupée, it’s probably because you have never set foot at RIS. With her four languages and constant involvement in everything from service learning to student council, Poupée is the embodiment of international mindedness.

Poupée’s speech “Learning Through Service” centers around the premise that not all learning is created equally. By walking us through the process of starting and running a project, she hopes to highlight the importance of such work in our life.

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Despite this being Torfun’s first year at RIS, she still found the courage and time to prepare and present a talk at this year’s TEDx. An accomplished pianist who plans to study business at Chula, Torfun has hit the ground running and has no plans to stop improving.

Moving to a new school can be quite stressful, but deciding to speak about it on the TEDx stage is downright terrifying. In her talk, “Fear,” Torfun shows us how to manage the fear and get it all done.

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If you’ve ever seen her playing the harp, arguing a motion at MUN, or even helping in student council, you will have noticed Belle’s passion in action. An entrepreneur at heart, Belle has attended numerous prestigious summer camps, from UC Berkeley to the University of Maryland, and is bringing her expertise to our stage this year.

In “Sustainability Through Entrepreneurship” Belle asks one question that could revolutionize the way we look at environmental intervention: Can we make sustainability profitable, and therefore more appealing?

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As a 4th grader, Tobin is the youngest speaker on our stage this year. An avid reader, a gaming and music enthusiast who loves to travel and see the world, Tobin’s main passion is animals and their welfare. His dream is to become a marine biologist and help clean up the ocean for its inhabitants.

In his first TEDx speech, “Let’s Make a Wave,” Tobin challenges us to make a minor change to our habits, in the hopes that we can turn the tide of pollution that is affecting our oceans.

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Another representative of our awesome sophomore class is Emily, a gifted pianist and veteran gymnast. Emily loves to travel, both in her native Taiwan and around the world. She also enjoys acting, playing music, performing, and perfecting her gymnastics routines.

Do you feel insecure around others as a result of physical traits that you have deemed imperfect? Emily is here to tell you in her talk, “Imperfections,” that you are not alone, and more importantly, to show you that you are going to be just fine.

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As the sole representative of the middle school on the TEDx stage this year, Sky has big shoes to fill, but she is ready. Besides being an active member of MSC, MUN, and Destination Imagination, Sky is an accomplished golfer and member of the RIS swim team. Despite her busy schedule, she still found the time to initiate a new service learning project at RIS.

As an involved student at RIS, Sky is not a stranger to service learning. Her talk, “Think BIG,” will help us understand, and plan for, the exponential growth of our empathy.

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This is Ayush’s second adventure with TEDx. As a highly involved senior, it is remarkable that he found the time to plan, practice, and deliver yet another speech to help students cope with the stress of their work. On top of being a veteran of the TEDx stage, Ayush is leaving his mark on many of our proud accomplishments as a school.

As an IB diploma student, Ayush has come to expect stress as part of his daily life. He explains in “A Happy Medium” that stress may actually not be that bad after all.

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As the representative of our Junior class, Maren embodies all the great qualities of her cohort; compassion, curiosity, and dedication. Be it on the field playing soccer, on weekends helping with the Link Crew, or at home teaching herself the guitar, Maren constantly strives to become the best version of herself.

When Maren and her friends started a service project in Northern Thailand, they had no idea how life changing the experience was going to be. Maren takes to the stage with “Giving Forward” to share their inspiring story.

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A trilingual world traveler who has lived in Russia and Thailand, Nina is known best for her constant smile. Be it on the softball team or at a Model United Nations competition, she constantly brings her positive attitude to everything that she does.

In her speech, “Stronger Together,” Nina shines a light on bullying practices among teenagers, while rallying all of us to pitch in and help whenever necessary.

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Among Todd’s many accomplishments as a student at RIS are his invention to convert heat waste to electricity and his research on developing bioplastic using fruit seeds instead of corn. His work, dedication, and curiosity have earned him a well-deserved scholarship at Harvard University.

In his talk, “150 Classes” Todd shares how, after spending months working on what seemed to be one dead end after the other, he got the breakthrough he was hoping for. And he may have managed to save countless lives in the process.