“Now What?” TedX Hanoi May Provide a Few Answers


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Here’s some information about the latest TedX Hanoi event on 19 January 2019 that will attempt to provide some answers to this very timely question.  

The signs of Vietnam’s amazing progress are all around us. Increased growth from Vietnamese companies, and increased investment from international firms, lead to better jobs and rising incomes. With a new high-rise on seemingly every corner, more and more families can afford high-quality housing, and cars to keep their loved ones safe. Increasing numbers of students are studying overseas, while private schools and local universities are rapidly innovating to keep up with this demand. Rising incomes and improved education have unleashed a burst of creative energy, evidenced in the cool  cafés, quirky restaurants, and innovative start-ups that populate Hanoi.

At the same time, these developments are uneven. The benefits of better housing, private vehicles, and private education are not shared by everyone. Air pollution has steadily worsened, and Hanoi now regularly ranks among the most polluted cities in the world. The lust for growth threatens traditions. A city once defined by its ancient temples, Old Quarter, and 1,000 years of history, now looks in many areas like any other modern Asian metropolis.

As more and more people attain the quality of life that Vietnam has been striving for, let’s take a moment to ask ourselves: Now what? How has Vietnam made this amazing progress? What direction do we need to focus on for the future? And how do we get there?

I’m happy to see this kind of discussion and debate taking place though I do think they could have had more key fields represented among their chosen speakers.  Here is the official answer to this obvious question, “How do you select the speakers for TEDxHanoi?”

The answer is not a simple one. As curators,  we read everything we can find that has to do with new ideas worth sharing, and we hear recommendations from our community. There are so many great choices, women and men with ideas worth spreading and stories worth sharing

Check out the list of speakers here.

Another question is one of follow-up and finding a way to track the short- and long-term results of this conference.  Talk is cheap.  as the saying goes, but it is an important first step.  

A word about access in a country with a nominal 2018 per capita income $2,603 ($7,882, PPP).  Either the ticket cost should be much lower or the sponsor (cash) subsidy much higher. 

As of 15 January, 92.42% of the tickets had been sold.  The early bird rate was 880,000 VND ($38) and the regular ticket cost 1,080,000 VND ($46.56).  That is not a lot of money for people of means but it is for most Vietnamese, including students.  

Here’s the budget breakdown.

  • 100 guest tickets, presumably gratis.
  • 101 early bird * 880,000 = 88,880,000 VND
  • 262 standard = 1,080,000 = 282,960,000 VND

371,840,000 VND/23,193.80 VND = $16,031.87  

16K is pocket change for the event sponsor, a company with a market capitalization of $14.03 billion, as of 16 January 2019.  Speaking of which, a smart PR move by Vingroup via Vinschool The Harmony to host this high profile event.  

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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