By Rimma Samir
—On Tuesday, the 7th of March, the Amsterdam University College (AUC) TEDx team will host their annual conference at Pathé Tuschinski. A broad range of experts will offer their perspective on this year’s theme: [Dis]connect.
In an annual tradition, two of the twelve speakers were selected on the basis of two-minute pitches. These pitches were held at Pitch Night on the 14th of February. For one evening, AUC’s auditorium was turned into a real conference room. The Herring attended the event to tell you what happened and what to look forward to.
Nine students from various universities in the Netherlands were competing for the opportunity to present their ideas on the main event. “Two out of nine speakers were chosen to speak at the main event. One of them was chosen online through popular vote by members of the audience. The second one was chosen by the jury,” said Tobias Traxler, head of Logistics of TEDxAUCollege and second year Social-Science major.
The Herring also spoke with one of the members of the jury, Lara Mazurski, Humanities professor at AUC. “Other than the evaluation rubric that we [members of the jury] were given by the TEDx team I was largely evaluating the confidence of the speakers. Especially, putting emphasis on their presentation skills,” said Lara Mazurski, “A good speech for me gives the audience an idea that their [speakers’] conversation had a potential to be extended out into a larger and more productive talk.”
“What the Tedx Pitch Night is primarily about, is preserving the connection between the AUC student body and TEDxAUCollege. This is because, since last year, the main event is held in the city instead of the Academic Building. A big part of keeping that connection is that we give AUC students, as well as other students, a chance to speak at the main event,” said Traxler.
The Herring spoke to one of the Pitch Night’s visitors, Johan Fredsted a second year Humanities major, to offer his perspective on the organization. “The event was a little bit hyped by the social media posts that introduced each of the speakers,” said Fredsted. “I thought it was going to be a bit more formal. However, I was pleasantly surprised. And yeah, the water with lemon and cucumber, can you really ask for more?” said Fredsted.
The talks themselves also left a lasting impression. “I liked most of the topics that were discussed, they were very varied. I liked the speaker who I voted for. I think her name was Carolin (referring to: Carolin Layala Vahar-Matiar, winner of the jury’s vote). She talked about alternatives of advertising NGOs and gave an alternative approach to guilt-tripping the population through the media,” said Fredsted.
So what can you look forward to in the main event? “Well, everything!” said Traxler. “It obviously depends on who you ask. We [Tedx board members] are all super excited obviously. My thing would probably be, being able to spend the whole evening in Pathe Tuschinski,” said Traxler.
For those who regret missing Pitch Night, the event’s popular vote winning speaker Saga Norby, recently posted a video of her speech. The video can be watched here.