October 31, 2019

LightTalk Initiative Encourages Deep Talk About Things that Matter

The Business Club of the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS), a Seventh-day Adventist school in Silang, Cavite, Philippines, recently hosted a TED Talk-style event as a way of signaling a fresh, contemporary style of creating and delivering presentations in the academic community.

“LightTalk: A Clear Way Forward” is the title chosen by the organizers to raise interest in topics of uncertainty and disruption.

The September 2019 event featured a speaker lineup from the fields of business, education, and public health. The show lasted nearly four hours and took place at the AIIAS Amphitheater, where it was recorded by a Hope Channel Philippines television crew.

The Blessing of Disruptions

The opening speaker, Danielle Rios, a pastor’s wife and mother of four, shared a personal testimony on facing unimaginable pain and tragedy. She called it “the blessing of disruptions” and shared her recovery journey as a way of instilling hope and assurance for others in a similar situation.

“In this life’s marathon, I have so many reasons to stop running. But I am still in the race,” Rios said. “While being strong, smart, and creative might be the measure of success by many standards, I choose another path, which is surrendering to God and accepting His love, grace, and provision.”

In Search of Authenticity

IT professional Faelmar Tañada, who advocates for a “software-piracy-free community," talked about how he found a smart way of using alternative software to boost productivity for free.

Graduate School professor Prema Gaikwad discussed her encounter with Generation Z and how to be prepared to “touch their future” be developing effective teaching strategies.

“Be authentic,” Gaikwad said. “Don't be superficial, because each generation has different traits.” 

Other speakers included business student Edivado Abel, an advocate for healthy family relationships; seminary student and author of the book “Digital Evangelism” Aias Cabaça; ADRA Philippines country director Tom Pignon; and youth and technology enthusiast Romulo Halasan Jr.

Ideas That Foster Change

David Allen is the Master of Business Administration student behind the concept of LightTalk. As part of his entrepreneur course requirement and under the guidance of his professor, LeRoy Ruhupatty, Allen proposed in July 2019 the idea of having a platform for learning. With the support of the business department and business club, the event came to fruition just two months later.

“LightTalk is a program intended to enable the business department and the business club to communicate ideas that can foster change and bring initiatives and make a difference in the world,” said AIIAS Business Department chair Kenneth Swansi. “We would want this idea to continue perhaps next year and become part of the business department’s calendar year.”

In the initial stages of planning, AIIAS administration showed support for student-led initiatives that can enhance presentation skills.

“This is the kind of skill that our students and faculty may choose to develop,” said vice-president for academic administration Dolf Oberholster, talking about the engaging presentation format of LightTalk. “The platform is useful even for academic presentations simply because research should also be applicable in many ways,” Oberholster said.

TED Talk-style presentation has gained popularity in recent years because it enables speakers to tell a story, evoke the imagination of the audience, and talk about “the human side.” 

According to rules set for the LightTalk event, all of these talks must be done in 18 minutes or less.

Ruhupatty explained that there are various formats for presentation, but LightTalk’s style is unique. The business department is already preparing another series called Christ’s Method of Management, a continuation of the last series but with a different theme. The public health department is starting a discussion on launching their version of LightTalk as well, organizers said.

The original version of this story was posted on the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies news site.

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