University College Dublin (UCD) today held its third annual TEDx event in the UCD Dramsoc Theatre, UCD Student Centre.

The 9 national and international speakers, and event MC, who took part in TEDxUCD 2015, were members of the wider researcher, lecturer, graduate and student community at UCD, and they spoke on an extensive range of ideas worth spreading on the overall theme of ‘consequences’.

Among the speakers who spoke at TEDxUCD 2015 was Dr Cara Augustenborg an environmental scientist who in 2013 was selected as Ireland’s first Climate Leader as part of former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Speaking after her talk, which was entitled ‘Fossil Free Ireland’ she said, “If we are to keep the Earth’s average surface temperature under 2 degrees Celsius of additional warming, we have to nearly eliminate most use of fossil fuels by 2050. In 2050, my daughter will be about the same age I am now, but her fossil free life could be much different than my life today.”

She added, “As I outlined in my TEDxUCD 2015 talk, to understand if a fossil free Ireland really is our solution to climate change, I had to find out what the consequences of becoming fossil free will mean for my daughter’s adult life and for all of us who are here to witness the coming energy revolution.”

The Director of Worldwide Education Strategy at Microsoft Corporation, Steven Duggan, spoke at TEDxUCD 2015 with a talk entitled ‘Sickness: illiteracy as a fatal illness’.

He said, “As a UCD graduate, who has been based in the United States for the last 3 years, it was truly an honour to be invited back to UCD and to talk at TEDxUCD 2015.”

He added, “Over 750 million adults, more than 1 in 4 on the planet, are illiterate. Given the significance consequences which illiteracy has upon infant mortality, child welfare and maternal health, not to mention economic progress and armed conflict, as I explained in my talk we need to view illiteracy as a health epidemic, and devote the same resources we allocate to other health epidemics to tackle this issue.”

Dr Brendan Rooney, a lecturer in the UCD School of Psychology, spoke at TEDxUCD 2015 on the topic of ‘Controlling emotions: movies and (virtual) reality.’

He said, “Stories are, and always have been, a powerful way to simulate experiences and share social knowledge. As cinema becomes more immersive and more realistic, the power of cinematic storytelling is being supercharged. Right now as I outlined in my talk we have an exciting opportunity to actively shape the development of cinema, to preserve its magic and capitalise on its potential, in a way that puts the viewer first, in control of their experience.”

Dr Charlotte Blease, currently Wellcome Trust Non-Clinical Research Fellow at the Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Leeds and a Research Affiliate at the Program in Placebo Studies, Harvard Medical School, also took part in TEDxUCD 2015 and her talk was entitled ‘Philosophy is a right’.

She said, “We expect our children to be literate and numerate but we should also expect them to be philosophically or critically aware about ideas, arguments, and different ways of viewing the world. As I explained in my TEDxUCD 2015 talk how else can we expect our citizenry to be active and thoughtful if we don’t encourage critical thinking.”

Dr Blease is also a founder member of a new independent organisation called Philosophy Ireland which aims to support the teaching of philosophy in Irish schools.

TEDxUCD 2015 is organised by UCD’s innovation team at NovaUCD. At TEDxUCD 2015 a combination of live speakers and a selection of TEDTalks videos were combined to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group of 100 attendees. The TED conference provides general guidance for the TEDx programme, but individual TEDx events, including TEDxUCD, are self-organised.

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, “Following the success of our previous TEDxUCD events I am delighted that we hosted our third annual TEDx event at University College Dublin. During TEDxUCD 2015 our speakers explored the breadth, depth and consequences of a wide range of ideas worth spreading.”

She added, “Organising and running TEDxUCD is an example of how we share the knowledge, expertise and ideas emanating from our community with a wider audience both in Ireland and across the globe.”

Amy Fox, a 4th year UCD Business and Law student, acted as MC for TEDxUCD 2015.

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