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Thursday, June 13, 2024
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McAllen
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An Exclusive Interview with Marcos Silva 

TEDx McAllen: Unbound

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May 21, 2024—Marcos Silva, TEDx McAllen licensee and executive director of RGV Lead, has transformed McAllen's community events through his innovative and inspiring TEDx initiatives. With a rich background as an educator, Silva's journey with TED began eight years ago, leading him to become a global educator advisor for TED. Today, Silva proudly sits beside the emblematic TEDx McAllen logo, reflecting on his achievements and looking forward to the "Unbound" event scheduled for October 29, 2024, at STC.  Photo By Roberto Hugo González
Marcos Silva, TEDx McAllen licensee and executive director of RGV Lead, has transformed McAllen’s community events through his innovative and inspiring TEDx initiatives. With a rich background as an educator, Silva’s journey with TED began eight years ago, leading him to become a global educator advisor for TED. Today, Silva proudly sits beside the emblematic TEDx McAllen logo, reflecting on his achievements and looking forward to the “Unbound” event scheduled for October 29, 2024, at STC. Photo By Roberto Hugo González
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By Roberto Hugo González

Marcos Silva, the TEDx licensee holder for TEDx McAllen and the executive director of RGV Lead, has brought innovative and inspiring events to the McAllen community. With a background as an educator, Silva’s journey with TED started about eight years ago. Selected as one of 30 educators globally to join a TED education innovative educator program, Silva’s partnership and collaboration with TED have grown significantly since then. Now serving as one of their educator advisors, he continues to influence the education programming within TED.

Silva’s involvement with TEDx McAllen began in 2019 when he curated the first community event. The success of this event was undeniable, achieving a remarkable score of 98 out of 100 in TED’s evaluation. This high rating proved the event’s ability to inspire and its strong recommendation from attendees. According to Silva, the key to this success was showcasing exceptional individuals from the local community, providing them with a global platform to share their stories and ideas. This approach highlighted the unique talents within McAllen and emphasized the value of local stories on an international stage.

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Marcos Silva, Dr. Ricardo Solis, and Trustee Dalinda Gonzalez-Alcantar gather to celebrate TEDx McAllen. Dr. Solis, president of South Texas College, welcomes the event and emphasizes its impact on the community. Photo By Roberto Hugo González

Following the success of the 2019 event, Silva curated TEDx McAllen Youth in 2023 and is now preparing for TEDx McAllen 2024. The upcoming “Unbound” event is scheduled for October 29, 2024, at STC. “Unbound” aims to celebrate community members who have defied limitations and overcome significant challenges, showcasing their resilience and innovative spirit. Silva hopes that attendees will leave the event inspired to think differently, act boldly, collaborate more, and connect deeply with their community.

In preparation for the 2024 event, the nomination application was launched today. Silva encourages the community to follow TEDx McAllen’s social media channels and nominate individuals who have made a substantial impact. The nomination process will remain open for the next few weeks, after which nominees will go through an application process. A dedicated committee of about 25 community members involved in planning the event will then select 12 to 14 speakers from the applicants.

Reflecting on the changes since the last community event in 2019, Silva notes the profound impact of global events such as the pandemic, economic shifts, and technological advancements, including the rise of artificial intelligence. He believes these changes have brought forth new ideas and innovations within the community. The upcoming TEDx McAllen event aims to provide a platform for these fresh perspectives, allowing local thinkers and doers to share their insights and inspire a broader audience.

Silva’s commitment to fostering a culture of innovation and inspiration in McAllen is evident through his ongoing efforts with TEDx. By providing a stage for local voices and highlighting the community’s resilience and creativity, he continues to drive positive change and encourage a spirit of unbounded possibility. Stay tuned for more details on the event and the selected speakers, who will bring inspiration and new ideas to TEDx McAllen 2024.

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Today, they announced an official TEDx McAllen announcement, bringing together a vibrant mix of community members and leaders to celebrate and support the upcoming event. The room was filled with influential figures, including city representatives like Commissioner Omar Quintanilla and Commissioner Victor “Seby” Haddad from McAllen. The event also saw the presence of Dr. Ricardo Solis, the president of South Texas College (STC), alongside former TEDx McAllen speakers who had delivered their impactful speeches five years ago.

These previous speakers, now accomplished professionals and public figures, returned to show their continued belief in the mission of TEDx McAllen. Some have become professional speakers traveling globally, others have been appointed to committees by the governor, and their TEDx talks are even used in classrooms across the state to represent bilingual education. Notable figures like Sister Norma Pimentel, who has continued to achieve great things, exemplify the lasting impact of TEDx McAllen. While their success is not solely attributed to TEDx McAllen, the platform provided a valuable space for sharing their ideas globally.

Dr. Ricardo Solis, the president of South Texas College (STC), expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership between STC and TEDx McAllen. His comments highlighted the significance of the collaboration:

“We are elated to have such a powerful global organization that impacts many people’s lives. From the community level, TED Talks is a powerful convergence of people bringing innovative and unique transformational common-sense ideas for the community to learn from. It brings credibility, a different perspective on life, and the idea of having a better quality of life with ideas relevant to everyone’s everyday lives. That’s why we are very excited to be able to host these events. At STC, educational initiatives combine with a powerful organization like TED Talks to create meaningful impact.”

The event started with these past speakers expressing their support and commitment to helping the next generation of TEDx McAllen speakers. It was a moment of pride and inspiration, reinforcing the community’s dedication to fostering innovative and influential ideas.

When asked about the nature of the speeches and the freedom of expression allowed on the TED platform, Silva emphasized the balance that TED maintains. The platform encourages factual thought-provoking content, operating within boundaries that challenge thinking without invoking negative or malicious actions. This community-based approach ensures that while the envelope is pushed, it is done so constructively and positively.

Today’s event was about something other than individual presentations or exposing new ideas, as is typical for TEDx events. Instead, it was about sharing the journey and plans with the community. A dedicated group of 25 individuals has been secretly planning this event every Saturday, and today marked the unveiling of their efforts. They announced the location, date, and theme for TEDx McAllen 2024, along with the commencement of the nomination process for new speakers. This commitment highlights their dedication to training and supporting the next wave of voices ready to take the global platform.

Silva pointed to social media as the primary avenue for communication for those interested in participating or staying updated. TEDx McAllen can be followed on Instagram and Facebook, with a new presence launching on LinkedIn. The handle for all platforms is @TEDxMcAllen. Additionally, Silva provided his email, mosilva956@gmail.com, for direct inquiries, although social media remains the most effective way to engage with the community.

As TEDx McAllen gears up for the 2024 event, the excitement and anticipation are palpable. With the support of past speakers and community leaders, the event promises to be a remarkable showcase of unbound ideas and inspirational stories, continuing the tradition of excellence and innovation that TEDx McAllen is known for. Stay tuned for more updates and announcements as the event draws closer.

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