Dirk Daenen made TEDx events a regular happening in Luxembourg. After organizing different editions in Wiltz and the Grand Duchy’s capital, it is now time for the first one with a focus on women.
by: Torge Schwandt
photo: Kaori Anne Jolliffe
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How did you become an organizer for TEDx events in Luxembourg?
It all started with my work as a professor and dean for UBI (United Business Institutes) in Brussels and Wiltz. Despite Wiltz being a fantastic little city in the north of Luxembourg, we realized a few years ago that it was challenging to spur interest for it as a place for higher education as it is relatively far from Luxembourg City – saying this with regard to the ‘local perception’ for distances here and the somewhat challenging access to Wiltz via public transport.
I figured that organizing a TEDx event could be a great way to attract more people to join us in Wiltz. Being an educator with a strong focus on communication myself, it more or less naturally happened to be a great match from the start. I applied for and received a license from TED in the US, which made everything possible since then. After the first successful editions in Wiltz, we had some great events in Luxembourg city in 2018 and in the summer of this year.
After all, the people here in Luxembourg really picked up on the chance to get inspired and learn together through these occasions. For example, there are also TEDxYouth editions being organized at the International School Luxembourg as well as TEDxUniversity is taking place at Uni.lu regularly.
“I truly believe in the necessity of empowering girls and women all around the world.”
Why did you decide to host an edition focused on women?
We were thinking of doing so for a while already. I truly believe in the necessity of empowering girls and women all around the world. After our recent TEDx events in Luxembourg City were a great success, we thought that it was now finally time to use our momentum and to go ahead by putting women in the spotlight.
As TED is also hosting a large women conference from 4-6 December in the US and some of our sponsors like the Vodafone Foundation Luxembourg and KPMG are also currently working on supporting women’s initiatives, the timing was just right to do this special TEDx event now.
What are you most excited about regarding this first ‘women edition’?
All our speakers are just fantastic. As an educator, I always make the point that it is one thing to know a lot but it is another one to communicate it well. One could actually say that this is what TED events essentially stand for. In this regard, I am generally just very excited to give these fantastic women – plus one great male speaker – the stage to share their inspiring stories and ideas. They all deserve to be heard by a large audience at the event and online. I am happy that we can offer this to them.
“I am particularly excited to have Tessy Anthony de Nassau among our speakers.”
I have to admit though that I am particularly excited to have Tessy Anthony de Nassau among our speakers. She has already been asked by multiple TEDx conferences to be part of their events, even the regular TED one in the US, but always declined. Given her personal background story with regard to the Grand Duc’s family, I am grateful for her to return to Luxembourg for her very first TEDx appearance. She does outstanding work as a social entrepreneur, activist, and philanthropist. I am looking forward to her sharing her inspiring ideas at this event.
What are your future plans for the TEDx events in Luxembourg?
Our team will continue to host TEDx events. As mentioned, different editions are already regularly organized in Luxembourg, and we strive to continue to offer these special occasions where people can meet, listen, and get inspired. Meeting and networking with like-minded people that are curious to learn and think outside the box is a big part of what we try to offer. As there is a high demand for this in Luxembourg, there will definitely be more TEDx events in Luxembourg City in 2020. So stay tuned!