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Willmar to host one-day live stream of TED conference

The TEDx Live event will be hosted March 18 at the MinnWest Technology Campus auditorium. Tribune photo

WILLMAR — Hoping to spark discussion and generate innovative ideas, local organizers are bringing a one-day live stream of the noted TED conference to Willmar this coming month.

The TEDx Live event will be hosted March 18 at the MinnWest Technology Campus auditorium.

It’s a chance for local participants to see and hear some of the latest and best in technology, entertainment and design, said Betsy Bonnema, the lead organizer for TEDx Willmar Live. “I hope they become amazingly inspired.”

TED was created in the 1980s as a high-level global forum for sharing creative ideas and bringing them back to local communities. This year’s conference, taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, marks the 30th anniversary of TED and will focus on “The Next Chapter.”

Among the speakers lined up for the March 18 session are Bill and Melinda Gates and Sting. Others include an architect, a documentary filmmaker, a plasma physicist, an urban planner and a climate scientist.

The winner of the 2014 TED Prize, awarded to an as-yet-unnamed bold wishmaker, also will be announced that day. The annual prize is accompanied by $1 million raised by the TED community to help turn the winner’s idea into reality.

Sessions will be live-streamed to the Willmar audience from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., 1 to 2:45 p.m. and 8 to 9:45 p.m.

Last year Bonnema attended TED Active, a parallel conference simulcast with the main conference, and came home fired with enthusiasm. “The TED culture is all about ideas. They want to learn and grow and bring ideas back to their own community,” she said. “It’s very exciting.”

This year she successfully applied to become a TEDx Live licensee, allowing her to host a one-day live stream of the four-day annual conference that brings TED to a local audience.

She’s hoping for a diversity of participants — community and business leaders, volunteers, entrepreneurs and more.

“It could be anyone,” she said. “We’re just looking for ways to make our world and our community a better place.”

There’s room for 75 participants. Those who plan to attend are asked to submit an online application at A page for TEDx Willmar Live also has been started on Facebook.

If the response is positive, Bonnema hopes to host a live stream of the TED conference in upcoming years and possibly expand the event with some local, on-site speakers. “That’s the vision for where we could go from here,” she said.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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