Hendrix College is hoping to facilitate a community discussion of "ideas worth spreading" when it hosts the fourth annual TEDxHendrixCollege conference next Sunday.

TEDxHendrixCollege is an independently organized event, licensed by TED or Technology, Entertainment, Design, a global set of conferences owned by private non-profit Sapling Foundation that brings together world innovators to give an 18 minute talk.

Past national TED talks and performances have included Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

The student organizers are hoping to bring together academics, activists and other thought leaders, from around the world as well as right here in Central Arkansas, who are looking to make a change in their community.

The year’s TEDxHendrixCollege will be centered on the theme of power, and will explore how individuals and societies can do good work in changing times.

Allison Tschiemer, senior history major and TEDx organizer, said the TEDx group chose the theme of power because it can mean so many different things for people of various backgrounds.

"Power can be achieved through money, technology, education, military, democracy, leadership or, in vain of the TED mantra, power can be simply attained through ‘ideas worth spreading,’" she said.

The goal of TEDx events is to find talented and inspiring speakers who are effecting change within the local community, and with this purpose the students went out and approached several people around the region who they believed were impacting change and enacting empowerment within the community, Tschiemer said.

One way power can be understood is through empowering a community of coffee growers in Rwanda through an ethical and moral commitment to work with the people to create ideal, sustainable environments for coffee growing, Tschiemer said, as one of the TEDxHendrixCollege speakers, Todd Brogdon, CEO, enacts at Little Rock’s Westrock Coffee.

Leala Rosen, senior sociology and anthropology major and TEDx organizer of the TEDxHendrixCollegeWomen event in December said power is a unique and innovative theme that will inspire the audience and it gave the group the freedom to showcase speakers who come from very different fields and backgrounds.

"I’m studying sociology and a lot of that focuses on inequality, which transcends to other themes of power: dependency versus autonomy, the military or violence, unequal access to resources, etc.," she said. "Power implies imbalance of some kind, but in can be positive or negative."

Most of the speakers are from the central Arkansas community, but there is also a former Israeli defense forces soldier Hen Mazig, who now lives in Seattle, Mark Gilman, a public librarian and community activist promoting a ‘new social reality,’ who lives in Dallas, but has traveled across the world and is a parent of Hendrix student Catherine Gilman, a senior sociology and anthropology major who does public relations for TEDxHendrixCollege.

Two Hendrix College students will also be speaking for the first time this year, Sami Kennedy who is originally from New Jersey and Jackie Nyamutumbu from Zimbabwe.

"This was the inaugural year of student speaker competition, and it was an overwhelming success as all the students gave such incredible and inspiring talks," Tschiemer said. "It’s amazing how inspirational and poignant a short five minute talk can be."

The two were chosen after participating in a student speaker contest in January. Nyamutumbu will be speaking about the power of asking questions, and Kennedy is an aspiring physician who advocates for improving care for chronic illnesses.

Working through the Hendrix alumni office, the group discovered Stacy Sells of Little Rock’s public relations agency Cranford, Johnson, Robinson, Woods, who is a public relations consultant and educator advocating for empowerment through civic engagement.

Little Rock’s Barb Allen, conflict resolution specialist and academic researcher for Transformation Consulting Group, will be speaking on "moral leadership."

"Power comes in all shapes and forms and the goal of TEDxHendrixCollege is to empower the participants into asking their own thought-provoking questions and engage with new ideas in their personal lives and within their community," Tschiemer said.

TEDxHendrixCollege will be held Feb. 23 from 1-4 p.m. in Worsham Performance Hall on the Hendrix College campus. Participation is free and open to all, but registration will be capped at 100 participants. Register at: www.TEDxHendrixCollege.com.

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at michelle.corbet@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)