TEDxStormont returns with stellar line-up of Studio speakers

Throughout Summer 2021, TEDxStormont is set to publish 12 standalone TEDx Studio talks by speakers from many disciplines and backgrounds to share new and fresh ideas.

This series of talks is aimed at encouraging the public to have a better understanding of themselves and the world around them, while also bringing together brilliant minds to change attitudes on some of today’s hot topic issues.

The dozen speakers will cover a variety of topics including accents, entrepreneurship, resilience, storytelling, the role of the media in post-conflict societies, creativity, shame, trauma, forgiveness, and the art of the impossible.

The series will kick off on Friday 25 June with Belfast-based GP Dr Gareth Patterson who will share his thoughts and ideas surrounding his experience with Gay Conversion Therapy.

Other speakers include Irish cellist, Patrick Dexter who rose to prominence throughout lockdown for his stunning renditions of classical pieces in the backdrop of the Co. Mayo landscape. Patrick will join TEDx Studio to look at the power of music, both in spoken word and through his cello.

Broadcaster turned pilgrim guide, Martina Purdy will deliver a talk on ‘Life as a Journey’, sharing Ten Lessons of Pilgrimage.

Eileen Chan-Hu, the founder of award-winning training and educational social enterprise, CRAICNI will look at what it means to be ‘Made in Belfast’ while also discussing race and diversity in the city.

Ards FC footballer and Youth Ambassador for the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, Leo Brown joins the line up looking at resilience in sport and how that can be transferred to all aspects of life.

TEDxStormont Studio is supported by Allstate NI.

Curator of TEDxStormont Studio, Eva Grosman said:

“Each year we aim to showcase the brilliant stories of people from across Northern Ireland and provide platform to share ideas and innovative thinking.

“The TEDx Studio series also allows people to tune into the talks wherever they are and hear  great ideas outside in-person events.

“This year we have a phenomenal line up of speakers from diverse backgrounds who will no doubt spark incredible ideas and conversations. From the stunning music played by Patrick Dexter to the incredibly moving and brave testimony of Gareth Patterson, our speakers will ignite an array of emotions, thoughts and solutions to some of today’s most pressing issues.

“A special thanks goes to our partner, Allstate NI who continuously back our programmes and the TEDxStormont ethos of delivering new and fresh thinking to people across Northern Ireland.”

TEDxStormont Studio talks can be found on TEDxStormont YouTube channel. Follow TEDxStormont social media channels for regular updates.

TEDxStormont Virtual Summer Camp

Since 2013, TEDxStormont hosted events on the theme of “Imagine” – we were looking forward and imagining the kind of future we could have together as a society in Northern Ireland and beyond. This year the Imagine theme could not be more relevant.

The future has never felt so uncertain. There are deadly perils to be dealt with, starting with a global pandemic. Yet we also now have an opportunity to rebuild our world in a better, fairer, more beautiful way. We believe passionately that the global TED community has a key role to play here. We are all believers in human creativity and our collective ability to imagine our way out of this mess. More than ever, we need to connect with each other and figure out how to build back better.

In a run up to TEDxStormontLive on 1 August 2020, build around the talks from the first-ever virtual TED Conference, TED2020: Uncharted we will host TEDxStormont Virtual Summer Camp to bring our community closer together.

TEDxStormont Virtual Summer Camp will run from Monday, 27 July to Saturday, 1 August 2020 and will include daily Thought for the Day, Coffee Club, Main Stage TEDxStormont Talks, Creativity Hub, Peace Village, Playground and Fireside Chats.

For regular updates follow us on Twitter @TEDxStormont and visit our website www.tedxstormont.com. For further information and partnership opportunities please contact Kaja Choma at kaja@tedxstormont.com.


*TEDxStormont is organised by the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building (CDPB) and curated by CDPB CEO Eva Grosman.


TEDxStormont: TED Circles April 2020

In April, TEDxStormont will host a special online TED Circles programme themed around COVID 19, changing world and your well-being. The ZOOM webinars will take place each Monday afternoon at 4pm (BST) and will be co-hosted by Lord Alderdice and special guests. Please join in to learn, share your perspective and connect with new ideas.

TED Circles is an open platform for meaningful conversations about ideas. Imagine a book club for TED Talks! A new TED initiative, at TED Circles you will meet others who are inspired by TED and interested in joining small discussions, facilitated by our volunteer hosts, on a variety of relevant and timely topics.

Register at: https://us04web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvcO6opjorP38HmqMPp9TyVSODLzeOnw


Monday, 6 April
Emotional first aid with special guests Professor Siobhan O’Neill and Peter McBride

Watch Guy Winch: Why we all need to practice emotional first aid HERE.

Monday, 13 April
The art of stillness with special guest Fr Mark Patrick Hederman OSB and Bridgeen Rea-Kaya

Watch Pico Iyer: The art of stillness HERE.

Monday, 20 April
Compassion with special guest Padraig O’Tuama and Sr Judith Leckie

Watch Krista Tippett: Reconnecting with compassion HERE.

Monday, 27 April
Gratefulness with special guest Karen Sethuraman and Rev Dr John Dunlop

Watch David Steindl-Rast: Want to be happy? Be grateful HERE.


CO-HOST Professor, the Lord Alderdice FRCPsych

Professor, the Lord Alderdice FRCPsych is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords and was the Chairman of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords during the Liberal/Conservative Coalition Government. Previously a consultant psychiatrist at the Centre for Psychotherapy he established in Belfast, Lord Alderdice is currently a Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Harris Manchester College (University of Oxford). He is also a Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Maryland (Baltimore) and Chairman Emeritus of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building (Belfast).

TED Circle: COVID19 and the social distancing problem

Our first TED Circle webinar on COVID 19 and the social distancing problem will take place on Monday, 30 March from 3pm to 4pm (BST).

TED Circles is an open platform for meaningful conversations about ideas. Imagine a book club for TED Talks! A new TED initiative, at TED Circles you will meet others who are inspired by TED and interested in joining small discussions, facilitated by our volunteer hosts, on a variety of relevant and timely topics.

The webinar will be facilitated by the team at TEDxStormont and co-hosted by Lord Alderdice and Sinead O’Sullivan. We will discuss TED talk by Robert Waldinger: What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness and article by Scott Atran: Coronavirus & The Social Distancing Problem.

Please join in to learn, share your perspective and connect with new ideas.

Join us live on Facebook @TEDxStormont or register HERE.


• WATCH: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KkKuTCFvzI
• READ: http://cric-oxford.org/2020/03/17/coronavirus-the-social-distancing-problem/


Professor, the Lord Alderdice FRCPsych

Professor, the Lord Alderdice FRCPsych is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords and was the Chairman of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords during the Liberal/Conservative Coalition Government. Previously a consultant psychiatrist at the Centre for Psychotherapy he established in Belfast, Lord Alderdice is currently a Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Harris Manchester College (University of Oxford). He is also a Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Maryland (Baltimore) and Chairman Emeritus of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building (Belfast).

Sinead O’Sullivan

Sinead O’Sullivan is the CEO of Veriphix, a behavioural dynamics platform that detects and measures human emotion at scale. A Fellow at Harvard Law School (Center for Internet and Society) and a Senior Research Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sinead is also part of MIT’s COVID19 task force that seeks to implement immediate economic and governmental policies in response to the global pandemic.

An Aerospace Engineer from N.Ireland, with a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering from Queen’s University of Belfast, a Masters in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, a Certificate of Space Engineering from the International Space University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Her engineering experience includes human factors research at the European Space Agency, human spaceflight mission design at NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and autonomous robotics creation for the US Navy.

International Women’s Day 2019: Balancing for Better

Throughout my career, on almost a weekly basis, I have found myself the only woman in the room. It has been disappointing, frustrating and on few occasions even intimidating, but it has also provided me with the determination to create opportunities for women and to challenge the status quo.

I remember the experience of meeting a small group of the Taliban elders in Kabul. Since the encounter took place at the British Embassy, they had no choice but to politely engage with me. The meeting went well – I was able to share some valuable lessons about the Irish Peace Process and establish some rapport with those rather intimidating men. During that trip, I learnt that Afghanistan had a higher proportion of parliament seats held by women than the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont (where I worked at the time), which was shocking, but also encouraged me to act.

On my return, I decided to host a dedicated TEDxStormont Women event to provide a platform for female voices in political and public life. I also developed and delivered several capacity building programmes to support and nurture the future female leaders and others interested in public service. Alongside this, I was appointed as Northern Ireland Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and organised gatherings to celebrate, empower and support women in business.

Currently, as a part of the Global Thinkers Forum Telemachus programme, I mentor young women, role which is both humbling and rewarding. I have also just been appointed as an Advisory Board Member for the Global Women’s Narratives Project, an exciting initiative whose purpose is to gather and share personal narratives of lived experiences of women around the world.

So, how the best to #BalanceForBetter? I can’t think of a better response than one of my favourite quotes by Amelia Earhart: “The most effective way to do it, is to do it”.

It is really not that complicated. Everybody, women and men alike, have many everyday opportunities to create more equal and balanced world. Some may be able to influence policy and bring on radical shifts; others, through simple ordinary actions can contribute to incremental cultural changes – just answer an e-mail when asked for support, talk to a younger woman, be inclusive, invite your female colleagues to meetings and events, don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to speak up.

Recently, I came across a really fascinating TED Ideas article on trying to tackle big problems – it suggests we should ‘think like a bee’. According to a beekeeper Marianne Gee, a bee in her lifetime produces only one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey, which is a tiny fraction of what a typical colony needs to survive. “A bee won’t even directly benefit from the honey she makes; instead, it will allow future generations to thrive after she is gone. This too is how we can change the world — by not worrying about the size of our contributions and by letting our efforts join the actions of others”.

Sometimes “thinking small may be the best way to think big”. So, let’s start balancing for better. You know it makes sense!

Eva Grosman is an Alumna of the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford; CEO of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and a Research Associate at St. Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford.

Build Peace Conference expected to generate over £345k for local economy says Visit Belfast

Build Peace, the international conference which takes place at the end of October in Belfast is expected to generate over £345,000 for the local economy, according to Visit Belfast – the official tourism marketing agency for the Belfast City Region.

The conference, which took place in Bogota in Colombia in 2017 will see over 300 international and local delegates descend on the city for the 3-day summit. 900 bed nights are also expected to be taken up in local hotels during that time.

Taking place from 29-31 October, at the Ulster University Belfast campus, the conference brings together practitioners, activists, academics, policy makers, artists and technologists from across the world to share experience and ideas on using technology, arts and other innovations for peacebuilding and conflict transformation.

This is the first time that the conference has been held in the UK and it will cover three key themes including creativity and reconciliation, inclusion and social cohesion and sustainability and resilience. Across the three days there will be a series of short talks, dialogues, workshops and interactive exhibitions.

This is the fifth conference in the Build Peace series which started out at MIT in Boston (2014), Cyprus (2015), Zurich (2016) before it went to Colombia in South America last year with Belfast secured as the location for the 2018 conference.

Gerry Lennon, CEO of Visit Belfast said:

“Build Peace is an exciting conference for Belfast and it is fantastic that the city has been selected to deliver the 2018 summit, out of all the cities around the world which competed to secure it. It has already been to the likes of Boston and Bogota and it is a real vote of confidence that Belfast will be added to that prestigious list.”

“With 300 delegates due to attend, it will add a real boost to the economy with over £345,000 expected to be spent and over 900 bed nights taken up in local hotels during the three day it takes place.”

Tina McKenzie, CEO of Grafton Recruitment, said:

“Bringing an international conference of this scale to Belfast will provide a significant boost to the local economy. Attracting a conference of this renown also demonstrates the transformative impact peace has had on Northern Ireland’s business community – generating investment, creating jobs and bringing greater prosperity to a larger number of people.

“Grafton Recruitment is excited to ‘Re-Imagine Prosperity’ during the Build Peace Conference, exploring how further innovations in technology and increased creative thinking can help to reshape employment and positively impact the future of work across Northern Ireland.”

Eva Grosman, CEO of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building added:

“We are thrilled that Build Peace will take place in Ulster University’s Belfast campus this October. It is now time for Northern Ireland to showcase some remarkable projects, to learn and exchange ideas with colleagues from across the globe and to explore how technology, innovation and creativity can re-shape the economic opportunities, economic organisation and economic power that impact how we live together in peace.”

“We are truly grateful for the support from Ulster University and Visit Belfast in securing this significant conference coming to Belfast this year.”

“We also have to thank key sponsors such as Grafton Recruitment who have helped make it possible to plan such an internationally renowned summit.”

Scissor Sisters Ana Matronic set for TEDxStormont Women event later this year

Ana Matronic from the world-famous band Scissor Sisters is set to address TEDxStormont Women taking place at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on 2 November.

The Scissor Sisters frontwoman and robot obsessive, Ana Matronic has written about her love of robotics in her book ‘Robot Takeover’ which looks at 100 of the most iconic robots from popular culture. The book also explores robots in music, art and fashion.

The third in the series of TEDxStormont Women events is organized and curated by CDPB’s CEO Eva Grosman. The theme this year is ‘Bridges’ and will bring some of the high profile speakers from varied backgrounds such as journalism, music, business and the arts to Belfast for the nearly sold out event. 12 speakers in total are lined up to take part with over 250 guests expected to attend on the evening.

Standing on the iconic red dot, speakers will have 12 minutes or less to share their ideas about the ways in which we build bridges, traverse them, and sometimes even burn them, for better or worse.

Other speakers announced so far include:

  • Elizabeth Filippouli, Founder & CEO, Global Thinkers Forum
  • June Burgess, Property developer, leadership coach and international equestrian
  • Maxine Mawhinney, International journalist, and broadcaster
  • Jayne Gallagher, Managing Director, Legal-Island
  • Rosemary Jenkinson, Writer, artist-in-residence, Lyric Belfast
  • Clare Mulley, Award-winning author, historian of women and war
  • Vanessa Woolf, Professional storyteller
  • Lyra McKee, Freelance journalist, writer, editor
  • Naomh McElhatton, Digital educator
  • The event will be compered by former broadcaster Sarah Travers.

    The event, which is locally and independently organised, brings the TEDx brand back to the iconic Stormont. Started as a four-day conference in California in 1984, TED and the TEDx programme has grown to support world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives.

    Tickets can be purchased at http://www.tedxstormont.com/ and further updates can be found on Twitter @TEDxStormont.

    Crans Montana Forum: Changes, Populist Upheavals and the World of Tomorrow

    On the occasion of the Crans Montana Forum’s 28th Annual Session, a Special Programme of the New Leaders for Tomorrow took place in Barcelona (Spain) on July 6th, 2017.

    CDPB Chief Executive Eva Grosman spoke at the special session on “Changes, Populist Upheavals and the World of Tomorrow”. Among the topics addressed were the European Union, the Brexit and the Turkish Situation as well as the first few months of the American Presidency.

    The Crans Montana Forum is a Swiss Non-Governmental International Organization established in 1986. Its oldest Forums are held each year in Crans-Montana (CH-VS) and Geneva (CH-GE). The Forum works with major international organisations, governments, businesses and NGOs.

    The Crans Montana Forum works to build a “more humane and impartial world” and encourages international cooperation and growth. It also works to promote best practices and to ensure a permanent dialogue between high-level stakeholders.

    The first annual Crans Montana Forum, in 1990, was dedicated to political and economic reconstruction in a Europe then open in the aftermath of the Cold War. The various Forums organised worldwide (Brussels, Geneva, Rabat, Dakhla, Vienna, Crans-Montana, Bucharest, Baku, Zagreb, Roma, Sarajevo, Tirana, Athens, Malta, Bahrain) represent exceptional opportunities for businesses and government officials to develop and strengthen relationships with partners across the globe.

    More information at: http://www.cmf.ch

    TEDxStormont is Back!

    TEDxStormont is back, taking place on Saturday, 17 September from 11am to 3pm at the MAC in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.

    Organised along the theme of “Imagine” and supported by lead sponsor Ulster Bank, the event will feature 12 leading thinkers, innovators, artists, philosophers and entertainers from the UK, Ireland and the United States representing such diverse fields as technology, entertainment, visual and performance art, design, politics, music and education, among others.

    Speakers will look forward and “Imagine” the kind of future we could have together as a society, here in Northern Ireland and beyond. The event will be compered by broadcaster William Crawley.

    This will be the third time that TEDxStormont has taken place and due to popular demand has been moved out of Parliament Buildings at Stormont and will now take place at The MAC in  Belfast city centre. Over 250 guests have signed up already with nearly 300 expected on the day.

    Some of the previous TEDxStormont speakers have included: Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol; Christina Lamb, Foreign Correspondent for the Sunday Times; former First Minister Peter Robinson; deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA; Kate Carroll widow of murdered Constable Stephen Carroll, Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA, Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA and Lord Alderdice.

    Eva Grosman, Curator of TEDxStormont said:

    “We are really excited for our third TEDxStormont. Due to the demand for tickets we have had to move from Parliament Buildings at Stormont to The MAC in the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast which means we can give more people the opportunity to come and listen to some of the best speakers and ideas generators around.”

    “The main thrust of TEDx is to develop ideas worth spreading. Since we started we have had over 50 speakers travel to Belfast to tell us what they think and give us food for thought about the society we want to develop in Northern Ireland.”

    “This year we have some first rate speakers from as far as California and Boston, and also closer to home, so we will have a blend of experiences that will create a fantastic event.”

    “The event has been made possible with the support from our sponsors and we must give a particular thanks to our headline backer Ulster Bank who has had the vision to support TEDxStormont. We also have to send out a massive thanks to our other sponsors who include leading law firm Mills Selig, Politics Plus, Lagan Construction, Digital DNA and Uber.”

    Richard Donnan, Head of Northern Ireland at Ulster Bank, the lead sponsor of TEDxStormont said:

    “Our ambition is to be the most trusted bank for customer service, trust and advocacy – and one of the ways we’ll seek to achieve that is by encouraging the development of new and creative thought leadership in our local communities. That’s exactly what TEDxStormont will promote and it’s why we’re really pleased to be playing our part. There is an exciting and diverse range of speakers who are positioned to give real insight and so it is a great fit.”

    An Invisible Tribe: Improving our relationships and public discourse

    Remarks by Eva Grosman (CEO, Centre for Democracy and Peace Building), Europa Hotel Belfast, 27 November 201relationships5.

    Eva was speaking having been presented an inaugural ‘Spirit of WIP’ Award at the WIP Ball by WIP Alumna and Junior Minister, OFMdFM, Emma Pengelly MLA.

    An Invisible Tribe: Improving our  and public discourse

    Almost every day of my working week I interact with ministers, MLAs, business and civic leaders and other remarkable individuals, who took part in the Washington Ireland Program.

    WIP’s values are very much aligned with what I aspire to: humility, empathy, respect and integrity

    Being a change agent, working among people like you, often feels like being part of an invisible tribe.

    When Seamus Heaney passed away, Gary Lightbody wrote a wonderful piece to honour his hero.

    He talked about Heaney as a Chieftain of an “invisible tribe” – a tribe of people that touch others on a level that beds deeper into our souls and hearts.

    People of profound light, love and kindness that simply and maybe even without their knowledge make us and the world around them better. People that make us feel safer, happier, stronger, more centred and less confused.

    The Washington Ireland Program is like of a boot camp for the members of the “invisible tribe” – a school of better living for the warriors of good.

    I was asked to share with you and idea for brighter 2016. So, I thought why not focus on improving a quality of our relationships and quality of public discourse.

    I’m sure that you all watched CSI Miami or one of the similar programmes. I’m sure that you are well aware that every human contact leaves a trace. And it goes beyond the DNA.

    While encountering others we leave not only physical, but also emotional traces. Someone said that“people often forget what we said, but they never forget how we made them feel.”

    In recognising qualities of good leaders, we are now moving from IQ to Emotional Intelligence and from Emotional Intelligence to a Cultural one.

    Cultural Intelligence is the ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures.

    It is something which we continuously improve and develop. We do this through our experiences, but also with knowledge shared by other people whom we trust – and who trust us; via networks such as Washington Ireland Program.

    President Clinton spoke last year at the Riddel Hall, here in Belfast about the need for new creative networks of cooperation – cooperation between public, private and community sectors.

    To achieve this we need leaders who can cross boundaries and cross cultures, leaders who can communicate effectively and build diverse networks necessary to solve “wicked” problems. We need leaders who don’t just shy away from difference but gravitate towards it. Those are the leaders with Cultural Intelligence and these are the members of the invisible tribe.

    Being a member of the invisible tribe it’s not only a privilege – it is also a responsibility. We have to lead with our words and our deeds.

    So let’s think about the words – words are powerful – they can start arguments, even wars, and they can bring forgiveness and peace; words can hurt and words can heal.

    George Orwell in “Politics and the English Language” said that “the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When the general atmosphere is bad, language suffers.”

    With elections coming up, both in the Republic of Ireland and here in Northern Ireland we have a perfect opportunity to challenge and change the quality of political discourse. Perhaps we can focus on positive agenda, positive ideas and our shared future.

    On Thursday, 21 January WIP and the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building will be hosting a workshop in partnership with Twitter to develop a campaign to re-frame conversations and to challenge folly, evasions and hatred in our political and public discourse.

    The project will be underpinned by a sense of hope, possibility and respect, as well as sense of a personal responsibility.

    We have to be good stewards of our gifts. We have to protect our time, avoid too much noise and be ourselves and at our best as often as we can. We shouldn’t let people pull us into their storms, but we should pull them into our peace and joy.

    We have to collectively be bold enough to raise standards of everyone around us, so I invite you to join us in this new project. We will need to tap into your talents, ideas and networks.

    So let’s make 2016 a call to arms for the invisible tribe. Let’s work hard, play hard, do some good and hope for a “great sea-change”.

    And most of all – let’s think before we speak.