TEDxHonolulu Scholarship Program

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In 2013, with the generosity of many local sponsors, TEDxHonolulu was able to offer, for the first time, a Scholarship program for attendees needing financial assistance to attend the event. The TEDxHonolulu Scholarship for attendance program was offered to make the event more available to individuals who were not be able to afford the full cost of ticket fees. There were a limited number of full scholarships available and they were limited to Hawaii residents only.

The TEDxHonolulu 2013 Scholarship for attendance program contributed to our vision of serving the interests of Hawaii’s community by promoting “Ideas Worth Spreading” among TEDxHonolulu’s diverse group of people. As partners, speakers and attendees, the event offered an opportunity to learn from one another and leave the conference motivated and inspired into cultivating community for our future.

Applicants were required to submit an application answering several questions as well as a reflection after the event. We would like to share some of the responses with you.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for the 2015 TEDxHonolulu Scholarship Program, please click here or contact sponsorship@tedxhonolulu.org

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TEDxHonolulu 2013 Testimonials:

On November 16, 2013 I had the pleasure of attending TEDx Honolulu 2013 with a focus on Cultivating Community. I have always been a big fan of TEDx program as it provides great ideas and discovery in a humbling way and it draws people to think about the potentials that they hold in making a difference in the world.

This was my first time of attending a TEDx event and it was an uplifting and insightful opportunity that opened my eyes to great community leaders, programs and efforts that are taking place to better our lives.

Although the stories of each speaker differed, there was one unifying message: valuing human relationship, caring for others and focusing on future generations.

What I took from observing these speakers and their stories was the importance of being selfless and humble. All speakers demonstrated stories and experiences that made them realize how small they are, how to recognize great talent in other people and making positive changes through partnerships. The inspiration and positive synergy that the speakers and attendees shared motivated me to think about what I can do to make a positive difference in my community and my surroundings.


I truly hope that the great learning opportunity and reflection that TEDxHonolulu have provided me can reach more young professionals who are seeking for ways to find their passion, interest and make something significant out of their future and their work. With inspiration and great hope that TEDxHonolulu can provide, I strongly believe that it will change the way we think about the society and open our hearts to become a caring person. Thank you TEDxHonolulu for an insightful moment and thought provoking conversations.


A marine biologist. A taiko drummer. A corporate director. A filmmaker. What struck me most about TEDxHonolulu’s 2013 event was the diversity in its speakers. Who would have ever imagined all of these people in the same room, speaking about the same topic?

Each speaker discussed different subjects, drawing from their unique experiences and perspectives, yet it all came back to this topic of “cultivating community.”

It made me realize that this is what cultivating community is all about: bringing together people with diverse and unique experiences, perspectives, and dreams, but all share the common goal of working together in solidarity to improve our community.


The speakers I liked best were Jessica Munoz and Paul Bump.  While they spoke on very different topics, I think the quality of the presentations and the very different topics show just how much you can get out of this experience. There were many other interesting presentations at TEDx Honolulu, but these are the two that have stuck with me.  While on the surface they seem quite different I believe they are a good representation of what TEDx Honolulu set out to achieve.  They both left me with a lot to think about and with a desire to incorporate my knowledge into action for the benefit of my community.  I am sure other members of the audience were similarly inspired and I think that is an excellent legacy for a one-day event.


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Questions Posed to the Scholarship Recipients 

How did you learn about TED Talks?

My very first TED Talk was Janet Echelman’s “Taking Imagination Seriously” in one of my first college courses. I remember watching our professor as she cued up the video monitor and the lights and red graphics of the TED logo glittered on the screen. Watching this video on how a simple and creative idea of taking everyday materials and transforming them into one-of-a-kind art pieces that impacted so many lives along its journey inspired me not only to continue pursuing my educational endeavors but to really value the platform that TED talks offer to their diverse audiences.

Watch Janet Echelman’s talk by clicking here.


What is your favorite TED Talk and why?

I enjoy watching all TED Talk episodes on Netflix and on the website, but my all time favorite is by TEMPLE GRADIN titled “THE WORLD NEEDS ALL KINDS OF MINDS.” In my personal opinion, I think Dr. Gradin captures the essence of TED Talk–to inspire and impart creativity and awareness. I love watching Dr. Gradin’s talk because I feel empowered with her positivity and encouraged by her innovative perspective.

Watch Temple Gradin’s talk by clicking here.


My favorite TED Talk is Hole in the Wall by Dr. Sugata Mitra. This TED Talk empowers people with education and how technology can bring great amount to intelligence to the students in India where no proper education computer or programming was provided. Dr. Sugata’s message of empowerment of education and self learning skills opens so many potential studies and ideas on bettering the education.

Watch Sugata Mitra’s talk by clicking here.


My favorite TED Talk is Candy Chang’s “Before I die I want to..” I was inspired by her insight into human nature and the power of public space. It was a beautiful project that reminded viewers that everybody has a dream worth sharing. I felt so inspired I lead my own students to create their own “Before I die I want to” wall.

Watch Cindy Chang’s talk by clicking here.


My favorite TED Talk is Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders. I am a director in a non-profit.  Sheryl’s talk helped me to identify how I’m limiting myself as a leader and how I can step it up.  And I’ve seen results!  I am just amazed at how a 15 minute talk changed my daily interactions at work.

Watch Sheryl Sandberg’s talk by clicking here.


If you were to give a TED Talk, what would be your topic of passion?

If I were to give a TED Talk, I would talk about celebrating diversity and unity.  I feel we focus either too heavily on the things that make us the same or the things that make us different.  Both are important.


My topic of passion would be on restoring humanity by restoring our soils. Edible organic gardens and native plants provide dynamic wellness to the communities that grow them. They reduce crime rates, get neighbors talking to each other, create abundance of fruits and vegetables, and reconnect us to dirt. Gardens can be grown in empty lots, roof tops, containers, vertically, etc. In schools they can be used as talking points for every subject from art to math. The more connected people are to soil the better we will treat the soil. We may treat each other better too.


My topic of passion would be on restoring humanity by restoring our soils. Edible organic gardens and native plants provide dynamic wellness to the communities that grow them. They reduce crime rates, get neighbors talking to each other, create abundance of fruits and vegetables, and reconnect us to dirt. Gardens can be grown in empty lots, roof tops, containers, vertically, etc. In schools they can be used as talking points for every subject from art to math. The more connected people are to soil the better we will treat the soil. We may treat each other better too.