Making Peace with the Portrait – Kelly Mellos at TEDxSanDiego 2016

What is it about the human face that is so engaging and powerful?

You often hear that someone is the face of a movement, or the face of change. But what does that really mean? Does simply looking someone in the face, really taking a moment to study that person’s face – at the surface and beyond – have the power to bring about peace?

Artist Kelly Mellos, who left her life in the corporate business world to pursue a career in portraiture, toyed with this concept when she brought together a group of Palestinian and Israeli students and asked them to sit face-to-face and draw portraits of each other.

For Mellos, painting brings about a presence. When she runs her pencil or paintbrush over a face, she “softens into feelings of lucidity and deep reverence within the light of (her) subject.” Could the same feelings be stirred up in those who have been taught to be enemies?

“I thought there might be a possibility of transforming helplessness into hope,” she said. In a portrait workshop group through a peace program called Hands of Peace, Mellos got to test out her theory among teens who rarely get to meet and get to know one another.

The resulting workshop was an intriguing look into the power of humanity and the human face.

Kelly Mellos Website

Hands of Peace

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How Dive Bars Can Change Your Life – Ellen Goodwin at TEDxSanDiego 2016

“Most people think that the only thing that you can learn in a dive bar is that the more stickers on the wall, means the more surly the regular clientele is going to be. But this is where I think you are wrong,” said Ellen Goodwin to start her talk at TEDxSanDiego 2016.

And when it comes to knowing about dive bars, Goodwin, who by trade is the CEO and procrastination expert. Back in 2010 she and a neighbor started a “dive bar of the month” club, and have since visited more than 60 in the San Diego area. In the process she discovered some interesting truths about human nature that we could all adopt as life lessons.

According to Goodwin, dive bars are teaming with life lessons. Among the 10.5 life lessons she has learned:

1. Be kind to everyone.
2. You’re never to old to make new friends.
3. The camera never lies.

And for the rest, well, you’ll just have to see for yourself.

Ellen Goodwin Website

Ellen Goodwin on Twitter

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The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can – Tererai Trent at TEDxSanDiego 2015

The obstacles in our lives often get stacked so high that we feel trapped within them. Stifled by fear of the unknown. Unsure of our own potential for greatness. We become blinded from seeing our hopes and our dreams as anything more than distant ideas, too far to ever reach. But we have the power to change that.

Tererai Trent’s powerful talk reminds us that our dreams are always achievable, as she takes us on her journey out of poverty. A world-renowned humanitarian and educator, Tererai has devoted her life to promoting education equality worldwide. Her message is one of hope, courage, and determination.

Growing up in a poor, rural village in Sub-Saharan Africa during her country’s war for liberation, Tererai hadn’t ever considered her dreams. Like her mother and grandmother before her, she was married and a mother of three before she turned 18. Denied an education, she taught herself to read and write with her brother’s schoolbooks. At 22, Tererai wrote down her greatest ambitions on a scrap of paper—a bachelor’s degree, a master’s, and Ph.D. She buried the dreams in a tin can, pledging to unearth that can when these dreams had been fulfilled.

With an unwavering belief in the importance of education, Tererai reminds us, “To educate is to empower. To empower is to liberate. And to liberate is to enable individuals to have dignity.” The captivating story of her 20-year journey back to her tin can reminds us to never stop believing in ourselves, our dreams, and our ability to achieve the impossible.

Tererai Trent Website

Tererai Trent on Twitter

Tererai Trent on Facebook

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