Sharing Valuable Ideas Widely – Interview with TEDxICU Executives who are Developing Activism through TED Talks | Part 2

Following up on the last article, we interviewed Karen Kojima, Rika Asakura, and Yuka Yamazaki, the executives of TEDxICU.

In the last article, vol.23 part1, they talked about TEDxICU’s activities, the organization’s structure, and the reasons they came to join.

Read on part 2 to find out more about what makes their activities so rewarding and what they think about that!

Q6. When do you feel motivated?

Miss. Kojima As a member of TEDxICU, I find it rewarding when I experience the atmosphere and sense of accomplishment that only this community can provide. For example, watching a speaker’s speech live and feeling their strong message directly, or encouraing each other and working together with the members of the team, no matter how difficult the time is.

As one of the members involved in the restart of TEDxICU, I also feel another sense of satisfaction. When I saw the wonderful speeches created by the speakers and the members of the speaker team, I was very happy that I had a sense of achieving  what I had hoped to achieve when I originally talked about the re-launch of TEDxICU: “to create a place where ICU students can deliver their own messages in their own words.” Also, when I was a member of TEDxYouth@Tokyo, I really loved the atmosphere and time I spent with its members, and I am so glad that many TEDxICU members say the same about our organization now.

Miss. Asakura As an executive, I find it rewarding to see the members enjoying the activities. Of course, there are many challenges in running an event. Even in such situations, TEDxICU members understand what their strengths are and work in areas where they can play an active role. That is why each and every one of them is so sparkling, and when I see them, I feel glad that TEDxICU was founded.I hope that TEDxICU has become a place like home for many people. On the other hand, when the overall spirit is down , or when I see members struggling with their own standings, I feel uneasy.

Miss. Yamazaki I felt relieved and rewarded at the same time when I saw the post-event questionnaires from the audience, in the sense that the audience had recognized what we had been steadily preparing over many months. The big rewards were about the events, but I was feeling the small rewards every day. I think it was thanks to the warm and friendly TEDxICU members who were always appreciative of even the smallest things.

________ Does the message mean a wide range here? Also, what message do you prefer that you help them disseminate through TED’s activism?

Miss. Kojima I hope that there is a place where the speakers can share their personal stories and what they have learned through those stories. In terms of a message, I think it can be broadly defined as what individuals want to convey through their own words. Rather than having to be involved in one area, such as “social issues” for example,  it is important that the message is the one that speakers sincerely want to convey to others. It is also important that with preparation and commitment, the story is delivered in a way that feels familiar, like a setback or life story that everyone has experienced, rather than a sparkling success story. I think that is closer to my personal vision of what TEDxICU should be.

Q9. What have you learned or realized through your activities?

Miss. Kojima  The first is that “nothing is impossible.” Although I have faced many tough difficulties and problems before, I have never challenged something as reckless and uncertain as making TEDxICU a success as an executive. However, before I knew it, my goal of making TEDxICU a success became a goal for other TEDxICU members, the speakers, the sponsors who helped us, and the school staff.

The Second is that  “Everyone has their own story.” There are so many people around us who have great ideas, opinions, and stories to tell. The stories and messages of the speakers at TEDxICU are so powerful that it’s hard to imagine anyone else’s. Those stories and messages are something that I would have never known about in my lifetime without TEDxICU. I believe there are still stories and ideas that have not been shared with many ICU students, and I hope to be exposed to them as many as I can during the rest of my student life.

   ______ Was there anything you tried to unite as a team?

Miss. Kojima although we restarted the project, I was worried that my desire to do so was just my own personal goal, and that there was a gap in motivation between me and the other members. I tried to motivate the members by taking notes of meetings, using slack or other means of communication outside of meetings, and creating opportunities to interact with each other. Even though face-to-face meetings were limited, I think this was the approach I took to unite as a team.

Miss. Asakura While negotiating with various people as an executive at TEDxICU, I realized that I am supported by so many people. I also learned that if there is something we want to achieve, there are always people who will support us. That is why I want to tell ICU students that if you have a dream that you want to achieve, challenge yourself, and people around you will surely support you.

Miss. Yamazaki This may not be an answer that has much to do with TEDxICU, but as an executive negotiating in various ways to make TEDxICU a success, I had the opportunity to get involved with various organizations and departments at ICU. I realized for the first time that our student life is really supported in various ways by many people behind the scenes. At the same time, the “ICU-ness” I had felt until now was actually one-sided.

I would like you to come into contact with people from various sectors within ICU and learn about various aspects of ICU that you cannot see just by interacting with students and professors.

Q10. What is your message towards society?

Miss. Kojima I don’t want to appeal to society as a member of TEDxICU because TEDxICU is not an organization that works on social issues. Our purpose is to provide a place rather than us conveying or sending something. Though if I were  to say, I would say that everyone has a great story… I also have it, of course my friends, and the people I often see in classes that I don’t know the names. We may have prejudices or make assumptions on people who aren’t close to us because we don’t know the person in detail. However, when I think that the person has various experiences and is now there, I feel that the way I treat others and have relationships with others has changed. I had come to believe  with this idea because the speakers at TEDxICU told their stories frankly.

Miss. Asakura The activities of TEDxICU do not stay within ICU. The purpose of TEDx is to revitalize the community. The speakers are not limited to those on campus, and TEDxICU are also sponsored by companies outside the university. Some of the participants are from other universities, while others live in Mitaka. Because it is an organization forthe entire community, we would like to spread various ideas through TEDxICU, and not keep them inside.

Miss. Yamazaki I’ve always thought that I don’t have experiences to talk about, and I can’t find value in myself unless I achieve something.” However, in being involved with TEDxICU, I noticed that what impresses people is not what the person experienced, but how he or she has felt through the experience with what kind of thinking process. 

Individuals and society tend to seek quantifiable grades and good-sounding positions, but I want to keep on reminding that the true value is in a more intrinsic part.

Q11. Please tell us your plans next and what you would like to challenge yourself!

Miss. Kojima It is simple, but I hope to continue TEDxICU community that started with my “want to do.” Although I will no longer be an executive, I would like to work actively to keep TEDxICU an attractive community for many people. I can’t imagine what it will look like, but I would like to convey what I learned at TEDxICU to many people.

Miss. Yamazaki I have already retired from TEDxICU in March. I decided to retire even though I had a desire to continue, so I would like to carry out activities that I don’t feel regret about making that choice.

 ___Is there anything you would like to try differently from last year as TEDxICU?

Miss. Kojima There are many undecided parts, but we would like to hold a mini-event apart from the regular event of TEDxICU. In the regular event, the speakers play a leading role and send out some messages in their own words. However, from a different perspective, the participants are rather passive. Therefore, we have a common vision that mini-events, where not only the speakers but also the participants can share their ideas and opinions, are absolutely necessary to bring  TEDxICU to the next level. 

Miss. Asakura Of course, we want to hold mini-events, but I would also like to aim for face-to-face events as well. Under normal circumstances, there are on-stage and off-stage. On-stage is basically a place where speakers give speeches, and off-stage is a place where speakers and participants can easily interact with each other. This time the event was held online, so the off-stage was in the form of a dialogue session, and we were separated into breakout rooms to create opportunities for interaction. When we conducted events online, the part of the dialogue was inevitably limited.  By changing it to face-to-face, we can create a two-way communication rather than a one-sided one. And we want to make an active place where participants can easily talk with speakers and other participants.






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