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An Active Conference Driven By Powerful Questions
Sloane Scott, a sophomore at Battle High School in Columbia, MO will be doing just that on March 21-22 for the annual What if...? Conference. According to Scott, city government is missing qualities found in the younger generations and artists.
Her question, “What If Humanity's Greatest Trait Can Be Found Within Our Artists and Children?” will be presented to an audience then discussed to create conversation and action. Scott’s goal is to start working with the City of Columbia to create a committee to bring in youth and creative voices.
Topics for presentations vary as much as the backgrounds of the audience members because audience members are off-stage presenters. “What If the US Has Less Privacy than the USSR?” is the question posed by Dr. Richard Stallman, founder of GNU (the core of most Linux distributions)
Jennifer Shaw, founder of Bella Minds and NYTechWomen, is also a presenter at the What if...? Conference. Shaw will ask “What If New York City Resources were Brought to Rural America?”. According to Shaw, affordable and accessible opportunities to learn about technology are scarce in rural America. Shaw seeks to create more opportunities like Bella Minds’ learning and mentorship program in rural America, especially for women.
These are three out of twenty questions at the third What If...? Conference. After a block of presentations, the audience breaks into groups to discuss the questions and design action steps.
What If...? has been spurring communities into thought and action since 2010. The What If...? Conference is a place to ask questions that matter and do something about them. What If...? at large has a book offer from Chronicle Books, holds workshops for educators, students, and writers, writes for the Huffington Post and presents at TEDx and TEDxCity2.0, all using their model for thoughtful questions and efficacious action.
Andrew R McHugh