The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

My quest to learn the musical instrument struck a chord much greater than the beautiful sound of a perfect stroke.
I decided to learn the guitar, but I walked away learning more about life
Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024

Live TEDxChange webcast leaves lasting impression

“The Future We Make” was the premise behind Monday morning’s live webcast of the TEDxChange conference, sponsored by TEDxSMU and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth,  held in the Collins Executive Center on campus.  

The conference featured speeches by four prominent figures and officials on topics surrounding the progress of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

There was also a live music performance by Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew, a hip-hop group from Sierra Leone. The conference was hosted in New York by TED’s curator, Chris Anderson, and was simulcasted to 82 different locations in 38 countries, including the SMU campus.

Anderson provided the background information surrounding the conference.

In 2000, 189 world leaders gathered together to create the UN’s MDGs to be completed by 2015.

The goals are measurable and designed to improve the quality of life for people in all countries by working toward lowering poverty rates, child mortality and gender equity.

Hans Rosling, professor of International Health at the Karolinska Institute and co-founder of the Gapminder Foundation, focused his attention on the measurability of these goals, particularly on the misleading of statistics about Africa.

Rosling shared that his own research showed most countries in Africa are actually on the right track.

Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and organizer of the TEDxChange event, emphasized that the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) need to learn from innovators in all sectors.

She used the example of Coca-Cola’s worldwide success to show that all types of campaigns should be inspirational.

“We think that if people need something, we don’t have to make them want it, but we need to understand what people want in health and development,” Gates said.

Mechai Viravaidya, founder and chairman of the Population and Community Development Association, and Graça Machel, president of the Foundation for Community Development, both spoke about social mobilization and the difference tha giving power and information to local people can make.

After the simulcast, Robert Freling, of the Solar Electric Light Fund(SELF), spoke to the audience live at SMU about providing energy and electricity to all people.

This is a goal that he claims is central to achieving the eight goals that have been set out by the UN.

Freling also talked about SELF’s project in Benin, where SELF and its partners have built a Solar Market Garden to grow fruits and vegetables in order to provide for an entire village that previously had no access to any type of energy source.

“Without modern energy, especially electricity, the Millennium Development Goals will never be met,” Freling said. “Energy is the fuel that powers development.”

The World Affairs Council, community members, SMU students and a small group of Ursuline Academy students attended this TEDxChange satellite event.

“I thought it was really informative,” said Maria Cordova, an Ursuline Academy student. “The fact that energy is essential was, I thought, very interesting.”

NGOs and the UN will continue to meet to assess the progress on the MDGs and to determine a course of action for the next five years. For more information on the MDGs, go to

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