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“Somos aquilo que fazemos daquilo que a vida fez com a gente” (We are what we make out of what life has brought to us)
Otto Nascarella, Brazilian singer, inspired by Jean-Paul Sartre

This quote is “the story of my life in 12 words,” says the Brazilian filmmaker Elizabeth Rocha Salgado. “I take all that life has (or doesn’t have) to offer for me and try to create something out of it. Do things with what I have. Transform.”

Elizabeth Rocha Salgado

The reason why Elizabeth became and still is a documentary filmmaker is directly connected to the sense of urgency that she feels to show and tell what is happening around her and how she feels about it. “I am driven by a strong desire to do something that will stimulate some kind of change,” she says.

A Brazilian documentary maker with a mission

At TEDxMaastricht 2015, Elizabeth will present a lesser known image of her country of birth today: “I want to talk about the current political and social situation in Brazil by sharing my own story. I want to show what it is like to live in my country and I also want to share the possibilities that I see for change.”

Elizabeth’s favourite TED talk is “The danger of a single story” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She explains why: “From my own experience after living in many countries, I can identify with the message of how easy it is to fall into critical misunderstanding when we encounter another person or culture. I have learned how important it is to give space to another view, another interpretation.”

Now living between Rio de Janeiro and in Prague, Elizabeth focuses on making human interest documentaries about social issues. She tries to find out how more humanity and understanding can transform our lives.

Elizabeth Rocha Salgado

Learn to listen and listen to learn

Her advice to the new generation can be summarised in one word: “Listen”.

For Elizabeth, listening in its true sense means “letting go of your own thoughts and views and concentrating on other human beings, their message and their existence”.

“When we listen,” she explains, “our soul is passive in relation to the outside world, it gets exposed to all the perceptions that come from it, it is capable of being taken by surprise. Surprised and delighted, or shaken. To really listen involves undressing ourselves from our prejudices, from our truths, our certainties. It means putting ourselves into the other.”

Are you ready to listen to Elizabeth Rocha Salgado’s story on 12 October? We at TEDxMaastricht definitely are.

By Sueli Brodin
TEDx Maastricht communications

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