Thursday, March 04, 2010

TEDx Youth Ottawa 2010

TEDxYouthOttawa, North America’s first TEDx conference made entirely for youth, by youth.

TEDxYouthOttawa was North America’s first TEDx conference where all presenters are youth age 25 and younger,
and with a majority of attendees recruited from local high schools and community organizations.
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What follows are pictures I took of the event with program notes in-line. I tried to capture the essence of the event in pictures as best I could.

Mark Ouseley (age 21)

Mark has passion for environmental science and technology, a keen
sense for trends, developments, and possibilities for the future, and
opportunities for youth as social entrepreneurs.

Mark is in his final year of studies at Queen’s University and has
been active in environmental issues for as long as he can remember.
From working on neighbourhood cleanups, to helping Queen’s become the
first worm-composting residence in Canada, he has overseen a variety
of sustainability initiatives, both large and small. Through his
travels, he has observed sustainable lifestyles abroad in Japan,
England and, most recently, China.

Ronan MacParland (age 22)

The Canada we’re looking for is not to be found, but rather built by
the hands of people willing to come together to break the cycles of
poverty and pain that have kept us from our incredible potential.

What does it mean to be Canadian? Ronan MacParland will tackle this
question in his presentation, titled ‘Identity Crisis’. Originally
from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Ronan is a co-founder of the Canadian
Roots exchange program – a week long road trip that takes First
Nations, Inuit, Metis and non-Indigenous Canadians around Canada’s
provinces to visit and learn from our country’s Indigenous
communities. A recipient of Youth in Motion’s ‘Top 20 Under 20′ in
2007, Ronan is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in
International Relations from the University of Toronto.

David Charette (age 18)

Song, dance and language unify – For our children’s sake we must
continue to dance, for each movement is a silken strand in the larger
web of the all: the pattern of the Whole.

David Charette is a grade 12 student at Lester B. Pearson Catholic
High School in Ottawa. He has been dancing since he was a young child,
performing at Powwows from New Brunswick to Alberta. David’s interests
outside of dancing include motion photography and culinary arts.
David’s first dance will be a Straight-Up grass dance, which
originated amongst Prairie tribes, and was traditionally used to
flatten down the grass for feasts, powwow or a place to set up camp.
The second dance is a Crow Hop, which mimics the movement of a crow on
the ground. This dance may be performed in exhibition or competition,
and celebrates the role of the crow in Native culture and religion.

The Children’s Republic

An excerpt from a play by Hannah Moscovitch, performed by cast members
from the sold-out 2009 production, presented by the Great Canadian
Theater Company and the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama.

Dr. Janusz Korczak is the King of Children. Doctor, author and
champion of children’s rights, Janusz runs a remarkable orphanage in
Poland. But when the Nazis invade, the Jewish orphans are forced into
the Warsaw Ghetto. Janusz follows to protect their rights and dignity.
In a world devoid of freedom and even the necessities of life, what
else do you have but your honour and ideals? A powerful and true tale
of beauty, heroism and legacy.

Dandelion Dance (ages 19 and under)

Grounded in the belief that youth have important ideas to share and
that dance is a powerful medium with which to share these ideas.

Dandelion Dance Company is an Ottawa based youth dance theatre company
which explores social issues through movement. The company’s
repertoire is driven by the experiences, reflections and passions of
the young women, who range in age from ages 13 to 19, and include such
topics as child labour, hunger, war, equality and inclusion. All the
performance pieces are chosen, researched and choreographed by the
members of the company, under the mentorship of Hannah Beach.

Philip Schleihauf (age 19)

Six hours on the road every day leaves a lot of time to think.
Unicycling for a cause for three months provides lots to think about.

While balancing an engineering education, a band, being director of
the Queens University branch of Engineers Without Borders, and
photography for a feature-length film, Phil’s favorite thing is
planning big unicycle tours. He got his first unicycle when he moved
to Ottawa eight years ago, and got practice by riding it to his high
school, Lester B Pearson, every day. In April ‘09 Phil set out from
Victoria BC on his single wheel to become the second person to ride
the 4700km – in unicycle terms 1.7 million wheel revolutions – to
Ottawa. The goal: raise awareness of the child soldiering by the LRA
in Northern Uganda.

Brigette DePape (age 20)

Performing from her self-penned, critically acclaimed play, ‘She Rules
with Iron Stix,’ Brigette DePape asks whether art is an escape from
real world problems or part of their solution.

A playwright since the age of 15, and a third year international
development student who has contributed to sustainable development
projects in Senegal and Bosnia, DePape explores the possibility of new
worlds: changing our actual world through activism vs. creating new
worlds through fiction. She attempts to reconcile responsibility and
creativity, suggesting that plays can be a powerful tool for cultural

Shawn MacDonell (age 25)

He has travelled across the world, started (and runs) 3 companies,
sits on over a dozen active social enterprise boards and committees,
coached four different sports at all levels from local to national,
raced cars all over the country, and sometimes attends university.

Shawn currently runs Creativision – an organization with the
philosophy that every person has a passion or two that they might not
be aware of. Sometimes people either don’t know their passions or they
just don’t do anything with those passions. They become hobbies,
things that people look forward to engaging with when they are
retired. This, according to Shawn, is definitely not cool!

Shawn spends most of his day in the world of educational alternatives,
youth leadership, entrepreneurial culture building, and active living

Rylan Allemang-Grand (age 22)

Rylan’s discussion, “Our Plastic Brain”, is a glimpse into the inner
workings of our brain to demonstrate how the fundamental units of the
nervous system adapt in the face of learning and experience.

With the use of modern functional imaging techniques, we are able to
watch the brain rearrange its circuitry in order to adapt to the
dynamic environment that we live in. Rylan will reveal evidence of how
everyone has the potential to change their brain and how important
this is during adolescence, and recovery from brain injury. We have
known for some time that the brain is the most sophisticated organ in
our body. However, the fact that it is constantly changing and
reorganizing itself makes it the most complex entity in our universe.
Prepare to become a believer!


Marcus Jameel (age 22)

The 2008 Capital Slam champion has shared the stage with the likes of
Amir Sulaiman, Black Ice, Shane Koyczan and Dwayne Morgan. His
conscious, articulate delivery style has been winning slams – and
winning over audiences – throughout the National Capital Region.

Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Marcus Jameel anchored the Ottawa
Slam Team at the 2008 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, where they
broke the national team scoring record. Since 2009, Marcus Jameel has
held another unique position (on top of being a full-time accounting
student), tailored especially for him, as Director of English and
Poetry in prison systems assisting inmates with lyrics and performing
arts. He further explores his entrepreneurial side as an agent – the
Canadian representative of Black Ice, a star of Def Poetry well
established in the North American spoken word scene. Marcus Jameel
will use his verbal talents and critical mind to explore social
psychology and the mentality of public speaking itself.


Dave Hale (age 21)

Embracing your youth – how can your age help you make it big?

When national brands look to target the youth market, they turn to
serial entrepreneur, Dave Hale. An Ottawa native, Dave co-founded O2
Entertainment when he was 18 and built the company into North
America’s largest mobile paintball attraction in under two years…while
still working over 60 hours a week as the marketing coordinator at
local entertainment institution, Saunders Farm. Building off this
success, Dave pursued his true passion and co-founded Re:Cognition
Branding, an Ottawa based creative agency which has worked with
recognized local and national organizations.

Dave also serves as the Director of Marketing for Impact
Entrepreneurship Group, Canada’s largest youth-run entrepreneurship
organization. Since 2004, Impact has been providing the necessary
tools, programs, and opportunities to facilitate the entrepreneurial
development of young Canadians and has assisted in producing some of
the country’s top young minds.

Samira Ahmed & Zach Hayes (ages 22 & 20)

What is learning? Moving into 2010, we see an increasing need for
traditional methods of learning to be supplemented by new
collaborative student-driven forms of education; to see education as a
more open, two-way process between those with knowledge, and those

FYBY News is a new open movement that enables students to explore
issues they care about, ask questions they may not otherwise ask, and
share their findings with the world through video and other multimedia
applications – students, finally, get to own their education.

Aliai Lual (age 23)

Aliai A.A. Lual emigrated to Canada from war-torn Sudan with her
family on June 10th, 1990. Driven by the passion her parents had in
providing opportunities for their community, Aliai was inspired to
take on a role as an international voice for Sudanese youth displaced
around the world and in refugee camps.

Aliai is a Youth Engagement Officer for 3 Dreads and a Baldhead,
powerfully contributing to the black community and the Black Youth
Conference Day, an annual event that brings together black youth from
different schools and backgrounds in the Ottawa area with the aim of
creating a vision for themselves and their community. Among her
achievements, Aliai was named the 2008 United Way Community Builder of
the Year and one of the Top 50 people who are shaping the future of
the Nation’s Capital (Ottawa Life Magazine).

Theatre Ashbury (age 18 and below)

Theatre Ashbury is not always for the squeamish or faint at heart but
it is always meticulously produced to appreciative audiences and
frequent ovations.

Theatre Ashbury’s philosophy is to produce plays of social
significance. Their multi award winning productions offer the cast and
crew opportunities for meaningful discussion and debate – and the
opportunity for audiences to experience often provocative theatre at
its finest. Students will perform a segment from their recent
production of “The Glory of Living”, written by Rebecca Gilman. The
play has been the recipient of many awards and was a finalist for the
Pulitizer Prize in 2002. Audience members should be prepared to be
shocked, moved and perhaps even somewhat disturbed by the content,
while being amazed by the skill and talent of the actors.

Stunt Double Circus

Stunt Double Circus is a brand new collaboration between “Phantastyk”
acrobats Joey Albert and Paul Perreault ( and “The
Pogo Dudes” Fred Gryzbowski and Nick McClintock

Ever since the uprising of special effects in mainstream action
movies, professional stunt doubles all over the world are left without
any work. Ever wonder what these brave jobless thrill seekers do to
pass their time? Well now you can wonder no longer!

Stunt Double Circus is an extremely high energy acrobatic show filled
with character-based humor! Watch as these absurdly stereotypical
out-of-work stuntmen perform big time stunts in a number of rare
circus art forms!

TEDxYouthOttawa, North America’s first TEDx conference made entirely for youth, by youth.

TEDxYouthOttawa was North America’s first TEDx conference where all presenters are youth age 25 and younger,
and with a majority of attendees recruited from local high schools and community organizations.
Follow them on Twitter (
Follow us on Facebook (

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