Following its successful 2010 turn as host of the most popular TEDx conference in the organization’s history, the graceful Spanish colonial city and UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico has once again brought together some of Mexico’s, and the world’s, finest minds.
TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) is a private, non-profit organization famed for inviting Nobel Prize winners, pop stars, business leaders, scientists, authors, politicians, and thinkers of all stripes to speak. In addition to official TED events, smaller TEDx conferences organized by third parties are held in some 60 countries, including Mexico.
Lectures are short (a maximum of 18 minutes each) but incredibly informative, and TED offers videos of the world-class taks free on their website, available across the Internet and world. The most popular batch of TEDx talks was recorded at the 2010 conference in San Miguel de Allende. The city was selected because the “festive spirit of Mexico’s 2010 Centennial / Bicentennial celebrations and the colorful Day of the Dead traditions provided an enriched backdrop” for the speakers. They’ve returned in 2010 because it went so well.
The 2011 conference was held at the historic, 230-year-old Cine Los Aldmada, refurbished from one of San Miguel’s classic Spanish Colonial estates. Recycling history into something that captures the city’s modern roll as a magnet for lyrically minded expatriates and an artsy, rather intellectual crowd fit perfectly with the conference’s theme, Energía Humana, “Human Energy.”
“What is the nature of our power as Humans? What responsibilities, if any, does that power demand of us?” TEDx asked the speakers. “We have demonstrated that we have in our hands the capacity to change the world, like no living thing has before us. What will our legacy be? How will we use our Energía Humana?”
The conference, which took place earlier this month, was by all accounts a success. And with speakers including Grammy Award-winning mariachi innovator Pepe Aguilar; philosopher/composer Nacho Rodriguez Bach; and Puerto Rican jíbara-fusion group Mijo de la Palma the TEDx crew didn’t need an introduction to local music like attendees of February’s annual San Miguel de Allende Writers Conference.
Moreover, San Miguel’s commitment to sustainable, green living must have been popular with other attendees such as film producer Fernando Rovzar, whose carbon-neutral films include 2009’s comedy blockbuster as Salvando al Soldado Pérez; environmental educator Veronica Landini; and naturally inspired artist Luis Díaz Gordoa.
Participants also enjoyed the archaeological tour of a lifetime from archaeologist Gabriela Zepeda, currently is in charge of excavations at Cañada de la Virgen, the fantastic, 15-century-old ruins located just 16km (10mi) southwest of San Miguel de Allende.