TEDxAruba strives for sustainable innovation, new business creation and bringing idea’s to live, not only for Aruba, but also for other similar small economies and the rest of the world.n Check out the amazing speaker line-up:

Arnaud Collery

Arnaud is CEO of Kikai Mining, a Happiness Agency, whose goal is to create happiness in any shape or form – technology, workshops, events or films. His techniques comes from his diverse background, acting, directing,innovation and having lived with “happy” tribes in Africa and South America. Arnaud has created hackathons for local government or happiness workshops / conferences for companies such as Chanel, Cartier, Novartis, World Economic Forum Global Shapers, in NY, Europe and all over the Middle East. He is an award winning comedian (Last Comic Standing quarter finalist 2008), filmmaker (Little Klaus Big World, best comedy film at the Monaco film festival in 2012) and tech creative (AT&T Hollywood Hackathon winner 2012). He has been featured on CTTV China, TBS Japan, KTLA, KPCC, NBC, MTV, E! as well as the Huffington Post.


Dr. Koert van Mensvoort

Dr. Koert van Mensvoort (1974) is an artist, technologist and philosopher best known for his work on the philosophical concept of Next Nature, which revolves around the idea that our technological environment has become so complex, omnipresent and autonomous that it is best perceived as a nature of its own. It is his aim to better understand our co-evolutionary relationship with technology and help set out a track towards a future that is rewarding for both humankind and the planet at large. Among his works are the NANO Supermarket (a traveling exhibition disguised as a supermarket that that presents speculative future technologies), the Datafountain (an internet enabled water fountain connected to money currency rates) and the book ‘Next Nature: Nature changes along with us’, the documentary ‘Daddy! The Woods smell of Shampoo’ – among many other things. Van Mensvoort directs the Next Nature Network in Amsterdam and is a fellow at Eindhoven University of Technology.

Glenn Thodé

Glenn Thodé (Bonaire, 1965) is the Rector of the University of Aruba since January 2012. He has a PhD in Criminal Law. In Groningen he trained as both researcher and university lecturer. Though he has a PhD in Criminal Law, he has also researched and published in the areas of environmental law and sustainability. With support of the World Wildlife Fund he wrote proposal legislation that he submitted to the Government of Aruba for the institution of three different nature reserves in Aruba, being terrestrial, wetland and marine reserves. The legal protection of the National Park Arikok is a result of this work and the Marine Park is under consideration by Aruba’s Government. At the moment he is leading the University of Aruba in a collaborative process to develop a Green Faculty Initiative for Aruba. This initiative also envisions a transformation of the University of Aruba that will propel higher education in Aruba into the information and collaboration age.

Jan Ten Hove

When Jan ten Hove works with a team, he starts with seeking clarity about the team’s goal. In the military philosophy ‘mission command’ the goal consists of a clear, what and why, and not the way it is achieved. Absolute clarity about a team goal gives focus and success. Jan has helped develop visions, missions and values and implemented them in the companies he worked with such as Bacardi, Grohe, Kenya Airways and Walmart. After three years as a consultant, Jan returned to the Marine Corps and is now the Commander of Marine Corps Base Savaneta in Aruba. The mission command philosophy with a yearly goal is implemented and last year the vision is defined: To become Aruba’s maritime security partner in 2017.

Joseph Simcox

Nature and human tradition are Joseph’s inspiration. His pursuits of knowledge around the globe have been frenetic. In the last 14 years he has led over 300 expeditions to the farthest flung reaches of the planet. His motive? To discover, document and share with the world a story: the story of man in relation to plants and food. Joseph Simcox, “The Botanical Explorer” is a world expert on the world’s food plant resources and arguably has tracked down and eaten more plants than anyone else on the planet. He is also a world renowned seed collector and speaks all over the world about the future of food. He has lectured at venues across the globe and is on the beat to spread the message that the pessimistic portrayal of future food security is the gross and uneducated result of a narrow interpretation of food plant resources.

Maite Hontelé

Trumpeter Maite Hontelé, Dutch by birth but Colombian by heart. Her music is an invitation to be happy, to enjoy good taste and to Caribbean nostalgia. It is a perfect blend of European elegance and tropical color and joy. This has been reflected on her 3 albums: Llegó la Mona, Mujer Sonora and Déjame así, which was nominated in 2014 for a Latin Grammy in the category Best Salsa Album. Her first big tour was life-changing. She went to Colombia, the country where she now lives. In 2004, Maite toured with the world-famous Buena Vista Social Club. In 2009 Maite launched her first album, Llegó la Mona, a salsa-tribute to Colombian music. That year turned out to be very important for her. Not only did Maité record her first album, touring Colombia and playing at the Medellin Jazz Festival, she found the place where she wanted to continue to live and make music. That’s when she decided to move to Medellin.

Rachel Brathen

Swedish native Rachel Brathen is a New York Times best selling author, motivational speaker and international yoga teacher residing in Aruba. Rachel’s Instagram account @yoga_girl has over 1.6 million followers – making it the largest yoga account in the world. Rachel is known for her inspirational inversion practice and inverted poses into her classes, breaking challenging asana down into steps making them accessible for all levels. She is also one of the first people in the world to take yoga from the mat and onto a paddle board, and she teaches SUP Yoga (Stand-Up Paddle board Yoga) in all of her retreats and also at festivals and events in different countries around the world. Rachel released her first book this year, “Yoga Girl”. Part self-help and part memoir, YOGA GIRL is an inspirational, full-color look at the adventure that took her from her hometown in Sweden to the jungles of Costa Rica and finally to a paradise island in the Caribbean that she now calls home.

Raffy Kock

Raffy Kock is an Aruban born and raised Architect with a passion for happy environments. He has a Msc. in Architecture and Urbanism in Delft, the Netherlands. As a student, Raffy discovered the city of Barcelona and subsequently got the chance to work at the British Architecture Firm in Madrid. Exploring the neighborhoods and large parks of Madrid helped mature Raffy’s ideas about urban design. In 2010 he got the opportunity to work as a project coordinator at the Ministry of Infrastructure. There he oversaw the Government’s ambitious urban renovation projects. Raffy was instrumental in the design and execution of a linear park, the thorough renovation of Oranjestad, a new Cruise Terminal and neigborhood-upgrading projects. Raffy is currently directing his own startup. His firm was instrumental in securing a multimillion-dollar project for the Portuguese firm Mota Engil – a 21km project that will provide a new ring road around Oranjestad, combined with biking and walking paths.

Roel van Rijsewijk

Associate Partner of Deloitte with more than 15 years of experience working for technology enabled businesses in the field of risk management and corporate responsibility. Roel has led a team of 150 professionals with a broad range of advisory and implementation experts that help organizations assess risk, establish risk appetite, address regulatory requirements and manage organizational transformation, combined with ethical hackers and deep technical expertise based in our Cyber Intelligence Centers. In 2015 Roel gave up his partnership at Deloitte and his equity share in the firm to become a senior Fellow of Deloitte’s Centre for the Edge – a research facility that helps senior executives make sense of and profit from emerging opportunities on the edge of business and technology.

Sir Edward Cheung

Edward was born on the island of Aruba and grew up in the town of San Nicolas. He earned his Ph.D. in the field of Electrical Engineering and Robotics from Yale University, and has worked for the past 20+ years at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt Maryland. Along the way, he has worked on several subsystems on the Hubble Space Telescope. Examples include the electrical design of portions of the electrical power system, the cryogenic cooling system, the repair of the Advanced Camera for Surveys, and the Wide Field Camera 3. This latter instrument is currently Hubble’s flagship scientific camera. More recently he has been building hardware that is in flying on the International Space Station and researches technology to be able to service and repair satellites in space. Edward is the recipient of NASA’s Exceptional Engineering Award, and has been recognized by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands who bestowed on Edward Knighthood in the Royal Order of the Netherlands Lion.

Vanessa Benlolo

Native Aruban Vanessa Benlolo is a trailblazing entrepreneur, executive coach and co-founder of Yeplive™, a social media platform that allows users to connect globally through live experiences. Vanessa started her career in the plastics industry where she saw there was a need for biodegradable polymers and then a new role at Univar, focusing on Chemical Manufacturing and Renewable Energy. Vanessa holds the position that the first step to meeting the population’s needs is awareness and then a balancing of global resources with global demand. With this mission in mind, Vanessa believes Yeplive™ can be the tool that sheds light on where we have excessive resources and where there is an unmet demand creating a virtual bridge to empower people to help each other globally. Yeplive™ has been met with much acclaim and has been featured in TechCrunch, Canadian Reviewer, ListHunt, Launch, Technology Personalized, and IT Business.

Varelie Croes

Varelie is an Aruban born and raised tech entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of New York based venture firm, The Liv Group, built upon a global community of forward-thinking founders and mentors who are changing the way we think, live and do business. Varelie also Co-Founded ATECH* (Aruba Technology) Startup Conference and Accelerator, an initiative to boost the startup and technology ecosystem in Aruba. She believes innovation and education are no longer distinct. To build a sustainable society in the new economy, communities and organizations should invest in tools and resources to support learning, curiosity and experimentation at all ages. Varelie is a thought leader on the new economy, and has been featured in Forbes magazine and other international publications. She was named a global change maker by the World Bank Youth Steering Committee and leads an independent working group that focuses on innovative finance solutions for women entrepreneurs in developing countries.