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TED2014, "The Next Chapter," Gets Underway in Vancouver, BC

-- 30th anniversary conference to host 1,300 delegates for five-day program featuring 70+ talks and performances

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- TED, the nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, opens its annual conference today in Vancouver. Themed "The Next Chapter," TED2014 will celebrate the organization's 30th anniversary by hosting 1,300 attendees from more than 40 countries for a five-day program of 70+ speakers and performers. This year's move to Vancouver marks the first time the event has taken place outside of the U.S.

The TED2014 program features speakers sharing ideas in 18 minutes or less, TED's signature format, as well as short presentations from this year's TED Fellows and dozens of past TED speakers returning for the anniversary. Talks will explore insights from the last thirty years, as well as ideas about the future, across a wide range of disciplines.

"This year's theme encouraged us to reach out to some of the world's most interesting thinkers and doers, and challenge them to help us shape our most ambitious conference in TED history," said TED Curator Chris Anderson. "With their help, we've put together a program that will help us all take a fresh look at what happened these last 30 years and apply that knowledge to understand what's ahead."

TED2014 speakers and performers include:

  • MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte 
  • Astronaut Chris Hadfield
  • Documentary filmmaker Yoruba Richen
  • Bill and Melinda Gates
  • Geneticist Wendy Chung
  • xkcd cartoonist Randall Munroe
  • MIT prostheticist Hugh Herr
  • Philosopher David Chalmers
  • Firefly expert Sara Lewis
  • Art historian Sarah Lewis
  • Writer Andrew Solomon
  • DJ Mark Ronson
  • Physicist Allan Adams
  • Facebook UX master Margaret Gould Stewart
  • Science writer Ed Yong
  • Brain researcher Nancy Kanwisher
  • Musician and activist Sting
  • Space scientist Will Marshall
  • Arctic explorer Ben Saunders
  • Writer Jennifer Senior
  • Leadership expert Simon Sinek
  • Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and husband Mark Kelly

The full speaker list can be found here:

The conference will take place in Vancouver's award-winning Convention Centre. TED invited renowned architect David Rockwell and his firm Rockwell Group to create a theater that would maximize the connection between speaker and audience, allowing the audience to immerse itself more deeply in the talks. Their stunning design will allow a unique 1,200-seat theater, built out of wood, to be installed at the Centre annually for the conference. TED's longtime partner Steelcase was instrumental in the design and staging of the entire theater seating experience, providing eleven different lines of newly manufactured furniture, some custom pieces, all upholstered in DesignTex materials. Specialist Swiss exhibition constructor NUSSLI assembled the entire theater in less than a week. Talks by TED Fellows and past speakers will take place in a second custom theater, designed by Vancouver architecture and interior design firm MGA, using locally sourced wood provided by Interfor.

The TED2014 experience will extend well beyond this theater, with talks streamed live to several thousand people around the globe, including to TEDx event attendees, Fellows, Translators and to subscribing members of TED Live. The TEDActive Conference will convene this week in Whistler, BC, where attendees participate in an engaging onsite program and take in a live simulcast of TED2014. TED will also make an online livestream of its TED Prize session, when winner Charmian Gooch of Global Witness will announce her wish, free to the general public on Tuesday, March 18 from 6:00 pm7:45 pm PDT. Vancouver secondary schools, universities, libraries, community centers and NGOs can get free access to the conference webstream, and the general Vancouver public can watch live on the Jumbotron screen at Terry Fox Plaza in Yaletown, Vancouver.

The spirit of openness is all part of TED's evolution over the last 30 years. What was once a closed-door conference devoted to Technology, Entertainment and Design has become a radically open global platform for spreading ideas across a wide variety of disciplines. Founded in 1984 by Richard Saul Wurman, the first TED conferences were held in Monterey, California. Media entrepreneur and TED attendee Chris Anderson purchased TED in 2001, and turned it into a non-profit. In 2006, he and his team experimented with putting TED Talk videos online for free, and over the following eight years, have tested other various on- and offline initiatives to further open up the organization.

Today, TED holds two annual conferences – TED in Vancouver, and TEDGlobal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – and posts the talks on for free. It also offers licenses to host independently organized local TEDx events, invites online volunteers to translate TED Talk videos, and much more. So far there have been close to 10,000 TEDx events in locations as diverse as Antarctica, Nairobi and the Sydney Opera House. TED Talk videos have been watched more than 1.9 billion times, and thousands of volunteers have translated TED Talk videos into more than one hundred languages.

"In my early days as an attendee and then as Curator of TED, I couldn't help but wonder: what would happen if we gave the rest of the world access to the incredible thinking from this one private event?" said Anderson. "So we attempted to do just that. And like many others, we learned rather quickly that if you're ready to give away what's most precious to you, you may be amazed at what the world gives back."

A number of exciting brands and companies have partnered with TED2014 and TEDActive 2014 to share ideas and foster an atmosphere of innovation. This year's partners include: Adobe, Arup, Autodesk, Aveda, Bing, Black Bond Books, The Boston Consulting Group, car2go, Centerplate Catering, Citi, Coca-Cola, Delta, Disney, Epson Projectors, Estee Lauder Companies, Event Water Solutions, EverFi, Genentech, Google, Interfor, Jawbone, Lexus, The Lincoln Motor Company, MGA, Microsoft Office 365, Nielsen, Polycom, PR Newswire, RetailMeNot, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation, Shaw Carpet, Skype, State Street, Steelcase, S'well Bottles, Syfy, Target, TELUS, TOMS, Vancouver Tourism Partners, Vosges Haut Chocolat, Walmart, The Weather Company, Westfield, Workspring and World Coffee Events and their partners.

Live blog coverage of the conference will be updated throughout each day at The detailed TED2014 program and more information can be found online here:

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Vancouver, British Columbia, along with the TEDActive simulcast event in nearby Whistler. The annual TEDGlobal conference will be held this October in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. TED's media initiatives include, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self-organized TED-style events around the world, and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

Contact: Margaret Sullivan, [email protected], +1 (646) 519-1350


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