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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

If Wishes Were Horses...

I love magazines! But, being a full-time RVer that uses a mail forwarding service I never subscribe and rarely do I buy an issue at the store. I do, however, rejoice when I stay at a park that has a book and magazine exchange. The better the exchange the higher the park rates in my mind. The other day I found a March 2008 O Magazine in the exchange basket. I brought it home and as I paged through, a photo of Bono caught my eye. Upon further investigation I discovered the article was about a group called TED and it blew me away.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. They are big into ideas. Big ideas. Each year they hold a conference - by invitation only - where "the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes)," according to the TED website. (You can see video of these talks on their site.)

Very interesting but that's not what encouraged me to read on. Instead, it was the TED Prize - given to three individuals annually. The goal is to take all that amazing inspiration and the vast resources of the attendees to grant the winners a "wish". (Winners also receive $100,000 - pocket change for that group - the wish is where it's at.) Past and current winners include Bono, President Bill Clinton and Dave Eggers. And this is no simple or self serving wish. Their wishes are "big enough to save the world".

For example,

Larry Brilliant, a 2006 TED Prize winner's wish:

I wish that you would help build a global system to detect each new disease or disaster as quickly as it emerges or occurs.

2007 winner E.O. Wilson's wish:

I wish that we will work together to help create the key tool that we need to inspire preservation of Earth's biodiversity: the Encyclopedia of Life.

Karen Armstrong, a former nun and 2008 TED Prize winner wishes for The Charter for Compassion:

I wish that you would help with the creation, launch and propagation of a Charter for Compassion, crafted by a group of leading inspirational thinkers from the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.

See, I told you they weren't your garden-variety wishes.

The winners are told of their prize quite a bit in advance of the conference and work hard to craft their "wish presentation". During the presentation they tell the audience what is needed to grant their wish. Afterwards, the networking and pledging begins amongst conference goers. TED tells us that "these wishes have led to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact."

Well, that got me thinking, what would my wish "big enough to save the world" be? I decided that since my overseas travel was limited but my domestic travel was vast I'd concentrate on the US. I've continued to think long and hard about this wish and the options are so many that it boggles the mind. I'm still mulling it over...and over...and over.

What about you? What would your big wish be? Leave a comment if you are so inclined.

And by the way, did you automatically finish this blog entry's headline - then beggars would ride, right? TED is certainly an organization where action follows wishes...an amazing concept, don't you agree??

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PS - Please click on the links in the story. Chances are you'll be as captivated as I am...

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