Published: 11-05-2021 09:32 | Updated: 25-05-2021 08:41

Full-time biomed students Inika and Lukas arrange a TEDx event at KI

Portrait image of Lukas Lehtonen och Inika Prasad who are standing in front of a white wall.
KI students Lukas Lehtonen och Inika Prasad, organizers of TEDxKI. Photo: Chen Chu

More than one year ago, Inika Prasad had the idea of arranging a TEDx event when picking up a book about public speaking at an airport. Together with her classmate Lukas Lehtonen they turned the idea into reality. On May 27, TEDxKI From Mirage to Oasis takes place – the first TEDx event at KI in a decade.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves, background and what you are studying?

Inika: I’m studying biomedicine at KI, which I really enjoy! I’ve been in Sweden for quite a few years now, and I did high school here. Before that though, I grew up in Delhi. I’ve been a digital ambassador for my programme since I started two years ago, and I’m also editor-in-chief for Medicinska Föreningen’s student magazine Medicor. There’s a lot of juggling between studies and extracurriculars, but we make it work.

Lukas: I’m in the same programme as Inika—we’re both second-year biomedical students. I’m originally from Finland and moved to Sweden two years ago to start my studies at KI. I love working with strengthening communities, which has led to my involvement in committees at MF, local and federal LGBTQIA+ organizations, and now – TEDxKI.

How did you come up with the idea to arrange TEDxKI?

Lukas: I have to hand all the credit for the idea to Inika! She texted me asking if I would be interested in applying for a grant and taking a stab at organizing a TEDx event with her. How could I have said no to such an exciting proposition?

Inika: I had picked up TED’s Guide to Public Speaking at an airport in early 2020, so the idea of organizing a TEDxKI event had lodged itself in my head back then. When the opportunity to apply for a grant showed up TEDxKI popped back into my head, I thought of Lukas, and here we are.

How has the planning process been? How does one arrange a TEDx event?

Lukas: Hectic and challenging, but extremely rewarding! We’ve learned everything on the fly, and we’ve had so much help from people involved in TEDxKarolinskaInstitutet a decade ago, as well as the people over at TEDxKTH and TEDxStockholm. The beginning of our planning process was mostly reaching out to people and filling in applications, and team building was the next important step. Now, Inika and I get to be involved at every level of the process, helping our team members where we can. Our team is fantastic, and we never would have made it this far without all their input, feedback, and expertise.

Inika: I agree! It’s been a huge learning experience for me, and it’s really amazing to see our ideas and work slowly taking shape. There was a lot of groundwork involved in building a framework for making a TEDx event possible. Between the two of us, we’ve poured hundreds of hours into TEDxKI since we started – it’s a huge commitment of time and energy, but it’s immensely rewarding! 

Tell us more about the event on May 27, what can we expect?

Inika and Lukas: If you register and attend, you’ll find out ;) Honestly though, we have some fabulous speakers and performers in store. To comply with public health guidelines, the event will be completely digital, with pre-recorded talks and performances. We still want our audience to meet new people and get a feel for the community though, so we have a post-event mingle, a buddy system, and a live host to take you on the journey From Mirage to Oasis.

Do you have any advice for students who are thinking about arranging an event in the future?

Inika: Get yourself the best team you can lay your hands on, and definitely have a co-organizer you trust. Make sure that you pave the way for the next organizers and TEDxKI team, because continuity will help build the community. Use your time on the team to get to know the people you interact with because this is a great opportunity to network and meet all sorts of people.

Lukas: I agree wholeheartedly! And amidst all the excitement and mayhem, remember to take care of yourself and communicate openly with your team. You also don’t need to be scared to reach out and ask for help – the global TEDx community is built on collaboration, so we really recommend getting to know both current and previous organizers of events in the area!

Photo: TEDxKI

More information and registration for TEDxKI

You can find out everything there is to know about TEDxKI From Mirage to Oasis by checking out TEDxKI:s webpage.