Sunday, 11 October 2015 16:44

True heroes are right among us

Speaker, Christothea Pelekanou aka 'Super Granny' Speaker, Christothea Pelekanou aka 'Super Granny'

On October 3, TEDx Limassol did justice to the organisation’s motto ‘Ideas worth sharing’. A fully booked Rialto Theatre welcomed an audience from all ages and walks of life, filling the air with anticipation and excitement. The atmosphere around the stalls, the lobby and the auditorium alike was filled with the same sense of enthusiasm and curiosity; people meeting, exchanging and — most importantly — feeling inspired.

A wide variety of topics
The theme ‘True Heroes’ was explored from different angles by local and global speakers. They encouraged reflection on topics ranging from neuroscientific discoveries, artificial intelligence and telepresence to overprotective parenting, combating animal trafficking and the intrinsic need for art to have an audience – all of them finishing their short talks to rapturous applause.

A Cypriot ‘Super Granny’
One speaker who left the stage to standing ovations was Christothea Pelekanou, a 74-year-old Cypriot who started Law School at 68. She recounted her life and her story of determination to not let go of her dreams. “Let’s have a vision! We must all have a vision,” the ‘super grandma’ finished her captivating talk.

The daughter of Bruce Lee
One of the highlights was Shannon Lee, daughter of movie legend Bruce Lee, who chairs the board of directors of the Bruce Lee Foundation, a public charity, whose global mission is to pass on Lee’s legacy, which is beyond martial arts and his movies. She shared simple steps to being a true hero in real life:  Start feeling instead of thinking. What you want to do and what you actually do should be one and the same. Be in harmony with the rest of the world. The hero sets out to fulfil his mission with complete faith in himself.

Photographing superheroes
Another speaker was Hollywood photographer Peter Tangen, who told the audience about the project which involved over 100 ‘super heroes’ he discovered and who dressed up as super heroes to go out into their community to make a difference. He had travelled to meet them and create a poster and video collection available free online. It aims to show the one thing they all have in common: under their masks they are just everyday people, teaching us that it is everyday gestures that make a true hero. “Look around you, heroes are all around, you may just be one of them!”

Everyone can be a hero
In an interview with the Cyprus Weekly, Tangen, who had taken his first pictures at the age of four, shared that he is a twin, raised by a single ‘hero’ mother. At the age of 14, he knew he wanted to be a photographer.

What does he see in people when he first meets them? He sees their gifts and believes compassion is something everyone carries within. What inspires him? People who are engaged and live in the now.

He explained that he does not really get to meet the movie stars he works with on a personal level, he has a friendly working relationship with them, but just like the real life heroes of his project, they are ‘just people’ – most of them charismatic and some exceptionally kind.

But in real life just like in films, we need heroes and each of us can be one. “Just imagine,” the congenial photographer concluded passionately, “If all of us make a difference in just 1% of people’s lives around us — the impact is massive!”

Pictures and live-streams of the event are available via the TEDxLimassol Facebook page. More about Peter Tangen can be found at

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of October 2nd 2015 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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