10/15/2013 01:57 am ET | Updated Dec 14, 2013

The Incredible Growth of TED

We all know TED, the conference bringing together people from the world of Technology, Entertainment, and Design to share "Ideas Worth Spreading." Perhaps, we have been unaware of how TED has taken on issues around the world.

TEDYouth, headed by Kelly Stoetzel, Director of Content for all TED events, just announced that after producing a very successful event in New York City for the past two years, they will be holding a third annual TEDYouth this November in New Orleans.

Importantly, the TEDYouth event is complemented by more than 100 independently organized TEDxYouthDay events held all over the world including Iran, Iraq, China, India, Morocco, and Cuba. At some TEDxYouthDay events, the TEDYouth program is streamed live, and at other events local organizers curate their own live speaker lineup.

Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference in Vancouver in the spring and the TEDGlobal conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the fall--there is TEDWomen, TED Books, the site featuring TED Talks videos, the Open Translation Project, TED Conversations, and the inspiring TED Fellows, TED-Ed and TEDx programs.

And don't forget TED Weekends on The Huffington Post, or the annual TED Prize--now worth $1,000,000--won last year by Sugata Mitra, to "build the School in the Cloud."

But TEDYouth may be the most auspicious initiative reaching the millions of kids around the world who are all too often cut off from the mainstream of "ideas worth sharing," and from the buzz TED creates.

According to a recent report by the UN-Habitat:

"There are more people under the age of 25 today than ever, totaling nearly 3 billion of which 1.3 billion of that total are between the age of 12 and 24. (They) face challenges that need to urgently be addressed (as) young people believe that their voices are not being heard and their needs are not being addressed."

As Kelly Stoetzel said,

"Our goal is for kids who are experiencing the event live and watching online to get the opportunity to hear ideas they might not otherwise learn about. For them to feel excited, curious and inspired to dig even deeper into some of these topics. And once the talks are on TED-Ed, we look forward to these ideas reaching an even wider audience."

New York City attendees at TEDYouth heard and saw Young Guru, one of the most important music producers of the past decade; Kelly Benoit-Bird, a marine biologist using sophisticated sound technology to explore how animals in the ocean find their food while trying to avoid being someone else's dinner; Anna Post, an etiquette expert who covers a range of topics including texting, dating and how to behave on Facebook, and 14 other terrific speakers.

The kids in the TEDYouth audience are integral to the event. They get to know all the speakers, mix with them and each other, ask questions and generally are full participants in the TEDYouth conference. The entire event is streamed so everyone in the community can watch, and then put on YouTube on the TEDEd site for teachers, along with multiple-choice questions if they wish.

Unlike most of TED's major events, TEDYouth is free to the attendees--local middle and high school students selected through an online application process. The program features adult and teen speakers, many from the local area, sharing their unique story for 6-9 minutes on stage. The program is also webcast live online allowing audiences around the world to tune in.

Stoetzel makes clear that:

"Young people are our next generation of leaders, so it's important that they are a part of discussions that impact our future. TED is committed to making young people a part of the conversation."