TEDx Phillips Academy Sparks Ideas for a Generation
At recent conference, students discussed how young people can make an impact
Last Saturday at Phillips Academy, thirteen students gave TEDx talks that centered on the theme: “What is our generation’s mission statement?” An audience of about 50 community members turned out to watch the event in Tang Theatre and numerous others gathered to watch via livestream. The conference was “the culmination of over a year of work, blood, sweat, and tears,” said Tanvi Kanchinadam ‘19, whose original idea to host the conference on campus sparked “inspiration that was infectious” among student colleagues. She worked alongside a student committee to make it happen, with support from the Tang Institute and Polk Center.
Introducing the conference, Head of School John Palfrey advised the crowd to: “Lean into the ideas that our students are presenting today.” He also commented on the conference as a way to activate learning.
“When I think about education more broadly, I think about what we do here at Phillips Academy to instill knowledge in a variety of ways and to teach skills and of course character. But what I’m so excited about is what we will see today in terms of the students’ commitments to solve big problems, to make a case, to make an argument, to stand up in public, and to apply the work they have been thinking about for so long in this setting,” said Palfrey.
Presentation topics included black activism on Twitter, climate change, proper nutrition for children around the world, and more. “How can we re-educate a generation of kids, teaching them that more is not necessarily better?” queried Leeza Petrov during her talk about leading a life of value. Another student, commenting about the future of robotics, spoke about how to harness the life-changing power of Artificial Intelligence and how to mitigate its threats. “We must seek leaders who focus on retraining workers, who support policies and regulations to ensure this brave new world doesn’t support trends toward rising inequality,” he said. Watch their presentations online.