Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, will speak at the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference TEDxBermuda. *AFP Photo
Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, will speak at the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference TEDxBermuda. *AFP Photo
From an eco-warrior to a lawyer for War on Terror detainees, a world of ideas comes to Bermuda this weekend.

The inaugural TEDx Bermuda conference will take place at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute on Saturday, featuring speakers from around the globe.

Among the highlights will be a talk by Captain Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Scientists, artists and conservationists from Bermuda will also add their thoughts to the ‘think-tank’.

Dr. Neil Burnie, director of The Bermuda Shark Project, will speak on its findings and the discovery of a ‘tiger shark highway’ between here and the Caribbean.

Also on the marine environment, Dr. Michael Lomas, senior research scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, will talk about changes in acidity and whether the oceans can heal themselves.

OB Sisay, head of Africa Research at FM Capital Partners, will discuss sustainable investment in the African economy and how people can access the continent’s natural wealth.

From the world of science, Dr. Daniel Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, will discuss how the human body has evolved and our increase in brain size.

From the sports arena, Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports/manager of UCI ProTeam Garmin-Cervelo, and a former pro-cyclist with Lance Armstrong’s team, will speak about the business of ethics in professional sport.

In human rights Gitanjali S. Gutierrez, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights in the US and an expert on Guantanamo Bay detainees, will speak about the role of citizens in holding governments accountable.

Alan Gilbertson, managing director of FoodBank South Africa and a former executive with Orbis Investments in Bermuda, will talk about how to leverage business relationships to serve the growing needs of society.


From Bermuda, spoken word artist Tiffany Paynter (left) and ‘History of Bermuda’ mural artist Graham Foster will each speak about their work and its challenges.

Keith Caisey (right), world-renowned percussionist, will also discuss preserving culture by playing traditional instruments.

Mr. Caisey has toured with The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Gladys Knight and the Pips, among others.

TEDx is an independent event, licensed by TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) — a global conference to disseminate ‘ideas worth spreading’.

TED began in 1984 as a one-off event in California and grew into an annual forum, allowing inventors and scientists to speak on developments in technology and design.

Past speakers have included Apple’s Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Bill Gates.

Over the years the forum has spread around the world and now encompasses culture, philanthropy, the environment and other subjects.

Each TED speaker must present their ideas within a maximum 18 minutes. The most innovative are shown online at the website.

Past presenters have included Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Isabel Allende, Al Gore and Nobel Prize winners.

The idea is to spark discussion and further thought, disseminating ideas around the world.

TED also has an annual prize which allows a speaker the opportunity to put their ideas into action.

John Narraway, chairman of TEDxBermuda, said: “We are excited to bring the TEDx experience to Bermuda to help enlighten out community with big ideas from visionaries here at home and from beyond our island.

“It is a unique opportunity for Bermuda’s foremost thinkers to have a place on the global stage and also for Bermuda’s residents to hear from international luminaries who can expand our thinking of what is possible.

“If it’s an interesting idea, it gets out there through TED. It’s all about new ideas.”

He said: “Due to the size of the island, there’s a direct and immediate reaction to things here. They ripple through Bermuda and can affect a wide variety of people very quickly.

“This is great for the cross-fertilisation of ideas, because the word gets out more.

“Most of the issues under discussion are global, touching on implications for mankind and the world.

“They also tend to be fact based and supported by a huge amount of data and research.”

Mr. Narraway said Bermuda’s inaugural event was organized by “a loose group of Bermudians and expats”.

“Independent TEDx events are happening all over the world and so we want to make sure Bermuda is represented.

“All the talks will be videotaped and uploaded to the Tedx website. If any are exceptional they could be posted on the site.”

Mr. Narraway said Saturday’s event would be “a good balance of overseas and local speakers”.

“If any Bermudian has an amazing idea it could end up being spread around the world,” he said.