Escaping the void

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Jorgo Qirjaj and Alex Mishev on What TEDxAUBG Means for Them

The TEDxAUBG 2020 Team

Two invaluable members of our team could not experience their last TEDxAUBG conference.

Jorgo Qirjaj (President) and Alex Mishev (Head of IT) graduated in Spring 2020, when our annual event was postponed due to the global pandemic. No matter the circumstances, their hard work and dedication have contributed greatly to shaping TEDxAUBG into the professional club it is.

Jorgo (left) and Alex (right)

To commemorate their immense contribution, we asked Jorgo and Alex to tell us more about their TEDxAUBG experience.

What is the most important thing TEDxAUBG taught you, which helps you to this day?

Alex: Perseverance, but not stubbornness. Some great things might happen if you persist, take criticism, and pivot in the right direction.

Jorgo: There are countless things that TEDxAUBG taught me, from teaching me how to get out of my comfort zone to multitasking to working under pressure. I have grown a lot.

What was it like to be a part of TEDxAUBG?

Alex: It was wonderful. I’ve met some great people along the way, made a few friends even. As a person living off-campus, I managed to feel the strong family-like atmosphere that everybody talks about. I managed to grow on a more personal level, building my soft skills, which is nice having in mind that I was responsible for the technical stuff.

Jorgo: I was lucky to have enjoyed the time with TEDxAUBG to the fullest. It was one of the most life-changing experiences. Every now and then, random memories will pop into my head and I will smile remembering that exact feeling.

What is your most treasured memory with the club?

Alex: Getting accepted. I was so nervous on my interview; I barely managed to introduce myself. Apparently, it was not that bad since I got in, but I still remember driving mindlessly for one hour around Blagoevgrad re-thinking what I should have said. When I got the acceptance email, I was so happy.

Jorgo: Most treasured memory would have to be all of the team buildings in our unofficial headquarters, Villa Aya. The burnt pizza, rice and lyutenitsa, and the mafia games there hit different.

What is the most stressful situation you have experienced?

Alex: I honestly don’t remember anything that stressful about being part of TEDxAUBG. I was doing what I like, being the head of IT. I was meeting with cool people, and we were working towards an awesome event. It was great!

Jorgo: Definitely everything that was happening during the pandemic this year. Having to postpone the conference and so many other events was not nice, but we dealt with it all together, as a team, and that helped.

What is the one thing you miss most about being in TEDxAUBG?

Alex: Being part of TEDxAUBG.

Jorgo: The wine. All those long meetings would have been just meetings without the wine. That is something that I will forever miss.

What makes the annual TEDxAUBG conference so valuable?

Alex: It unites a small group of people to work towards something bigger than them. This is a really essential part that I don’t think we appreciate enough.

Jorgo: The coming together of so many people from so many parts of life and of the world. Getting to see how exciTED the audience, the speakers, and the organizers are makes it the most special day. And of course, cameras, lights, and action are what give it a sparkle.

What was inspiring you while you were creating the TEDxAUBG website?

Alex: The club itself. Imagine having this banger conference coming in a few months, you don’t want a mediocre website, do you?

What was it like to be the president of such a big club?

Jorgo: I felt like the luckiest person ever. I still do. Getting to work with a bunch of professionals so closely was such a phenomenal experience. It was definitely challenging many-a-times; however, I had the unconditional support of the team, the awesome board, and previous presidents, and that was all I needed.

Share your favorite TEDxAUBG talk with us.

Alex: Want to be Successful? Try Being Stupid! | Leon Windscheid It was one of the few talks that I managed to see live. The whole talk I’d say was a nice humbling experience, delivered in a really funny way.

Jorgo: Cultivating Empathy & Self-Awareness Through Social Media | Jovanny Varela-Ferreyra I was a freshmen at the time, just a member of the speakers team, and this was my first suggestion, that later became the first speaker I would work with. I had been a fan of Jovanny’s work with The Artidote for a long time, and I thought it was only fair that the world got to see the mastermind behind that wonderfully curated community.

The official TED slogan is Ideas Worth Spreading. Tell us one idea of yours that you think deserves to be spread.

Alex: You can reach your final goal easily by asking a lot of questions, no matter how stupid they are.

Jorgo: A lot of things are important in life, but they are all worth nothing if you don’t show compassion, love, and kindness. We are not in a competition with each other, we will all make it.

What is one piece of advice you would give to future TEDx enthusiasts?

Alex: Start thinking about what you associate different colors with, start with red. Don’t say pain, everybody will look weirded out.

Jorgo: You have time to do it all, so slow down, enjoy the moment, and bring in that enthusiasm to meetings every day. It’s what keeps the TEDx spirit alive.

Summarize your experience with the club in no more than three words.

Alex: Biggest Department Head

Jorgo: Gratifying. Life-changing. Delightful.

TEDxAUBG whole-heartedly thanks Jorgo and Alex for everything they have done for the conference, the team and our growth.


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