Every year we invite a series of speakers to join our TEDx event, they create a talk to share their ideas surrounding our theme of the year. This year's theme is "Shift the Paradigm" and we have the pleasure to have amazing speakers joining us! Here is a small taste of their stories to be shared in our talk! 



Tonia Casarin has a Masters degree in Education from Columbia University in New York. She is Lemann Fellow and a Global Salzburg Fellow. Tonia develops projects and products to develop social and emotional learning in kids, teenagers and adults. “As the technology evolves, we need to be more human.”, says the entrepreneur. As an an educator and speaker, her TEDx Talk in 2016 became a methodology for parenting and she is writing a book about that. She is also the author of the children's book "I Have Monsters in My Tummy" and “I Have more Monsters in My Tummy” which became a bestseller in Brazil. In 2017, she won Global Impact Challenge in Brazil, a Singularity University award.



Danilo comes from a poor family in the periphery of São Paulo, but managed to transformed his life thanks to the great education opportunities he had. In the past four years, he has been to two different universities (dropping out of the first to join the second); has studied engineering, social science, and computer science, and has lived in six different cities around the world (with work experiences ranging from a Berlin-based NGO for refugee online education to the Ministry of Education of Argentina). Five months ago Danilo decided to drop out again in order to explore in depth how he can use the "Systems View of Life" to achieve desirables changes within and without. From that moment on, he lived in Seoul, where he underwent an intensive meditation training, he built an educational platform about complex systems in Portuguese (, which is an extension of his apprenticeship with Complexity Labs (, and he has realized a dream of visiting the Amazon to learn from the forest and its beings. He has done all that aware of the moment of deep transformations we are living through, and seeking evolutionary patterns that will allow us to keep thriving as a species. And now he hopes to be able to share some insights that have personally helped him to undergo the deep paradigm shift unfolding in front of us.


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Son of Brazilian/German mother and Chinese father, born and raised in Spain, Marc Kirst is a curious kid passionate for deep existential questions that can help us lead a happier and more fulfilling life. After diving into his own self-knowledge journey throughout his teenager years, he dropped out of Business School to be able to found Prove, an organization born to invite youth to deeply reflect about the life they truly want to believe and build for themselves. Since 2013, Prove has developed and grown by offering talks, workshops and camps to over 20.000 high school and university students around more than 6 countries, by trying to hack education through an original Social Emotional Learning methodology based on the human quests for Authenticity, Love and Service. Marc has already represented Brazil at the Silicon Valley as a Finalist among 50.000 candidates for the Your Big Year competition, is now supported by the Red Bull Amaphiko Social Innovators network, keeps working for Prove’s Brazilian and International expansion and works as a coach, mentor and speaker for young aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs. Marc will tell us about the key insights and reflections that made him build the courage to embrace an authentic path in which he could feel the freedom to live out whatever would make sense to his own heart instead of just following society’s common paradigms.



Born in Norway, and raised between Norway and Ghana to a Ghanaian father and a Ghanaian-British mother, Nana Adubea Toa-Kwapong is a writer, museum-professional and an anthropologist-in-training. She grew up on the campus of the United World College Red Cross Nordic in Norway. In 2016 she graduated from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota where she studied Anthropology, African Studies, and Geography. She is the recipient of the 2016 Nancy “Penny” Schwartz Undergraduate Essay Award from the Association of Africanist Anthropology, as well receiving the honorable mention for the 2016 Sylvia Forman prize from the Association for Feminist Anthropology. She is currently working with two other students from her alma mater, Macalester College, to create an illustrated children’s book called “This Land ...”, to address challenges facing children from minority backgrounds. She is passionate about using anthropology and art as tools for social advocacy and cultural preservation. Nana Adubea firmly believes that differences are not points of division, but rather seeds of unity.



Melodi is the Youth Ambassador for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) on behalf of the Netherlands. This is a unique function, set up on the initiative of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and CHOICE for Youth & Sexuality. Melodi goes in search of the vision of young people worldwide on themes related to love, sex, reproduction and women's rights and blogs about this at OneWorld. She has always been ambitious to foster youth participation on different levels and contribute to projects mainly focussed on social issues, creating awareness on human rights (violations) and young leadership. Melodi strongly believes in the infinite power of youngsters to make a change for themselves and their communities.




John Huijnen was born and raised in Maastricht, just around the corner of this year’s TEDxYouthMaastricht venue. Since March 2016, John has been working in the Human Resources department of UWC Maastricht, a community that suits him well. After two years taking care of staff matters the desire grew to also seek more involvement in student matters. The theme of this conference offered him an opportunity to do so as he will speak about how life has taught him that an occasional paradigm shift can be a recipe for happiness. In his past he has made choices that made others wonder if his head is way up high in the clouds, but to John these only prove he knows exactly how to make lemonade when life throws him lemons.



Born and raised in Rwanda in a christian extended family, she is now finishing her diploma of international baccalaureate in Biology, Physics and Global politics in the United World College Maastricht. She has organised some events in school with cooperation with the Rwandan embassy including the commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. She is very passionate about poetry, music and drama dance, and uses them as a tool to express her very feelings that words would not explain. She believes that it can link very diverse communities in creating awareness in different aspects.



Kibibi was born and raised in Kenya, a country in east Africa however, she has now been living in The Netherlands for 2 years. Since moving from one place to another, she has enjoyed interacting with, and experiencing the many different cultures, beliefs and opinions. Kibibi has been attending UWC Maastricht since September 6th 2016 where she has been developing her passion for performing and writing her own spoken word. Through this years theme Shift The Paradigm, TEDxYouth@Maastricht 2018 has provided a space where Kibibi can speak on if our current comfort zone has pulled the wool over our eyes. She aims to alter our understanding and hopes to spark a flame on what is and is not seen as normal, believable, inevitable and possible.



Maria grew up in a small town in the Catalan side of Spain. She has studied in, amongst others, Waterford Kamhlaba UWC, Swaziland; Central St Martins, UK; and the Reina Sofía Museum, Spain. This international, hybrid background sparked a keen interest in how images, objects, and sensorial experiences help us understand the societies we live in. Before deciding to develop her own artistic practice, she worked as a Sustainable Innovation Manager for a marketing agency, designing and leading design thinking processes for clients such as Red Cross or Kellogg’s. She has exhibited, and given talks and workshops all around Europe. Currently she is engaged as a Phd researcher by the University of Hasselt, where she is mixing art and theory in order to investigate how Catholicism “haunts” the secular imaginary and sensorium.