TEDxUCCI 2016: A Leap into the Future


On Saturday, March 19th, UCCI’s second live TEDx event took place here in the Cayman Islands.  Over 200 attendees inclusive of teachers, students and parents gathered at Sir Vassel Johnson Hall for a day of ‘ideas worth sharing’ relating to the future.

“We were thrilled to have such a wonderful turnout. We doubled our expectations for audience size and tripled last year’s attendance,” said Dr. JD Mosley-Matchett, event curator.

Several speakers tackled the importance of conservation and sustainable development. In his talk, Nashville-based software developer, Micah Redding, underscored that we all live in a ‘developing world’. The concept of first world nations having reached the end of history and all they have to do is wait for the rest of the world to catch up is a disastrous idea. As such, everyone needs to look at new and transformative ways of living, as individuals and societies.


James Whittaker, Founder and CEO of GreenTech, issued a challenge for Cayman and others in the region to radically change the way we utilise and produce energy. This was echoed by Nick Robson who said that proper planning today can ensure economic and social sustainability over the next four decades.   UCCI alumna and CITA Project Manager Stacie Sybersma stressed the importance of studying the ocean’s potential as an energy resource and unlocking its many secrets to find answers for diseases such as cancer.

Nutritionist Tamer Soliman made the audience realise how a much-overlooked treasure in Cayman can transform the health and well-being of people in the community. Tricia Sybersma introduced ‘Orbits’, a way to increase our ‘happy’ and navigate ourselves in a complicated world whilst connecting with others and our environment.

Creative professional, Pascal Pernix, showed how someone who grew up with no TV can achieve success in the arts and media. Missouri Professor, Bill Schonberg’s idea of a new curriculum placing importance on collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity will help students become more successful in the future. He also stressed that everyone needs to be technically literate in order to compete in the world of tomorrow.

The UCCI Performing Arts students delivered monologues voicing their opinions about tolerance and acceptance. They ended their presentation with an original composition entitled, ‘Who I Am’.


The attendees shared their stories and opinions in StoryCorps interviews conducted by the Cayman Islands Information Professionals (CIIP). They were also engaged in making giant Xs by blowing up balloons. ” I think it was the balloon activity that really did it for me,” said Dr. Mosley-Matchett. “Having spent months in planning, preparations, and rehearsals, the only surprise left for me was whether people would really wrestle with 5-foot long balloons to demonstrate their support for the event.”


TEDx events require a LOT of the presenters, attendees, volunteers and sponsors. It was no different for TEDxUCCI. “We thank all of the volunteers both from UCCI and the broader community  who gave so much time and effort in the planning and execution of this successful event. In addition, none of this would have been possible without the generous support of our many donors, most especially our PhD sponsor, the Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports,” Dr. Mosley-Matchett said.


View our photo gallery on Flickr. Videos will be up on YouTube in the coming days.

TEDxUCCI Youth 2015 was a BLAST!

TEDxYouth Collage

A big shout-out to all who helped make TEDxUCCI Youth 2015 an amazing success on November 14. The event was targeted at 13 to 18 year olds as a simulcast of the TEDYouth event taking place in New York City at the same time, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. The theme of the event was “Made in the Future” and the focus was for young people to think about the world in 2035 and to recognize their potential as the foundation for our future reality.

To be honest, organizing the event was a challenge for several reasons:
We had no control over the date or time because it was a simulcast.
It was the first Saturday of Pirates Week. (Need we say more??)
The Internet connection didn’t always cooperate, leaving several “Oh-no” moments that our techie gurus (led by Marvelous Mr. Marlon) skillfully managed.

The organizers kept the agenda a secret…even from us. So, it became impossible for the TEDxUCCI team to slot in local presentations to “Cayman-ize” the event.

Fortunately, the inspiration and dedication of our TEDxUCCI team members overcame those issues and the result was a set of glowing reviews. 100% of the attendees indicated a desire to return for the next TEDxUCCI event.

On a scale of 1 (Very Poor) to 5 (Excellent) the event scored:

  • 4.67 for “Variety of Talks”
  • 4.65 for “Quality of Talks”
  • 4.24 for “Discussion Opportunities”
  • 4.59 for “Overall Event”
  • 4.22 for “Variety of Refreshments” and 4.35 for “Quality of Refreshments”
  • 4.29 for “Day of Week (Saturday)”
  • 4.12 for “Overall Length of Event”

Two talks that centered on 3D printing were the repeated favorites of the attendees. The first 3D printing topic dealt with wearable fashions being constructed using new printable materials that aren’t stiff and scratchy like typical 3D plastics. The fashion designs were created by an Israeli college student who had never before used a 3D printer, but who soon became a trailblazer in haute couture. She now even 3D prints shoes to go with the outfits she creates and she freely makes all of the patterns available to anyone using a 3D printer in their own home.

The second 3D printer talk also showed how a novice to 3D printing managed to create a low-cost functioning prosthetic arm for a young man in a war-torn Sudanese village who had both arms blown off in a terror attack while he was tending his sheep in an open field. Even better, the 3D printing technology was taught to other villagers so that more people could receive low-cost prosthetics, thereby multiplying the beneficial impact of this new technology.

Another 17-year-old inventor has patented a new way to circulate fresh air on airplanes that reduces the transmission of germs from one passenger to another by up to 190%. Considering the high risk of disease transmission due to our heavy use of air travel, this young man’s invention could actually curtail the global spread of future potential pandemics.

Other topics included Imagineering at Disney, becoming an aeronautical engineer, Sesame Street puppeteering, the future of surgery, the global use of “food computers,” and how microbes affect our emotions.
Although this TEDxUCCI event was targeted at high schoolers and our youngest college students, the next TEDxUCCI on March 19, 2016 will bear the theme of “FutureVision”! This theme not only dovetails nicely with the Youth event, but because it will feature local speakers and presenters, it will be a consideration of how Cayman and the world will change and what the future holds for all of us in the next 20 years.

This will be UCCI’s biggest TEDx event ever, with an open invitation to the entire UCCI community and the broader Caymanian population. By then, UCCI’s TEDx license will be freed from its current audience cap of 100 and we anticipate filling the Sir Vassel Johnson Hall to the rafters with people enjoying thought-provoking food for thought…and real food, too!! So, be certain to save the date.

Special thanks to our current TEDxUCCI sponsors: The Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports (our first PhD-level sponsor); Foster’s Food Fair (sponsoring for the second year in a row); and (of course) UCCI through the auspices of President Roy Bodden’s office. Our super faculty and staff members who worked tirelessly to make this event happen include Kristel Sanchez (Communications Team), Antoinette Gayle (Programme and Event Teams), Erica Gordon (Event Team), Allison Anglin (Production Team), Terese Parker (Sponsorship Team), Kim Appleton (Communications Team), and Marlon Bryan who is our resident technical wizard. Of course, we can’t forget about our awesome UCCI students who have worked equally hard behind the scenes.

Anyone who wishes to join the TEDxUCCI team is very welcomed to contact Dr. JD by emailing tedxUCCI@ucci.edu.ky…after all, many hands make light work!
We are also seeking speakers and presenters for the March event. If you know of anyone (including yourself) who has something exciting to say about the ways in which the future will unfold in Cayman and the rest of the world, go to the application page for speakers and presenters on our event website or contact Dr. JD for more details.

Talks can last no longer than 18 minutes and will be recorded for world-wide consumption. Many TEDx talks are also selected by TED to be featured on the main website at http://www.TED.com, so this is a real chance to have a direct impact on people around the globe.

Thank You / Throwback Thursday!

So it’s been almost a month since TEDxUCCI. We’ve posted our photos on Flickr and are just waiting on TED to approve our videos and publish them publicly. If we’re lucky, the whole world will be able to view the talks on YouTube this weekend. Yay!


It’s so hard to contain the excitement of finally showing TEDxUCCI’s talks to the world. Uploading the videos was like being transported back to the day of the event. The ideas are still interesting, the jokes are just as funny and the messages very much inspiring. Of course, nothing beats being there in person, so make sure you stay tuned for the upcoming TEDx events late this year and early 2016 (yes, we have begun making plans!).


To those of you who supported TEDxUCCI in any way, we express our utmost gratitude. We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of our sponsors who made this event possible: The University College of the Cayman Islands, Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, DQ, PD’s Sports Bar and Grill, Universal Air Conditioning, Casa de Soto, Business Solutions Technologies Group Ltd and Foster’s Food Fair-IGA.

Thanks to the faculty, staff, students and friends of UCCI for their tireless efforts to ensure the success of the event. We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to our speakers and performers for the many voluntary hours that went into preparing and rehearsing. And finally, thanks to our attendees for their enthusiastic involvement in TEDxUCCI (and the top marks they gave the event and the planning team–hooray!).

See you again next time! In the meantime, keep the conversations going on Facebook, Twitter and this blog. 🙂