Nearly 3,000 people came to the Grand REX theater in Paris on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, to launch our annual community gathering, Boma Momentum. Momentum jump-started our Boma community around the world, with more than 100 viewing parties, in 30 countries committed to radical collaboration and collective action.
Before we started the evening, we recalled the heritage of TED and TEDx, without which Boma could not have existed. We invited the two people behind these initiatives to the stage: the founding father of the TED conferences (created in 1985), Mr. Richard Saul Wurman and the founder of the TEDx network, now Boma CEO Lara Stein. Richard did us the honor of opening this first big Boma evening by emphasizing the need to understand the world before we can act. Then, Lara described the origin of our movement's name.
The "Boma" has its roots in Africa in the Great Lakes region. It was the circular enclosure, built of branches and tree trunks, where the community and the elders met. It was a sacred space for community gatherings and sometimes difficult discussions, the space where decisions could be made and actions taken. Lara, originally from South Africa, explained why, very early, she thought of the word Boma to name this new community. How in order to deal with the complexity and rate of change, we need new, agile groups coming together in new ways, emergent circles that are both local and global. Her hope is self-organized Bomas in communities across the world — organizations, schools, universities, co-working spaces, homes — debating, designing, innovating, collaborating and taking action towards a sustainable future..
At Grand REX, the Boma has formed a circle, thanks to the presence of part of the audience on stage , around the speakers. The proximity between the public and the speakers also enabled interactions and questions at the end of the talks and performances.
Boma's mission is to question the world, to embrace its complexity, to find solutions to the challenges facing us and to encourage action. Never in our history has the awareness of the urgency to act been so strong. Boma Momentum was one of those moments when the community came together to question, question and prepare to get involved.
The first session invited activists, entrepreneurs, business leaders and researchers who are committed to positive impact on a daily basis. Far from a simplistic vision of engagement, they represented those who accept the complexity of long-term commitment by confronting everyday reality.
The second session brought together bearers of personal and universal stories who reminded us of the key qualities and skills to develop leaders in order to prepare us for the world to come. Stories of courage and action.
The thread that ran through the evening was a repeated call to courage and to accept our own vulnerability. Because without vulnerability there can be no courage, and without courage and sometimes these difficult conversations, without controversy, without acceptance of the complex reality of our world, it will be impossible for us to really find solutions to the challenges of our time.
In the coming days, we will post several of the talks online. Because this dialogue must continue everywhere, throughout the year, around discussion circles on the subjects that interest you, we have opened Boma to all, by launching Boma Circles on a global scale and in France . These discussions and sustainable innovations must be connected to year-round, bottom-up input, design and action.
Stay informed of upcoming Boma events and meetings by joining the community.
Thank you to our valued partners: ENGIE, Sanofi, La MAIF, Bouygues Construction & BNP Paribas
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