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Local TEDx conference is North Dakota's first

FARGO - It should be said from the get-go: North Dakota is not getting its first-ever, full-fledged TED conference, an event known for deep and thoughtful explorations of ideas.

Doug Burgum

FARGO - It should be said from the get-go: North Dakota is not getting its first-ever, full-fledged TED conference, an event known for deep and thoughtful explorations of ideas.

But downtown Fargo will host North Dakota's first TEDx conference tonight, a locally organized event that brings people together for a "TED-like" experience.

Seating is limited to 100 people and tickets sold out well in advance, said Greg Tehven, who helped organize the local conference at Ecce Art + Yoga. The topics to be presented all focus on the broad theme of "thriving," he said.

Tehven said TEDx events are different from traditional panel discussions, but he was careful not to overly define what they're about, except to say, "It's as simple as spreading ideas."

Doug Burgum, Susan Mathison, Carl Peterson and Michael Strand will speak at the Fargo TEDx.


Burgum is a businessman and entrepreneur who heads Kilbourne Group, a company committed to inspiring and supporting the redevelopment of downtown Fargo.

The title of Burgum's talk was not available.

Mathison is the founder of Catalyst Medical Center and a surgeon whose specialties include facial plastic surgery. She will speak on the role of beauty in women.

Peterson is CEO and founder of Peterson Farms Seeds. His talk will focus on how the world will feed 7 billion people.

Strand is an artist who heads the visual arts department at North Dakota State University. His talk is titled "The Space Between Art and Humanity."

Mathison, who along with Tehven was among those who worked to set up the TEDx event in Fargo, said she has long been a fan of the videos on the TED.com website.

Mathison has also attended a TEDMED conference in the past, which is an annual gathering on medicine and health hosted by an independent group that operates under license from the TED nonprofit organization.

"They are so interesting and unusual. You learn about stories you wouldn't necessarily learn about in other settings," Mathison said of TED-related events.


"People are encouraged to be vulnerable and maybe share some personal stories," Mathison added. "I got to hear Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne speak. They had had their genome sequenced."

TEDx events are recorded, and Tehven said organizers expect videos from Fargo will be posted to the TEDx channel on YouTube. One of the videos could also end up on the TED website.

Tehven said there is no guarantee, but he's confident there will be other TEDx events in Fargo.

"It won't be a one-time event," he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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