TEDx Maui inspires community to dream big


Dr. Arthur Medeiros, book author and scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, joins 19 other speakers at Maui’s first TEDx convention, which brought together prominent local individuals who inspired the audience to have “the courage to dream.”

By Mehana Lee, news writer

KAHULUI-A mass of people flooded through the main gates of the Maui Arts and Cultural Center on Sunday, January 22, 2012, for the first ever TEDx Maui convention, a sold-out event.

TEDx Maui was a self-organized and locally staffed event made possible by the event’s sponsors. The TEDx Maui mission was to spread inspiration to make the island a sustainable and compassionate place to live in today and throughout the future.

It was the first year for a TEDx event on Maui. The theme for the day, “The Courage to Dream,” fit the conference and its speakers, who all had ties to Maui or Hawaiʻi.

There were four sessions throughout the convention, involving 20 speakers who each made an 18-minute presentation.

The convention began at 8:40 am and ended by 6:00 pm. O’ahu born musician Paula Fuga provided the entertainment at the reception after the event, which ended at 9:00 pm. Fuga was also one of the speakers at TEDx Maui.

“Every day you have to visualize what you want for the future. That’s what keeps us driven,” she said.

Castle Theater was full of anticipation and excitement as attendees waited for the events to begin. Maui Taiko opened the show with energy-filled rhythms as the auditorium shook from the loud drumming.

Kumu Hōkūlani Holt, accompanied by a other women, chanted Kū Lalani to welcome the audience.

Leslie Wilcox, president and CEO of PBS Hawaii and former KHON2 newscaster, hosted the event with Maui native Kainoa Horcajo, a prominent community member and specialist in indigenous cultures.

Each speaker had a different perspective on how to dream big or how to make Maui a better place. Speakers often spoke about believing in one’s self.

The audience was encouraged to make a difference in the world, whether it be through science, art, agriculture, music, journalism or anything else they desired.

“Nobody is too busy to make a difference,” said Mr. Charles Hambleton, activist, artist and associate producer of the Academy Award-Winning documentary The Cove.

Q & A with Dr. Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey, internationally recognized expert in cultural intelligence:

What advice would you give to the youth of Hawai’i in following their dreams?

My advice is to be courageous, dream big dreams for themselves and not to be afraid.

What’s a goal that you haven’t reached yet?

Wow, that’s a great question. I don’t think anyone has asked me that before, but I do my best every day and live every day to the fullest. At the end of my life, I’ll know for sure if I fulfilled my dream.

Do you believe that our Native Hawaiian culture is still thriving?

Yes, absolutely and even more so.

What does the future of Hawai’i look like to you?

I have great dreams and visions of Hawai’i based on the younger generations. I know because I’ve been with them. They have so much passion.

Among the audience of about 700, nine Kamehameha Schools Maui students were there along with Career Liaison, Ms. Priscilla Mikell.

Tickets to TEDx Maui were donated to the school by Mr. Michael Moore, owner of Old Lāhainā Lū’au. This was an opportunity for students to network among presentations by powerful individuals who are optimistic about Maui’s future.

According to their literature, TEDx is a program developed to bring people together to share innovative  ideas. Their slogan is “Ideas worth spreading.”

TEDx is a nonprofit organization that started in California 28 years ago as a one-time event and has grown into a worldwide program.