In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, organisers of TEDx Jamaica 2012 provided attendees with a wide-ranging and stimulating programme under the theme, 'Accomplish what you will'. As explained by host Dr Nigel Clarke, it was selected in honour of Jamaica 50 as it is a direct quotation of National Hero Marcus Garvey. According to Clarke, "TEDx Jamaica 2012 sought to ventilate a seldom-expressed and often-overlooked aspect of Garvey's legacy, that excellence in any of its manifestations - art, music, business, sport, dance, science - is a legitimate goal."
The programme began with a masterfully eloquent and edifying presentation by Jon Robertson, a former child prodigy, who first featured in The New York Times at age 10, and who had his orchestral debut at age 11.
Donna Duncan-Scott, known for her corporate accomplishments, captivated and moved the audience with an autobiographical presentation, and Shirley Thompson, the British-Jamaica classical composer, shared how she uses music to tell stories that have an ability to motivate and transform.
Melvyn Tennant, a retiree to Jamaica, mesmerised the audience with an audio-visual account of how he, without a background in science, is helping to save and expand the population of hawksbill sea turtles in Jamaica.
Paul Ramphal, a cardiothoracic surgeon, transfixed TEDx Jamaica with his visual and interactive account of how he innovated and invented, along with Dr Daniel Coore, a tissue-based cardiac simulator, the first of its kind in the world, for which he owns a United States patent.
Olympic champion and track and field legend Donovan Bailey's presentation took the form of an onstage interview with Clarke. Bailey answered questions about his business and track and field career in his affable style. Revealing that, though his parents, and in particular his father, were never titillated by his track career, they championed success as an ultimate goal. The former 100-metre specialist agreed with Clarke that, though self-belief, an admitted advantage, could be counterproductive in its extremes, one could never have enough of it.
Garth Fagan closed TEDx Jamaica with a tear-jerking presentation that elicited a standing ovation from the audience.
Fagan, the internationally acclaimed choreographer and Tony/Laurence Olivier awards winner for Disney's The Lion King, spoke after an introductory video that celebrated his most illustrious career. Founder of the New York- based Garth Fagan Dance company, now in its 40th season, Fagan introduced a new dance vocabulary to the world stage, drawing on multiple sources, including classical ballet, Caribbean and African rhythms.
Fagan was overcome with emotion as he recounted how he had a lack of interest in meeting his father's academic expectations, but only wanted to express himself through dance. His father could not appreciate the kind of intellectual rigour, creative energy and physical dexterity required to successfully express dance movements. However, the uncompromisingly high standards set by his father translated into a perfectionist approach by Fagan that has served him well throughout his career.