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TEDxJohnLyonSchool presents our Earth to a global TED audience

TEDxJohnLyonSchool has seen pupils, teachers and esteemed subject experts explore our Earth, its place in the universe, the beauty and power of our world, the landscapes and environments that shape our daily lives, the nations and tribes that label and define us, and solutions to some of the problems facing humanity.

Held at John Lyon on Thursday 17th October, 13 speakers including a 12-year-old-pupil, an expert on the Big Bang and a mountaineer who has stood on top of the world, talked with passion and positivity about how we can affect change to help the future of the Earth as well as to help us, the people who are lucky enough to call this Earth our home.

Seven John Lyon pupils, Jai Davison, Varun Valentine, Tanvir Handa, Dhiren Mahajan, Husain Abedi, Rishi Luthra and Ashil Shah, were joined by three teachers, Maria Trafford, Joshua Carr and Morgan White, and three other experts, astronomer Chris Crowe, mountaineer Matt Dickinson and interfaith and communications professional Zaki Cooper.

Subjects covered under the central theme of Earth were varied: from extraterrestrials to bees, and from alchemy to faith, all delivered from memory without any use of notes.

TEDx is an offshoot of the world-famous TED, created to be a programme of local, self-organised events that bring people together in the spirit of ‘ideas worth spreading’ to share a TED-like experience. TEDxJohnLyonSchool was created and put together over a number of months by John Lyon teachers Dr Florence Weinberg and Mrs Maria Trafford, as part of the  John Lyon Excellence Programme, which provides an opportunity for all boys, no matter their academic ability or age, to maximise their potential to learn and to discover their passion.

TEDx events, including TEDxJohnLyonSchool are held in front of a live audience, but also filmed and then hosted on the TED website and watched by many thousands of people across the globe.

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Having prepared their talks for many weeks, learning their scripts from memory, the TEDxJohnLyonSchool speakers were thrilled at having taken part in such a high-profile and prestigious event.

Tanvir Handa, whose talk looked at our use of technology: “TEDxJohnLyonSchool was truly a remarkable experience for me, as well as a nervous time in the build-up. This was a very proud moment for me and I hope everyone watching the talks enjoy them and gets motivated to help our planet in some way.”

Rishi Luthra, whose talk focused on how future populations could be housed underwater: “Taking Part in a TEDx event was not only an enjoyable experience but a chance to share my interest in property development. Looking to the future and how we live like is very important and producing ideas early, such as underwater civilisations, makes us appreciate what we might face.

Maria Trafford, event organiser, whose talk looked at how we always focus on human concerns: “The challenge of learning public speaking as a new skill and being in awe of John Lyon boys who seemed so confident and resilient at such a young age will be the memories I take away from TEDx.”

Zaki Cooper, whose talk focused on his inter-faith work: “I was delighted to participate in TEDx John Lyon and speak on “one earth, many religions.” People sometimes ask me why I spend so much time on inter-faith work and the talk is my answer. I hope people watching it will gain a fresh understanding of why inter-faith is important. If it encourages one person to change the way they behave and interact in the future, it will have been worth it.”

Chris Crowe, who looked at our Earth from space: “An inspiring array of talks to encourage people to think outside the box. The audience fully engaged with the speakers to make it a very friendly forum, and the event was a complete success. It can be nerve-wracking being filmed on stage, but confidence in the message can help to make it much more relaxed and enjoyable experience!”

Event Organiser Florence Weinberg, added: “Organising TEDx has been a challenging yet my most rewarding experience as a teacher. We worked very hard with the boys, to get them from their initial audition ready for the event itself, but the hard work really paid off as can be seen by the incredible videos that can be seen on YouTube.”


TED is an annual event that brings together the world’s leading thinkers and doers to share ideas that matter in any discipline — technology, entertainment, design, science, humanities, business, development. The talks at the conference, called TED Talks, are then made available to watch for free on TED.com.

In the spirit of “ideas worth spreading,” TED has created TEDx, a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connections. Our TEDx event is not organised by TED Conferences, but is operated under a license from TED.