An exciting movement is challenging the city’s young people to achieve greater personal and professional goals in their lives

Famously, Nelson Mandela said: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it.” And the quote from the great man is at the heart of a new initiative aimed at inspiring, challenging and developing young people to better themselves in their lives and their careers.

Next month, the city’s first-ever TEDxYouth@Brum event will take place at Birmingham Hippodrome. TEDxYouth events happen all year round in schools and local communities and are designed to empower and inspire young people through ‘ideas worth sharing’.

The TEDx movement found its way to Birmingham five years ago. Now it has inspired a group of young volunteers from all over the city to set up a version for young people aged 16 to 25, called TEDxYouth@Brum.


The TEDxYouth@Brum team are from a wide range of backgrounds, interests and disciplines passionate about the issues facing young people today. Their roles vary from production, to visual communications, to outreach, to partnerships and sponsorship. The 25 volunteers are driving the event forwards, finding incredible speakers and performers for the inaugural event at the Hippodrome on 11 October. TEDxYouth@Brum will run an outreach programme with TEDxBrum to visit schools, youth hubs and public spaces to extend the impact of TEDx. The inaugural event will explore the theme of Courage through a curated series of 14 talks and six performances delivered by leaders and civic change-makers. The theme was curated and co-designed in conversation with young people from the team and from across the city.

Guided by Mandela’s famous quote, Courage looks to thousands of young people who are having to ‘find their brave’ to overcome growing uncertainty they face in their futures. Through intellectual but accessible conversations, more than 200 young people aged 16 to 25 will explore ideas to stretch, challenge and inspire.


The curator of TEDxYouth@Brum is a former TEDxBrum host and speaker Anisa Haghdadi, who is also founder of Beatfreeks, the creative youth engagement agency. She says: “I think it’s a testament to Birmingham that we’re able to grow the TEDx platform to tailor an event specifically for young people. It’s never felt so critical to nurture spaces which recognise the fears of young people and give them spaces to cultivate hope.”

The vital importance of developing and inspiring our youth to explore, challenge and realise their ambitions and dreams, both in their personal and working lives, cannot be overstated. Nearly half of Birmingham’s population is made up of young people, the highest proportion of any European city. “Our first event, Courage, looks to expose young people to mind-blowing ideas whether that be in technology, education, the environment or whatever,” said Anisa.


TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to ‘ideas worth spreading’. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available free at TED.com. Speakers have included Bill Gates and Sir Richard Branson.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share video and live speakers to spark deep discussion and connection.

Tickets to attend the Courage event at Birmingham Hippodrome are available from www.tedxyouthbrum.com/tickets