First ever TEDx talk in a refugee camp to hold in Kakuma Camp, Kenya

On June 9, Kakuma Refugee Camp will host the first-ever TEDx event at a refugee camp. Kakuma Camp lies in the heart of Turkana County, in northwestern Kenya, and was established in 1992 to serve Sudanese refugees. It has expanded ever since to take in people fleeing war from across Africa, hosting around 185 000 refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, the DRC, Eritrea, Uganda and Rwanda.

TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. It began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics – from science to business to global issues – in more than 100 languages. Local teams organise events modeled on the TED format (short talks focused on groundbreaking ideas) and are termed TEDx. There are currently thousands of TEDx events every year across the world. 

#TEDxKakumaCamp will offer a different lens into the reality of life as a refugee – away from the images of devastation and suffering – with stories that uplift and inspire, not just the communities that host them, but the entire world. Curated by Melissa Fleming and Dana Hughes with support from UNHCR and volunteer teams, TEDxKakumaCamp will be the first TEDx event hosted in a refugee camp, with refugees, and also for refugees.

Kakenya Ntaiya giving a talk at TEDxMidAtlantic.

Speakers will include current and former Kakuma Camp refugees as well as international experts and artists who wish to transform how we respond to people forced to flee their homes. Some of the international speakers that will be present include Somali-American model Halima Aden, South Sudanese athlete Pur Biel, South African actress Nomzamo Mbatha, South Sudanese Teacher Mary Nyiriak Maker, and Congolese filmmaker Hortence Aminah Rwimo.

TEDxKakumaCamp will take place under a tent at a school in the camp, with an audience of refugees as well as a number of high-profile guests from Nairobi and beyond. It will also be livestreamed on large screens at Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps, and will be available to watch online.