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TEDx Conference coming to Vatican


(Vatican Radio) Does religion still matter in contemporary society? Are freedom and religion opposites? What gives real meaning to life? A Vatican sponsored TEDx conference later this month will attempt to answer some of those existential questions from the points of view of an unusual mix of people. 18 speakers, from artists and NBA basketball players to a pop singer and a Cardinal will be examining the impact of religious freedom in their own lives and from a global perspective at the TEDxViaDellaConciliazione conference April 19th.

TED.com is a global non-profit organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading.” At TED’s annual conferences in the U.S. and Europe, the world’s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Ted speakers have included the likes of Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Gordon Brown, Isabel Allende and Bono. The talks are filmed and uploaded onto the web for everyone to watch.

TEDx conferences are events independently organized at the local level.

Sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture and inspired by its President Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi’s Courtyard of the Gentiles, an international forum for dialogue between believers and non believers, TEDxViaDella Conciliazione has been organized by a group of lay people in Roman academia. The day-long conference will be held in an auditorium in Via della Conciliazione, just down the street from St. Peter’s Basilica. Cardinal Ravasi will be among those inaugurating the talks.

TEDxViaDellaConciliazione will be asking where’s the common ground between people of different faiths and backgrounds? Is there room for mutual understanding and religious freedom as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948?

Speakers will include architect Daniel Libeskind whose Freedom Tower is rising out of the 911 ashes at Ground Zero, Cuban American singer Gloria Estefan, Astronomer Brother Guy Consolmagno (from the Vatican Observatory), Hussah Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah (Kuwait), Chief Rabbi David Rosen (Jerusalem), Sumaya Slim (Mexico), Architect Fernando Romero (Mexico), educator Wenzong Wang (China), Comboni Nurse Alicia Vacas (Jerusalem, Gaza), NBA star Vlade Divac (Serbia), scientist Pilar Mateo, (Spain), graffiti writer Mohammed Ali, (UK). IT guru Hisham El-Sherif (Egypt), Shroud of Turin investigator Barrie Schwortz (USA), global researcher Brian Grim (USA), art historian Elizabeth Lev (Italy), a cleric from strife-ridden Nigeria and students from war-torn countries living in communion at Rondine Cittadella della Pace (Italy).

For more information, see: www.tedxviadellaconciliazione.com and www.ted.com.

Vatican Radio will provide further coverage of the event in the weeks to come.
listen to this brief report by Tracey McClure: RealAudioMP3