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TEDxSantaCruz Announces Call for Speakers & Volunteers for Spring 2024 event

October 19, 2023
Contact: Jenny Kurzweil

TEDxSantaCruz Announces Call for Speakers & Volunteers for Spring 2024 event

SANTA CRUZ, Calif.  — TEDxSantaCruz organizers have launched a call for speakers, volunteers, and sponsors for the next TEDxSantaCruz: RISING TOGETHER, slated for Saturday, April 13, 2024, at the Crocker Theater on the Cabrillo College campus. The call is open to everyone who lives or works in Santa Cruz County. 

Event co-producer Nada Miljkovic, the University of California Santa Cruz program manager of the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurial Development and continuing instructor, said the event aims to celebrate the greater community’s collective strength, enabling people to learn from each other while building resilience for what lies ahead. “Santa Cruz County has been through so much since we held our last TEDxSC event in 2019 – the COVID pandemic, CZU fires, and back-to-back storms and floods. Our community has literally risen together, disaster after disaster, to meet each challenge as it comes.” 

TEDxSantaCruz invites prospective speakers to share big ideas and solutions to challenges at the local, regional, national, and global levels. Consuelo Alba, co-founder and executive director of the Watsonville Film Festival, is working with Miljkovic and Jenny Kurzweil of Community Foundation Santa Cruz County to produce the event. 

The “Rising Together” theme is meant to suggest  “an immense scale of collaboration,” Alba said. “As a society, we are facing huge challenges such as climate change, preserving natural resources, racism, poverty, lack of health care, homelessness, and educational disparities.” Alba asks prospective speakers to consider,  “How do we rise together? How do we build effective and lasting collaborations?”

The theme was also inspired by the Rise Together coalition, a Community Foundation initiative that brings together local Black, Indigenous, and People of Color leaders to advance racial equity. Rise Together members are also volunteering to help organize the event, particularly the lunchtime networking program. 

“TEDxSantaCruz aims to be a joyful, inclusive, and thought-provoking one-day conference,” Alba said. “As a community, we’ll foster learning, inspiration and wonder, honor perspectives, and spark conversations and connections that matter.”

UC Santa Cruz and the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County are each supporting the effort as Diamond Sponsors. Susan True, CEO of the Community Foundation, noted that “bringing people together to generate ideas and solutions for problems that are too big for any one individual to solve alone is core to the Community Foundation’s work. TEDxSantaCruz will showcase local innovation and provide space for meaningful community conversations.”

Chancellor Cynthia Larive said that university students, faculty and staff have always sought to solve the most difficult problems of our time, from deciphering the riddles of our genetic roots to advancing nature-based solutions to climate change. “Bringing people with different experiences, backgrounds and perspectives together is how problems are solved,” she said. “I’m excited to see where our presenters take us.”

More information on how to apply to be a speaker, volunteer, or sponsor is available online at Speaker nominations are due by Nov. 5 and speaker applications by Dec. 3. Detailed information and instructions are on the application forms. Tickets will be available for purchase in early 2024. 

What is TEDx?
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxSanta Cruz, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxSantaCruz event, TED Talks video, and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

About TED
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, often in the form of short talks delivered by leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED Conferences, intimate TED Salons and thousands of independently organized TEDx events around the world. Videos of these talks are made available, free, on and other platforms. Audio versions of TED Talks are published to TED Talks Daily, available on all podcast platforms.