Youth lead the charge at TEDxRedmond

Youth lead the charge at TEDxRedmond

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By Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Microsoft

Hundreds of fired up, amazing young people came to Microsoft Campus last Saturday. Local middle and high school students, who were accompanied by parents, educators and civic leaders, made up an audience of 600 who attended TEDxRedmond.

TEDx events are independently organized to promote ideas about technology, entertainment and design. The get-together was run by and for young people to create a forum to empower youth and change the world. It’s a cause that aligns with our company-wide, global YouthSpark Initiative to create opportunities for 300 million youth over three years.

During my opening remarks, I was excited to share a milestone we announced earlier in the week: YouthSpark has impacted more than 100 million youth in 100 countries and continues to help close the opportunity divide.

Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Microsoft, made opening remarks at TEDxRedmond.

I was inspired by so many of the speakers, including Mohammad Adib. The 17-year-old, who attends Newport High School in Bellevue, Washington, observed that science, technology, and entrepreneurship are under-appreciated by his peers.  Mohammad said that fostering interest in these subjects is vital to addressing the global need for innovators and scientists, as well as to finding solutions to some of our biggest problems.  That’s why he designed a mobile app to encourage kids to study STEM science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).


Mohammed Adib, 17-year-old who attends Newport High School in Bellevue, spoke about the importance and impact of science, technology, and entrepreneurship.

Ann Makosinski, a 15 year-old junior at the St. Michaels University School in Victoria, British Columbia, spoke about how she invented a Hollow Flashlight that runs on the heat of the human hand. One of her goals is to prevent pollution from battery waste.  She outlined her plans to improve her invention so that it’s as bright and long-lasting as a battery-powered flashlight.

Ann Makosinski, a 15 year-old junior at the St. Michaels University School in Victoria, British Columbia, spoke about how she invented a Hollow Flashlight that runs on the heat of the human hand.

Perhaps the goals of TEDxRemond, and the mission of Microsoft YouthSpark, were best summed up by a young entrepreneur who also spoke on Saturday. Jack Kim, who last year graduated from King’s High School in Shoreline, Washington, and is now attending Stanford University, said, “Anyone in this world has the equal power and opportunity to pick up their own pieces and make something great.”

Jack Kim, graduated from King’s High School in Shoreline, Washington, and is now attending Stanford University.

We’re inspired by today’s youth and proud to stand alongside them, ready to help every step along the way. 

See profiles of all the speakers at TEDxRedmond.com. Videos of the presentations will be posted within the next two weeks. 

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