TEDx Youth Speaker : Ekansh Tambe (Freshman at St. Mark's School of Texas)
Speaking Category : Inspirational, Diversity, Photography, World Borders, Immigration, Culture, Youth, Motivational, Art
Never has our country been more divided than on the issue of immigration. The debate over construction of a wall to secure the border with Mexico tops the headlines. The border passes through mountains, hills, desert, plains, rivers, canals, sand dunes, cities, and oceans. Every day, US Border Patrol agents risk their lives to serve us, spending their days in isolation, treacherous terrain, and extreme weather. My photography project chronicles the fence, the culture, and the people as I encountered them while on an eleven-day journey with my family along most of the 1,900 miles of the US-Mexican land border. Agents were kind to share their views on border security and the everyday challenges they face. Residents of both countries provided insight into their daily routines and their perspective on the border. As they shared inspiring and heartbreaking stories, I got a sense of the drug situation firsthand, hearing it from the people whose lives have been affected the most. As I listened, the impact the border has on citizens, residents, immigrants, and federal agents began to unfold.
In the December of 2017, I explored the border between North and South Korea with my dad and visited the DMZ, the Joint Security Area, a tunnel that North Korea dug to invade the South, and got a first hand view of the areas hit by the Korean War near the DMZ. The North Korean settlements just across the border gave me a sense of North Korean culture and people. The DMZ train and my discussions with the South Korean people led me to believe that peace is what's most important to Korean people.
In summer of 2018, as a part of my Boy Scouts Eagle project, Ashna (my younger sister) and I travelled Israel's borders with the West Bank (Palestine), Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Gaza. Amazing stories were told by residents of West Bank and Israel. To see the rockets fired by Gazan militants was nerve wracking. The humanitarian crisis along the borders seemed overwhelming. The hatred and tension between some Israelis and Palestinians could be felt during Hebron visit. However, it was great to see people of four religions living together in the old city of Jerusalem.
Currently, I am working on the Spain/Morocco Border project and a project related to the Berlin Wall.
I reside in Dallas with my parents, younger sister, and dog (Ricky). I love reading, traveling, meeting new people, playing ping pong with my sister, and competing in local tennis tournaments. Science is my favorite subject and I am intrigued by dominance and recessiveness in genetics. I love photography and have a collection of over ten thousand photos shot along the various borders I've visited, thanks to the mentoring and assistance from my parents. These days, I have been actively engaged in public speaking, educating citizens on borders and photography.
Past Speaking Experience : TEDx Plano, Dallas Business Leaders Round Table, Senior Center, Rotary Club, ToastMasters Int Club, Library, School and other civic clubs.
Author : The Great Divide - A Journey Across the US-Mexico Border https://www.amazon.com/GREAT-DIVIDE-Journey-Across-US-Mexican/dp/0578207095
Past Photo Exhibition Gallery : AddissonArt Program, 6 weeks Mar 2019 - Addison, Texas and Photo Gallery Exhibit at Plano Courtyard Theater