It’s always a thrilling moment arriving at TED, my favorite conference of the year. The four-day event is truly an intellectual bubble, so full of ideas; it’s a surprise the bubble doesn’t pop. TED was created to bring together leaders from the worlds of technology, entertainment, and design, and it is amazing to see how much larger it has become. The conference showcases thought leaders, who change lives and perspectives in the 18 minutes that they grace the TED stage. TED is always an extraordinary experience, and this year’s TED, in Long Beach, was no exception. 

The conference center was visually stunning. The stage was beautifully designed, the environment was incredible, and as usual, the sessions were brilliant. Speakers from all over the world expanded the minds and stimulated the senses of attendees in sessions named “monumental, beauty, imagination, enchantment.” 

There were a few speakers whose ideas clearly coincided with those of Urban Zen’s initiatives. Homaro Cantu, a brilliant food “scientist,” is formulating solutions to today’s food issues. He has created a completely new type of cuisine using molecular gastronomy. Trying a few samples, I can tell you, it’s absolutely unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before (and quite delicious).

Astronaut Cady Coleman spoke from the International Space Station. It was an incredible experience to communicate with someone from beyond this planet. I am excited that later this month Urban Zen and NASA will be hosting an event at the Urban Zen Center, which will also feature a live stream of Cady Coleman, and empower young girls in science and technology fields.

The TED activity wasn’t confined to just the convention center. There were vans set up around the convention center gathering just as much interest as the talks. For instance, Yoko Ono’s Lennon Bus provides a place for children to create music and art. With the help of musicians, kids are inspired to write, sing and record music of their very own. It was incredibly enriching to experience what kids can do when given full support to let their creativity and imagination shine.

Also this year at TED, Jamie Oliver continued his crusade to empower children to eat better food. Dedicated to sustainable growth, Jamie had an enormous food truck with a kitchen (The Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Truck) set up around the conference. Open to anyone, the goal of the truck was to teach kids and their families how to cook for themselves in a healthy, nutritious and affordable way. Jamie hopes to ‘create a sustainable movement to feed children better in schools and to educate them about food.’ The truck was made possible through contributions and grants from Jamie’s 2010 TED Prize. His message and his mission are unstoppable, and we here at Urban Zen fully support his endeavors.

This year’s TED Prize winner was a brilliant artist named JR, who is serving people around the world through his stunning art. JR says, “I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world…INSIDE OUT.” I have no doubt that this global art project will inspire millions and I hope to collaborate with JR in the future. Read more about JR in the New York Times. CLICK HERE

I am always sad to have TED conclude, but I am already looking forward to the next conference – TEDMED in the fall. TED is everything that one should be inspired by, and I can’t wait to be at TEDMED with the Urban Zen team.

TED | www.ted.com