Emmanuel Leslie Addae, the man behind TEDxAccra comes to limelight, as he tells his story


Starting on a small scale as TEDxLabone, the TEDxAccra brand is gradually gaining ground and growing bigger. This has taken hard work of me the organising team members and volunteers; as well as our capable and intriguing speakers and sponsors. And to this, we give God the glory and honour for bringing us thus far. I can therefore boldly state that, organising TEDx events in my community has been the most satisfying job I have ever done in life for God and Country. I am also glad to share my inspiration for taking this step.

Firstly, I host TEDx events out of citizenship responsibility. As we all know, the past year witnessed the tremendous changes and challenges Ghana has been experiencing till now, particularly in the field of energy and education. As one of the important cities located in Africa, most of its attention has rather been on infrastructure to develop the economy, and at the detriment of the energy and education challenges. I have lived in Ghana all my life and I really understand how the system works and how we have grown as a country. Thinking about the future of our country and its citizens which I am part, I organised TEDxLabone in 2014 with the core aim for creating spaces for hope and possibilities for the future leaders of our country.

I believe that through hosting TEDx events in my communities, two original purposes are achieved. One is to help empower and keep the local historical culture of the people who live in Labone (not only the locals but also everyone who lives there), and the other reason is to bring in worthy ideas from the rest of Ghana and as well as the global community to enhance the local culture. Further, the local culture and the new thoughts from other areas are then merged to breed new thoughts, which lead to more actions taken to build a better city and a better future for Ghana. Personally, my dream and desire was to organize TEDxAccra to have more locals benefit from these ideas worth spreading. I keep thinking about what values are necessary for the next generation. I have seen that in recent times people are more money-oriented. With such a mind-set, I ask myself what I together with my team can do for the people around me, for the younger generation and the following generations; in order to keep their lives more balanced. Thus, we created TEDxAccra2015 in other to spread, inspire and build a thinking society.

Secondly, I believe this is the time we start thinking about the future of our country. Over the years, we have seen our country facing a lot of problems which we could have solved by now. I have often wondered the sources of these problems and how we can deal with them as Ghanaians.  I became interested in the TED talks, my most pressing questions about changing cultural ideas, they helped me to answer. I think the worthy ideas can come from any one and any country in the world with the same purpose: for a better community in a better future. I believe in people’s creativity and the changes it can bring. My country, with its 58-year history, is going through the “must-be” process of industrialization and westernization. I think we can learn from what other developed countries and developing countries have gone through and balance the old values and new ideas in a better way.

Thirdly, after hosting two TEDx events in Accra and inviting more than 60 speakers, I do believe in my mission more, I believe that people of all ages tend to be self-centered because of the social environment and their own boundaries; and I think I can help change those tendencies. One way would be to encourage people to read literary works from different countries, as all the thoughts and ideas behind the literature may help people develop tolerance after they known how large the world is and how innovative people can be. People act very different towards many common issues and problems, and after we study their choices, we would have more understanding of human beings and the world round us.

Through working with my team members and making friends with people from various backgrounds, we are pushing down the walls between two areas, two minds and even two hearts. That is my understanding of the sharing spirit of TED talks. We can do more! TED and TEDx have been a fun experience, and I have developed new thoughts on how to build a better team, to engage more wonderful people with their fantastic ideas here in Accra and over 10 representatives in diaspora and further spread these ideas to other part of Ghana.

In conclusion, my belief that everyone has an inner drive to share, everyone has a wish to change the world, and  of which I know we can make a better, gave me reasons for hosting TEDx events. I am on the way to further introduce and instil TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design)  to my community and to spread the TEDxAccra ideas globally. I want the Western world to know that Ghanaian ideas are worth spreading.

Join us on the next train – TEDxAccra 2016 dubbed ‘Re-think’.

Source: TEDxAccra