TEDxFoggyBottom 2017

In December, the TEDxFoggyBottom team announced that our sixth-annual conference will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2017. There is more though. Today, we are excited to officially reveal our 2017 theme.


TEDxFoggyBottom presents: In Metamorphosis.

Each year, our theme drives the ideas our speakers share, just as much as it sparks the conversations our audience has. In fact, our theme is a small, but crucial aspect of our work that will touch almost everything you and the rest of our community sees on the day of our event.

In Metamorphosis is the product of many days and nights of thoughtful contemplation, discussion and reflection with this in mind. Hear what our E-Board members have to say about how we chose this year's theme and purchase your tickets today:


AMANDA MENAS | Co-Curator  
I knew our theme would be In Metamorphosis when I got the call from our Creative Director, Pasha Vafaee, frantically telling me to write this down. I was at home, in San Diego, doing something with a friend, but, of course, dropped everything for a TEDx call. He rambled for a bit, but the phrase that I think about every time our theme comes up is this: we have made it past presenting cool things worth spreading and, in our sixth year of working at this, we will finally be able to share Ideas Worth Spreading. It took some time to finalize with every E-Board member, but as each of us got that goofy smile, I knew this would be an amazing year.


IAN TANG | Co-Curator
Over the past six years, TEDxFoggyBottom has become our community's space to share, discuss and engage in groundbreaking ideas that impact and improve our world. This is one of the reasons why many of our events in the past have been driven by a forward-thinking theme, from Be Rebellious to Think Next. As our team started planning for the 2017 event, we thought about the many changes that our world was and is currently undergoing, transformations of different magnitudes with different implications at different speeds. As we developed our theme, we wanted to keep the forward-thinking nature of our organization, while also highlighting the process of actual changes and the many effects that can be brought about. In Metamorphosis empowers our speakers and our community to explore the changes that are happening right now, right around us, and critically think and debate about what this means for us as individuals, as a community, and as a society.


ALEXIS LAZARUS | Experience Director
To me, our theme, In Metamorphosis, is, indicative of the crucial transition point we are in at this point in our world. What most captivated my imagination is the global context I see in this theme. Oftentimes, change comes because it is thrust upon us in a way that we cannot control. Because of these forced and, at times, unforeseeable changes, we have to be open and allow change to come into our lives and influence us, both as people and as communities. I connect our theme to the greater influence of the mission of our organization: share ideas that can change their peoples' perspectives or open them up to something they have never considered before.


ADAM LURIE | Strategy Director 
In Metamorphosis seemed right to me because of the current state of our world. We are being forced to look at the building blocks of who we are, as individuals and as a society, to determine what we become. I like the theme because it suggests a very present moment, as opposed to something that has happened or something that will happen.


MATT NOEL | Community Director
In our discussions among the E-Board, the idea of In Metamorphosis resonated with me because it organically summons to mind the non-permanent, fluid, and variable issues and experiences that we take on every day. To me, the theme captures the essence of change — that it can be good and bad — both capable of a future, while still drawing upon the past.


GRACE PERKS | Content Director
When we initially began discussing our 2017 theme, we all agreed on shifting our perspectives from looking to the future towards looking at the present. We wanted to highlight changes happening now within ourselves, in our communities and relationships, and on a global scale. This process of change can be more than just positive or negative and can even be unexpected or unwelcome. However, the importance is in what we do, individually and collectively, to respond to it. We chose In Metamorphosis because it captures these ideas, while also leaving room for our attendees to find their own meaning and explore how the theme relates to them. Once we determined that the theme would lead to powerful, thought-provoking speakers, original and imaginative design, and much-needed conversation about pressing topics in our society, we knew In Metamorphosis was exactly what we wanted for TEDxFoggyBottom 2017.


JOSHUA SAWYER | Operations Director
What really struck me about In Metamorphosis is that it concentrates on what is happening now. Our theme last year, Think Next, was heavily future-centric. Obviously, what is happening in the future is cool, exciting and shiny. Despite the glamour of the future, and how tempting it is to solely look forward, what is happening right now — the changes that are taking place — are just as important and, in most cases, also pretty cool! We wanted to take our conference this year in a new direction we have never explored, shifting our focus to the present in a way that also empowers our audience to look forwards and backwards to understand how we got here and where we are going. 


PASHA VAFAEE | Creative Director
I can vividly remember the first conversation we had about our 2017 theme. Grace, Josh, Ian, and I were sitting outside on a night in May. The air was warm, but had not yet reached that point-of-no-return with the humidity that would lock us indoors with the air conditioning on blast. For some context, I enjoy the work of Franz Kafka, specifically his short story, “The Metamorphosis.” I love the connotations and implications of the word, bringing to mind a stark, often natural or forced change, but, more specifically, the process that allows a phenomenon to shift from one to another. I brought up the idea of “metamorphosis” as a potential theme title. We discussed it for a long time, only moving after a while to get milkshakes, but Ian was quick to voice his concerns. He said that it felt passive, as in it did not seem direct or strong enough to represent our organization. This sparked about two months of, let’s call it, spirited discourse. Amongst all of our ideas, this was the most divisive. Every E-Board member gave beautiful personal definitions of “metamorphosis” over the following two months and helped flesh it out to the point that it was almost ready, but Ian still had his reservations. I am glad he did, because in one very long Google Hangouts call with the whole E-Board on July 10th, 2016, “in metamorphosis” was born. We aimed to impart ideas about the changes our present world is currently experiencing, and this was perfect.


Our world today is changing more quickly and in more ways than ever before. This is why we are working hard to curate our best event yet, a full-day conference with 20 speakers, 1500+ attendees and interactive exhibits that will truly empower you to meaningfully engage with these changes all around you. We invite and look forward to welcoming you to Lisner Auditorium on April 22, 2017.

Thank you for taking this journey with us this year — we are just getting started.