imageTED Conferences are a big deal. To be a TED speaker is a significant honor (and guarantees  YouTube fame forever and ever).

One of TED’s mottos is “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world”

UPDATE: Be sure to read the comment by John Klotz.

Lizzy Davies in Rome for The Guardian reports that TED comes to the Vatican with Gloria Estefan as speaker:

The raison d’être of the glamorous and globally renowned TED conferences is the dissemination of "ideas worth spreading" – and, if there’s any organisation that thinks it has one of those, it’s the Vatican.

Next week, in a somewhat unusual pairing of the Catholic church and California trend-setting, the two will come together for a Vatican-sponsored day-long series of talks in Rome. Among the speakers are an Italian cardinal, a Serbian basketball star, a Muslim graffiti artist from Birmingham and the Cuban-born American singer Gloria Estefan.

"We wanted to listen to stories from every walk of life," said Giovanna Abbiati, who, along with a group of lay academics at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, a pontifical university, came up with the idea of holding a TEDx event with the backing of the Vatican.

Rather than focusing on Catholicism, the day’s theme is religious freedom, and its promotion of inter-faith dialogue appears to chime with the thinking of the new pope.

which includes these two paragraphs . . .

clip_image001The host of the TEDx event next Friday will be Gianfranco Ravasi (pictured, front-most), the Lombardy-born cardinal who heads the pontifical council for culture and was hailed by one Vatican observer as arguably "the most interesting man in the Catholic church" after he launched an initiative to forge links and prompt dialogue with non-believers known as the Courtyard of the Gentiles.

He is scheduled to be joined on stage by 17 other speakers, including Daniel Libeskind, the architect and designer among whose works is the Jewish Museum in Berlin; Brother Guy Consolmagno, a planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory; and Barrie Schwortz, who was raised as an Orthodox Jew and is an expert on the Turin Shroud. (emphasis mine)

BTW: it is called a TEDx event if it is independently organized as this one is. See TED’s website for more information. Just last month there were over 400 TEDx conferences in 76 different countries.

One of TED’s mottos is “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world”