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A pope called TED

VANCOUVER (SE): Pope Francis chalked up another first on April 27 when he appeared as the star of a TED Talk.

TED is a non-profit organisation dedicated to spreading ideas in the form of short talks. What began in 1984 as a conference covering Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED), today provides talks from all sorts of different speakers, but, up until now, except a pope.

People following TED’s Annual Conference in Vancouver had been promised a surprise world figure would deliver an 18-minute message on the conference theme, The Future You, alongside tennis superstar, Serena Williams; entrepreneur, Elon Musk; and chess champion, Garry Kasparov.

But no one expected to see the face of Pope Francis appear on the screen.

“I very much like this title—The Future You,” Pope Francis began, continuing by saying, “Because, while looking at tomorrow, it invites us to open a dialogue today, to look at the future through a you… The future is made of yous… because life flows through our relationships with others.”

Continuing in his typically chatty and informal style, the pope reminded his listeners of how everything is connected and of how life is about interaction.

Continuing with one of his favourite themes, he said, “None of us is an autonomous and independent I. We can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.”

His second message was on one of his favourite topics, educating people to a true solidarity in order to overcome the culture of waste that puts products at the centre of techno-economic systems, instead of people.

“The other has a face,” he said. “The you is… a person to take care of.”

Pope Francis illustrated his point by quoting Mother Teresa and the parable of the Good Samaritan, before going on to talk about hope—which he described as “a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree.”

He added, “A single individual is enough for hope to exist. And that individual can be you.”

Pope Francis’ third and final message was dedicated to what he called the revolution of tenderness. He said that tenderness means being on the same level as the other. It is not weakness, but strength: “the path of solidarity… of humility.”

He pointed out that through humility, even power becomes a service and a force for good.

Pope Francis concluded by saying that the future of humankind is not in the hands of politicians or big companies but, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognise the other as a you and themselves as part of an us.

“We all need each other,” the first pope to appear in a TED Talk concluded.

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