Anticipation for Scotland is boiling


*Picture taken from section*

TED2011 & TEDActive 2011 “The Rediscovery of Wonder” has already concluded, but it left one great impression on me that more may be in store for TEDGlobal 2011 “The Stuff of Life”. Already, some of the talks are making their way to TED but some of my favorites are as follows:

  1. AlJazeera’s Director General talks about the power of people in revolutions.
  2. Anthony Atala’s pioneering effort of printing functioning human kidneys for patients have served to showcase the power of what is yet to come. This could probably address the shortage of organs and possibly kill the illegal black market for organs.
  3. Salman Khan’s riveting talk about reversing the schooling paradigm with the Khan Academy, as it’s already being tested in a school in CA.

So much has transpired, yet only so many days are left till I venture out to Scotland. Just seeing the above three has already renewed my enthusiasm and commitment for what I want to engage in after my return. Watching these talks from my home, as I gear up to attend TEDGlobal (Probably the youngest person from the Middle East), I’m only expecting surprises galore.

I can’t leave out TEDActive, a live webcast to a nearby location but is still a full-fledged TED. Some say it’s the open-source version of TED, as it’s more intimate setting and smaller attendance help to drive and channel their energy and focus towards projects that will go a long way to improving the societal welfare. Only 500 people attend TEDActive and that’s 1/3 of the 1500 that come to TED in Long Beach, CA. Let’s not forget TEDGlobal as that only takes in 750 people from all over the world.

I’ve been following 2 people (Giorgio Ungania and James Piecowye) who recently went to TEDActive 2011, and they shared their experience with meeting other individuals. The main highlight has been the 6 different projects that people group to tackle. Even Twestival founder Amanda Rose apparently attended TEDActive 2011, judging from her interview in The Huffington Post. She was diligently focused on Social Networks, but I’m keenly interested to see the synergy with Education and Social Networks. Both are projects that I love to tackle, and I would love to cooperate with either of them to extend that here and tap the abundant youth entering the universities in Education City and around Doha. There’s even a likelihood that I’ll meet one of them in Scotland, if he does choose to attend TEDGlobal. Just following these people shows you the power of Social Networks and how they can make you feel that you are physically present at a place even if it’s spanning across multiple time zones. If you feel that your grey matter is tickling, you can learn more about the projects at and many more things courtesy of the TEDx blog.

Regarding preparations, there’s not much that I need to do except waiting for the UK visa letter that I’ll submit with my application. Packing is not going to be an issue, as it’s only for a week. As for lodging, I’m still looking into more affordable locales that are easy commute to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Out of the options that TED gave me, it may sound absurd but Hilton was the cheapest. I’m looking outside their offerings for something suitable that will maek me want to explore Scotland. I’m already thinking about what else to take, but also a way of keeping track of all things TED.

That’s where the Moleskine notebooks come in. Having just bought a Moleskine portfolio binder, I was dumbfounded about which notebook to buy – there are just soo many of them. I thought about the travel series, but they don’t have one for Edinburgh. At least some friends have intervened and lent their counsel, but now I’m stuck with something I’ve coined ‘Moleskine-ache’. I still have plenty of time to finalise a decision, but I’m not leaving without something that will help me keep a journal of things in Scotland. At least I shared some of my love and insights at the newly launched MyEducationCity website (They had asked me to write something about my journey).

All I know is that I want something secured before I depart. I have a lot of people who are depending on me, and the last thing I want is no fulltime employment. I don’t want to disappoint them, but I will acknowledge them when the time comes. They are the ones who have contributed to making this possible. Worst comes to worst, it may even damper my plans for Scotland – maybe even push it back to next year. Graduating from Carnegie Mellon in Qatar with my diploma in May, I’m praying that something will come by and that companies in Doha should step up their game rather than idling around.

Only another 120 days to go till TEDGlobal begins …

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