On Tuesday 15th June 2021, QE hosted its first ever TEDx conference. 14 students and three members of staff delivered talks on a broad range of topics, demonstrating their free-thinking scholarship and a good deal of oratorical skill.

What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a programme called TEDx. TEDx is a programme of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxQESchool, where x = independently organised TED event. At TEDxQESchool, our speakers came together to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.  The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx programme, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organised.

You can find our more about the wider TEDx programme here.

We are now delighted to be able to share our participants’ talks with everyone in the Elizabethan community.

Our speakers

Ayush Patel – Regulating AI for the safety of humanity

Ayush Patel is an A-level student at Queen Elizabeth’s School. Through building an autonomous vehicle, he has developed interests in the topics of computer science, AI and technology’s interactions with society.

In this talk, Ayush draws upon his own experiences to discuss the potential dangers of AI in the absence of any industry regulation. He goes on to explore different regulation strategies, recognising that government approaches will vary across the world.

Ved Nair – Psychological effects of lockdown on young people

Ved Nair is a Year 8 student at QE. His interests range from cricket, of which he is a borough player, to science, a subject that he aspires to study in the future. However, he endeavours to succeed in all aspects of the academic world. Ved speaks about the unaddressed issue of the negative mental health effects of Covid-19 and lockdowns on our youth, not just to change perceptions but also to encourage society to deal with these issues.

Yaamir Khurana – How we will look back at eating animals

Yaamir Khurana is in his final year of sixth form planning to study English and Philosophy at university. Yaamir has always been against animal cruelty. However, after witnessing the shocking cruelty in animal agriculture and slaughterhouses, he realised that society has a moral blind spot for farm animals. He aims to spread awareness about what farm animals go through, with the end goal of making slaughterhouses an abomination left behind in history.

Advay Bhat – A look at human behaviour and how it impacts the world

Advay Bhat is one of the youngest students at TEDxQESchool. From an early age, Advay was taught about the human race’s impact on the world – since then, he has remained very curious about this. Other than this, Advay pursued his interest in public speaking by getting involved in multiple different opportunities at the school.

Advay talks about the pressing issues humans are facing, what they could do to tackle these problems and whether these problems will ever go away. He believes that humans should reflect on their behaviour and lifestyle, as they could have disastrous effects on the next generation.

Sultan Khokhar – Why do we fight wars?

Sultan Khokhar is in his first year of A-Level studies at Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet. Sultan is strongly interested in history, literature, and languages, and enjoys reading and learning languages. Sultan’s speech explores the idea of warfare, and attempts to explain why humankind has always been so keen to resort to war, despite the obviously dreadful consequences for all those involved.

Mr Navjeet Swatch – Are we living in the Matrix?

Navjeet Swatch is a Teacher of Mathematics in his second year at Queen Elizabeth’s School. Navjeet’s interests include astronomy and general science related topics as well as playing tuba in a local amateur orchestra. In his talk, Navjeet explains the speculative idea that the world around us is a computer simulation.

Ben Rock – How sport can improve academic achievement

Ben Rock is a Year 11 student at Queen Elizabeth’s School.  Ben has been passionate about sport since he started playing waterpolo aged nine and, from then on, has strived to influence people to get involved in all types of sports.  He is interested in STEM subjects, especially engineering, while also having wider interests such as playing the piano and learning languages.

Ben’s talk highlights the many benefits of playing sports, focusing on how it can lead to greater academic achievement whilst also reducing mental health issues. He uses his personal experience of being a member of England’s Waterpolo National Academy to illustrate his arguments.

Ashrith Kothapalle – Why do we respond to one person needing help, but not many?

Ashrith Kothapalle is about to enter his first year of sixth form in order to study Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Physics. His interest in human behaviour was first sparked when he realised that no two people are alike and that the first step to achieving personal goals is in understanding one’s mental capability.

Ashrith talks about why people react more strongly to tragedies that are less atrocious and involve fewer people compared to tragedies that are in fact much more tragic and involve many more people.

Zain Ahmad – What makes humans distinct?

Zain Ahmad is a Year 11 student at Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet, hoping to study Maths, Chemistry, English Literature, and Biology at A-level. From a young age Zain has been captivated by the future and past of our planet.

Zain speaks about factors which portray humans to be distinct from the world around us, and how this distinction has enabled our species to wreak havoc on Earth.

Shuaib Adam – Why is racism in football on the back foot?

Shuaib Adam is a student in Year 10 at Queen Elizabeth’s School. Academically, Shuaib is very fond of Maths, Biology, French and Public Speaking. From a very young age, Shuaib has always loved to both play and watch football. Today he speaks about how racism has broken out in football in recent times as well as the ways it is being tackled through the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Chanakya Seetharam – African children are starving and other lies about development

Chanakya Seetharam is in Year 9 at Queen Elizabeth’s. Fascinated by the ground-breaking progress humanity has made, in his talk he illuminates his audience on some of these developments. Chanakya discusses the negative outlook which, in his experience, people have towards the world, exploring both our incorrigible pessimism as well as the urgent need for a shift in our worldview.

Ms Eleanor Pickering – Embracing vulnerability

Eleanor is an English teacher at Queen Elizabeth’s School. She graduated from the University of Oxford in 2013. Before becoming a teacher, Eleanor worked for BAFTA in press and public relations. She is passionate about the power of storytelling – be this through literature, film or television.

Eleanor talks about the need to embrace vulnerability as a way to build resilience – something she wish she knew when she was at school.

Aadam Aslam – Covid-19 and the role of social media

Aadam Aslam is in Year 8 and since a young age he has always wanted to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. He also has a deep passion for sports such as rugby and cricket.

Aadam will talk about the role of social media over the years, especially its impact during the pandemic. He will also look at the history of social media and how it could be a wonderful thing if fake news was abolished.

Jeevan Thiyagarajan – Perspective

Jeevan Kathick Thiyagarajan is in Year 7 at Queen Elizabeth’s. He has shown interest in public speaking from the age of 4 and has given multiple speeches at his school. He also enjoys playing his guitar, drums and flute and is part of the School’s ensemble. His favourite sport is water polo, where he represents the School.

Jeevan talks about how perspective can influence anybody’s view on everyday situations. He is a strong believer in optimism and seeing the greater picture and the good in all. In this speech, he shares an interesting story and motto to overcome daily challenges.

Sayon Choudhuri – Politics is nothing more than medicine on a larger scale

Sayon Choudhuri is in his first year of A-level studies here at Queen Elizabeth’s. From a young age, he has been in awe of the complexity of the human body, and is fascinated by how much we have yet to discover about it.

Here, Sayon explores a quote from Rudolph Virchow, reflecting on the dynamic between medicine and politics. He considers the importance of public health to society, asking why we still have public health at the mercy of politics. Instead, he proposes the importance of a government that is rooted in public health needs.

Mr Surya Bowyer – Why save a tree?

Surya Bowyer is Head of Library Services and Curator of Collections at Queen Elizabeth’s. He has an interest in the history of science and has worked with the Science Museum, London.

In his talk, Surya asks a question: Why save a tree? His talk ranges from Canada to Scotland, considering topics such as tax incentives, the so-called Wood Wide Web, and the history of Queen Elizabeth’s School.

Prabav Santhosh Kumar – Your brain is blind

Prabav Santhosh Kumar is a Lower Sixth Form student passionate about neuroscience in medicine. He talks about our senses: how through them, we perceive our surroundings and how our brains frequently change the true image of the world around us. Can we trust all that we experience?

The TEDxQESchool Team

Special thanks go to the fantastic team of students who filmed and edited the talks and oversaw the technical aspects of the event.

Curating Committee:

Vineeth Rajan – Chair

Mark Markov – Curator, Outreach Manager

Christan Emmanuel – Curator

Ben Yau – Chair

Rehearsal Logistics:

Vineeth Rajan – Cameras, Manager

Dharun Srirathan – Sound

Shilacshan Lingakumar – Operations

Christan Emmanuel – Operations

Mark Markov – Speaker Feedback

Indrajit Datta  – Sound

Arjun Patel – Lighting

Event Logistics:

Vineeth Rajan – Balcony Cameraman

Dharun Srirathan – Sound

Shilacshan Lingakumar – Sound Assistant, Microphones

Kritik Pant – Camera Assistant, Helper

Yashas Rautela – Camera Assistant, Helper

Christan Emmanuel – Side Cameraman


Vineeth Rajan and Dharun Srirathan – Chief Editors

Mingda Santos – Co-editor

Staff organisers:

Mr Crispin Bonham-Carter (Assistant Head, Pupil Involvement)

Mrs Nisha Mayer (Head of Academic Enrichment)

Mr Tom Foster (Academic Enrichment Tutor)

Mr Alex Czirok-Carman (Academic Enrichment Tutor)


This independent TEDx event is operated under licence from TED.