17 Great Ted Talks By and For Youth

By: Abdelrahman Fawzy

  1. Cameron Russell: Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model
    This talk is a great reminder that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Amelia Browne, a student in San Francisco, writes about why it inspired her: “Her story allowed me to further my understanding of the privilege and opportunity I’ve been given by today’s society. I was able to better comprehend how I use those qualities to create change for the generations to come so that there is not inherent privilege, and instead compassion and acceptance.”
  2. Takaharu Tezuka: The best kindergarten you’ve ever seen
    This TEDxKyoto talk is a top pick among TED-Ed Club Members. An Ji Soo, a high school student from China, says that it made her “think about the nature of education and have a critical view of it.”
  3. Drew Dudley: Everyday leadership
    TED-Ed Club Members love this funny talk. San Francisco student Isabella Scal believes in the message Drew Dudley is trying to spread, and says: “Small acts of kindness can change someone’s life, and each person in their own way positively affects the people around them. This talk has made me appreciate my peers and elders so much more because I know that they help(ed) to shape me into the person I was, I am, and I will be. I was so inspired by his talk that I told my friends and family how much I value their presence in my life, and I will continue to cherish their love and support unconditionally.”
  4. Angela Lee Duckworth: Grit: the power of passion and perserverence
    Several students recommend this talk. Koshi Joshi from Georgia says that this talk had a powerful impact on her, by teaching that “learning comes with effort and hard work, and that working hard is the key to success.” Meanwhile, Juwon Pade from Connecticut agrees with ”the idea that hard work and determination make a huge impact.”
  5. Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen
    Julian Treasure’s talk is another top pick by students. High schooler Karol Dobrowolski from Poland says that she took Julian’s advice — and it helped her prepare to give her TED-Ed Club talk.
  6. Susan Cain: The power of introverts
    Argentinian student Rachel Fan describes how Susan’s talk empowered her to start a TED-Ed Club at her school: “Susan Cain’s talk validated my feelings and experiences and empowered me to embrace my introversion, even if our culture does not. With the understanding of introversion from her TED Talk (and from her book, which I had read before seeing the talk), I gained a new way to understand the people around me, and developed an improved attitude about my own personality. Her eloquent, well-organized and confident presentation further proved her point on the power of introverts, and also reminded me not to use introversion as an excuse for not participating in important discussions and events. Furthermore, a part of why I started a TED-Ed Club at my school was because of my strong positive impression of TED Talks from when I watched Cain’s talk in class.”
  7. Casey Neistat: High school stories
    Californian high school student Nathan Cao says that Casey Neistat’s TEDx talk influenced his outlook on life: “Casey Neistat’s talk taught me that as I am fortunate to live in the United States and go to a great school, I must seize this opportunity to help someone else who does not receive the same luxuries that I do. This has fueled my love for community service and helping others. I often volunteer at the senior home and the homeless shelter. At the moment, I am starting a club at my school that will help the refugees who are in dire need of our support. There is so much that I can do to improve the lives of people who need it most.”
  8. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story
    Texan student Alisha Somani explains how Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk helped her to realize the power of perspective: “One perspective is what shapes people into being closed minded and ignorant of the world around them. This TED Talk inspired me to learn more about current events so that I would not become one of those ignorant people who thinks that everyone is the same as them and everyone has the amenities and opportunities that they do.”
  9. Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids
    This talk is a favorite for teachers and students alike, as Adora Svitak reminds us why it’s so important to listen to youth voices.

10. Hend Wahdan: Painfully Hilarious Generation

You think your words do not have an affect? Think again. Words have great impacts, words are not toys to be played with, words hurt and heal and wound and salvage and destroy and rebuild. A talk every Egyptian teenager needs to listen to; this is the product of your thoughtless “jokes”. (@hxndwahdan)

11. Nahdeen Hassanein: Hayel3ab fi Hormonatak

Crossfit star Nahdeen Hassanein talks about what it’s like being a regular crossfitter and weight lifter in Egypt – as a woman. A talk for the misogynists and feminists alike; a woman is whatever she decides to be, and no one has the right to tell her otherwise. This is a talk challenging the social norms and cultural beliefs as well as the traditions set for young Egyptian women. (@nahdeenhassanein)

12. Youssef Ramzy: Efteker El La7za

This talk may be 4 years old but all you have to do is check out @byramzy on Instagram to know where this young man’s conviction and belief in his own talent and passion took him. The effect of this talk where Ramzy expresses the depth of his passion and love for photography is amplified by the product of Ramzy’s career and character today. To every single one of you who needs inspiration to do what you love and pursue it. (@byramzy)

13. Marwan Hafez: The Egyptian

Because with all the bullshit going on, we really need a reminder of how beautiful Egypt is; a reminder that our relationship with Egypt is toxic, and we cannot expect to get better when we – her own children – talk shit about her. This is a talk to our generation, lest we learn from it, and use it to further our own growth as individuals and citizens of Egypt, after all, the country’s future is in our hands. (@marwanthafez)

14. Ahmed El Fares: How to Be Socially Accepted

To the lost ones, the ones who seek help and guidance, the ones who wish for recognition and appreciation, the ones who need self-love and a reminder that being human is enough, this is for you straight from teenage activist extraordinaire Ahmed El Fares. The story of a brave kid, spreading his bravery. (@aelfares)

15. Shahd Aly: Batalet Qesset Hayaty

“An inspiring cancer story. Shahd’s life turned upside down the day she found out she was diagnosed with cancer. She shares with us her inspiring story and tells us more about cancer.” Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it, you do not need anyone to save you, your own savior is within yourself. If this isn’t empowerment – I don’t know what is.

16. Bahaa Awny: Before It’s Too Late

Losing a close friend is never easy, especially when you lose that friend to death. A story of fighting against the odds, of looking life in the face when she tries to bring you down and saying “fuck you”, a story of rising up, of growing too fast, and of seizing every moment, before it is too late.

17. Hossam Nasr: Enta Meen? 

Existential crises alert – but very much needed. Who are we? What is a human being? Why do we exist? An interesting trail of thought about human existence; both very humbling and very empowering. Let your curiosity breathe with this one.



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