TEDx event and TED speaker mashup

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Two things: First TEDx event in Education City and met a TED speaker.

It’s quite nice to see that TEDx fever is growing, especially when TED conferences keep on feeding us with their videos on their website. That didn’t stop one person from holding the first ever TEDx event in Education City, that also at Carnegie Mellon Qatar. The curator was none other than a CMUQ student, but it was nice to see the theme of “No Boundaries” on March 19, where I saw different spectrums of overcoming the boundaries erected by challenges. I could remember some as I try to list them:
  1. Fighting the notion of Arab women stereotypes through education courses, writings and research as said by Dr. Amal Al-Malki (First Qatari professor teaching in a American university, and she recently launched a book consisting of writings from her students involved in her classes).
  2. Bringing students together by channeling the power of mass collaboration by Abdalla Abdalla
  3. Empowering SMEs in the region with the right business intelligence that humanises data by Shams Hasan.
  4. Let’s not forget SPRITE from the activity (I can’t recall what each letter expanded the acronym, but it was insightful).

That was more than what I could recall, as my head was on the brink of imploding on all the talks presented. Those 6 hours really inspired me and helped to set the bar for what I want to host when I return after July 17 from TEDGlobal 2011. That’s where things will be taken to newer heights.

Already, I have thing planned out on paper for almost every excruciating detail as I want it to serve as a showcase of what Education City represents – for current students and alumni. You’ll have to wait post July 17 to hear more about this…

TEDxCMUQatar wasn’t the only thing, as I happened to have gotten another surprise that I was eager to see.

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Another serendipitous moment came when I heard that Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa was speaking at VCUQ’s Tasmeem Doha 2011 conference. Quite a coincidence that it was held on the very same day on CMUQ’s career fair. I don’t know how I pulled it off, but I decided that I needed to meet with him. Talk at 1:30 and I was just dropping my brother at home, I didn’t know if I could make it on time. Being a law abiding citizen, I stuck to the speed limit on the highways, as hastening my drive would possibly pose many risks. Luckily, I managed to make it – only to arrive in the last minutes of his talk when he discussed the Justice League/The 99 crossover. My interpretation: “Holy crossover, Batman!”, “Yes, boy wonder.” (Just reminded myself of the old 60s Batman show with Adam West). 

I almost didn’t recognize him when I first saw him but his voice gave it away.

You may not remember, but he spoke at TEDGlobal 2010 and received a standing ovation for his talk. If you haven’t seen his talk that garnered him a standing ovation, watch it here: 

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/naif_al_mutawa_superheroes_inspired_by_islam.html

After the talk, I managed to approach him and even shared my news that I’ll be going to TEDGlobal. He even mentioned that he was quite nervous when he prepared for it, and highly regarded it as a worthwhile adventure to be experienced. Even managed to snag a photo with him.

Now I know what I’m looking forward to come July 9th, 2011. Now that I got my invitation letter from TED, I’m already in the process of applying for my UK visa. Im still nailing down my hotel reservations, while job hunting before I leave from Doha. Otherwise, I’ll have to leave the country after graduation. Concurrently, I have 3 months to either cancel or transfer my sponsorship; the latter is only possible when I have a job at hand. What could even be riskier is if I won’t be able to complete the transfer process when departure comes. I’ll see what I can muster up to pull it off.

Only another 97 more days to go till TEDGlobal begins …

(Photos credit to Dawood Al-Anwari [VCU-Q Graphic Design student])

 

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