Pip Stewart found herself in a relationship with a flesh-eating parasite, leishmaniasis, after a world-first, 2.5 month, paddling expedition through dense Amazon jungle.
Pip believes that: “Everyone, and everything, can teach you something.” Through her work as a journalist, poet and presenter she advocates the power of listening to achieve genuine, meaningful connection to better understand yourself, others and the natural world around you.
Pip has cycled halfway around the world (16,000km from Malaysia to London), and has a degree in Modern History and Politics from Oxford University, and a masters in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong.
Whilst she’s a big advocate of connection she wouldn’t, however, recommend getting involved with a flesh-eating parasite if it can be avoided.
What 3 words would you use to describe your TEDx talk?
Heartfelt, gory and meaningful.
What was the main motivation for you to do a TEDx talk?
I want to raise awareness of a neglected tropical disease that is present in around 97 countries and affects around 1 billion people.
What do you hope the audience will feel after your TEDx talk?
I hope to show how in a global world we are more connected than ever. I hope that if a flesh-eating parasite can get under my skin it will get under the audiences' too (figuratively, not literally!)
Were there any challenges in the preparation of your TEDx talk?
Feeling well enough to deliver it! I had to cancel a talk in Brighton because it came too soon after my treatment and I was absolutely wiped out.
Do you have any goals for your TEDx talk?
I hope people will start talking about leishmaniasis and hope to get more media and resources to the issue.
What is your favourite TED talk and why?
Ze Frank: Are you human? I loved it because he cleverly showed how we are all connected by our shared humanity. It was funny, poignant and well delivered.
Why do you think Tunbridge Wells has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?
I'm hoping people will be intrigued to hear about a flesh eating parasite and will realise how lucky we are in the UK to have access to free and great medical care. I've sat in the audience of Ted at Tunbridge Wells and I've found that the audience have been highly engaged and passionate people. I'm excited (and terrified) to be standing on stage this time.
What advice would you give to other people considering giving a TEDx talk?
If you have something that is under your skin and want to share with an audience, there's really no better platform. If, like me, you can get nervous public speaking I find focusing on the idea, the content I am trying to convey is much more productive than focusing on the terror - although this is easier said than done!
Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?
To understand that in a global world we need to focus on what connects us - our shared humanity.