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In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED like experience. Our event is called TEDxYouth@DAIS, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDx event, TEDTalks videos and live speakers combined to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

“After a fabulous TEDx conference last year, TEDxYouth@DAIS is back for its third rendition in our school, on Saturday, the 29th of August. We have an exciting line up of seven innovative and inspiring speakers that awaits you. Read more about them below. We look forward to receiving you at DAIS this weekend! Be there to be inspired.”


At 8:30 am on Saturday, 29th August 2015, as the school lay mostly empty, the inside of the auditorium was in a state of frenetic chaos. Ten volunteers ran from the ground floor to the art room to abduct duct tape at regular intervals, paint smeared the back of hands as they performed last minute touch ups, and in the centre of it all, the Core team ran around with speakers, checking the power points and yelling out instructions. It was hour and a half to go until TEDxYouth@DAIS took off for its third installment at the Dhirubhai Ambani International School.


At 9:45 am, the first of the audience began filing in. Soon, the auditorium was filled with heads, teachers, and students alike, all waiting for the curtains to part, and for the much-anticipated conference to begin. And finally, at 10:30 am, once the last TEDx letter was put in place, our hosts for the day, Rahul Alexander and Jever Mariwala took the stage to open TEDxYouth@DAIS 2015.


Our first speaker for the day was a man who knew no boundaries, and who had never accepted defeat. Rehan Poncha, Olympic swimmer and Arjuna Awardee, took us on his incredible journey in swimming right from his childhood, and spoke to us about the three lessons he learnt as an athlete, which we could take on as we headed out into the world after graduation. From the ups and downs of his swimming (and now golf) career, Rehan’s talk was enthralling and one of the crowd favourites.


Rehan was followed by Jahaan Mukhi, a 17 year old in class 12 who had achieved some extraordinary feats in the field of computer programming. Jahaan’s love for physics, math and computer programming had him wanting to do something completely unorthodox that could change the way artificial intelligence was designed. He then walked us through how he applied the knowledge of genetic algorithms and neural networks to a program that could create self-developing artificial intelligence organisms. Does that idea put us a league ahead of where we are in the AI sphere right now? We certainly think so.


Following Jahaan and the fifteen-minute tea break was our very own student speaker from year 12 – Vyom Thakkar. Vyom’s mind boggling idea involved the marriage of mathematics, biology and – wait for it – origami. Vyom’s revolutionary concept involves creating artificial blood cells using highly technical origami models, which could change the face of current drug delivery systems. His talk was intriguing, complex, and nothing short of inspirational.

After Vyom, we screened a talk by one of our most eloquent leaders, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, where he opened our eyes to the reforms that are needed within Indian education today, to take us from having well informed minds, to well educated minds.


Stepping in to break the line up of men before her was Sonia Agarwal, one of DAIS’ esteemed alumni. An ardent environmentalist with a love for fashion, Sonia showed us how she brought her two interests together in one unique initiative – to promote ethical fashion in the fashion industry around the globe today. What made Sonia’s talk so special was that it showed us how each one of us can make the change that we think we need to see in the world.


At 12:45pm, we broke for lunch. The audience pleaser for this segment was a rich, creamy cake adorned in beautiful TEDx lettering, celebrating TEDxYouth@DAIS’ third anniversary. After all, who can resist a good cake?


The last two talks for the day were no less gripping than their predecessors. The first was a screened TED talk by Rajesh Rao, a computer program developer who described how he was attempting to compute a “Rosetta Stone” for the only language that hasn’t been deciphered in the world – the script of the Indus Valley Civilization.


And to bring our conference to a close, we had Angad Daryani, our third twelfth grader for the day. Angad’s passion for constructing things led him to build his company, Sharkbot, which helped other children learn the joy of creating and building. He told us about what to expect if we wanted to venture into entrepreneurship at this age, and how to get over the difficulties that he faced during his journey.


With that, we had come to the end of the 2015 edition of TEDxYouth@DAIS. After the thank you note, speakers and audience members spilled out of our doors, with their heads hopefully teeming with ideas and possibilities that didn’t exist before.


And as for the TEDx team? A month and a half of intensive planning, aversions of near crises and tense trips to Mr. Basu’s office on a weekly basis had paid off. We had our own shirts with our names and the logo of our conference emblazoned on the front, and the pride of seeing our conference succeed. We leave it to the team of 2016 to take this annual tradition further than it ever has before, and wish them all the very best.


- Antara Agarwal

(If you missed out on the event, you will be able to see photographs and the actual TEDxYouth@DAIS talks that will be shared very soon! Keep yourself updated by following and liking our social media sites: