Today’s Daily Deac is a guest post from Matthew Cheng (’20) Marketing Director for TEDxWakeForestU


What have you had to re-envision in order to lead a different life? What ideas worth spreading have you generated in the process?

These are the essential questions of TEDxWakeForestU 2020: ReVision. TEDxWakeForestU is an independently organized TED event that will be held on Saturday, February 22nd from 12:30-4:20 pm in Wait Chapel.  General public tickets are $10; Wake Forest University students, faculty and staff may attend at no charge, but must register online.

The TEDx program allows individuals to organize community events which advance TED’s mission of providing the public with “ideas worth spreading”—powerful conversations that spark lively debate and help produce innovative solutions to some of life’s most begging questions. ReVision poses the opportunity for our speakers to reflect on their past decisions and how they have impacted their future.

Executive Producer Emma Beveridge remarked that, “When we began planning over the summer, we wanted to conceptualize a theme that embodies freshness, creativity, and of course, innovation. 2020 is a huge year for re-envisioning across many latitudes, so the theme of ReVision situates our event within an evolving global narrative.” TEDxWakeForestU provides us an opportunity to start the decade full of fresh ideas and positivity.

Olivia Andreini, Executive Director and Head Curator on ReVision commented that, “ReVision is about understanding what makes ideas happen, and how experts in 8 entirely separate fields and themes and topics are shifting perspectives and reinventing the future.” This year, there has been a special emphasis on finding an extremely diverse group of speakers to provide the most holistic experience for listeners.   10 impressive speakers will deliver 18-minute TEDx talks on February 22nd from 12:30-4:20 pm on the Topic of Revision, in the broadest sense of the word.

Here are quick summaries for some of our confirmed speakers: (More detailed biographies can be found on our website.)

Katie Koestner: Ms. Katie Koestner is an internationally recognized author, activist, and educator around technology, safety and healthy relationships.  She has appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine, The Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC Nightly News, CNBC Talk Live, CNN, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Later Today, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight and other national television programs.  In 2011, Ms. Koestner’s Foundation, Take Back The Night, was chosen by the TV Show, The Good Wife, as their charity of choice for their Celebrity Golf Tournament.

Isra Hirsi: Ms. Isra Hirsi is a high school student from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a climate and racial justice advocate who is the Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the US Youth Climate Strike. She led the organization of hundreds of strikes across the country on March 15th and May 3rd. Hirsi started her climate activism her freshman year of high school by joining her schools environmental club. Driven by her identity as a Black Muslim woman in this work, Hirsi has been a longtime advocate for intersectionality and diversity within the climate justice movement as well as in her daily life.

Nathan Atkinson: Mr. Nathan Atkinson serves as Director of Business Development for Village Juice Company, a local food and beverage company expanding its restaurant locations across the country and onto university campuses. He is the president of H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing local food insecurity and eradicating childhood hunger.  He has served for 16 years on the Forsyth County Office of Environmental Assistance and Protection Board of Directors, as well as other nonprofit organizations focused on community health and sustainable food production.

Diya Abdo: Dr. Diya Abdo is Associate Professor of English at Guilford College and the Director of the Center for New North Carolinians at UNCG in Greensboro, North Carolina.  A second-generation Palestinian refugee, Dr. Abdo’s teaching, research, and scholarship focus on Arab women writers and Arab and Islamic feminisms. In 2015, Dr. Abdo founded the Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR) initiative which advocates for housing refugee families on college and university campus grounds and assisting them in resettlement.

Khalil Rafati: Mr. Khalil Rafati is a speaker, author, and health-and-wellness entrepreneur. Today, he is the owner of Malibu Beach Yoga and SunLife Organics, a rapidly growing chain of popular juice and smoothie bars, as well as the founder of Riviera Recovery, which is a transitional living facility for drug addicts and alcoholics. Khalil found his calling for health in the form of superfoods and wellbeing after his journey to climb out of the grips of heroin and cocaine addiction and onward into a new, healthier, and more lively lifestyle.

Stay tuned into our social media accounts for the next speaker reveals! Follow us @tedxwakeforestu on Instagram and Twitter.

We hope you will encourage your students to attend TEDxWakeForestU – and we would love to see as many parents and families there as possible!


EDITED TO ADD: Late today, students, faculty, and staff received an email with information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Read it here.


— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)

Categories: the daily deac