Above, beyond and equal to TED

Since getting my UK visa, it’s been very quiet. A nice way to focus on what needs to take place in the coming weeks. I have been tirelessly counting down the days for myself, just so that I get away from the humid heat of Doha and to the very chilly and monsoon-ish downpour that I would witness in Edinburgh come July. With that wait, I guess I could confess that quite a good number of things have unfolded.

Knowing that weeks are shrinking by the day leading up to the week of the event, there’s one thing I may have overlooked – my TED badge. Luckily, the TED team sent out an email to have it ‘designed’ (No visual nor artistic flair; just your creative conversation opening topics and a nice photo). Security does play a role at TED, especially when it has hosted Former Prime Minister of UK Gordon Brown and even Wikileaks Julian Assange. When you have such high-profile people coming in, you know that you don’t want strangers to wander in and cause a ruckus. So, I thought that I’d reflect on my TED public profile (Surprisingly, it shows up on Google search results and helps to put me out there) and see what 3 conversational openers I could think. It didn’t have to be catchy and only one word, but I had30 characters for good amount of flexibility. So what did I come up with? Well, I didn’t want to have any flamboyant and fancy terminology, but chose to keep it simple yet also catches the eye of other attendees and even the TED organizers.

After putting in some work into fruitful conversaion openers, along with a suitable photo, the result ends up as: 
That’s not the only interesting thing, as I managed to snag another TED-related opportunity.


*Wadah Khanfar photo taken by Creative Commons Qatar is licensed under CC BY 2.0*

Now, I’m sure many of you are familiar with Creative Commons. Even better, you probably know organizations that use its licensing structure. Flickr and Vimeo would pop up, but don’t forget that TED even uses it for openly sharing their web-posted TED talks. Well, recently I was featured in the launch of Creative Commons Qatar. As this blog is licensed using that framework, it also ties into how we can encourage others to use the Net for further creating new original works yet also empowering others to share and remix them as needed. You can think of it as cyber crowd-sourcing. I’d say the biggest highlight of the launch was having the Director General of Al Jazeera Wadah Khanfar. On top of that, he was also the opening speaker at TED 2011 and you can watch his talk here:


A very moving talk that shed more light on how the Internet cannot be part of the same territorial and geographical jurisdiction of nations that would silence any dissent. Reiterating the ethos of this platform, Khanfar did state that the power of the Internet has democratized information and guarantees the right for people to view and use it while also helping to attribute the source. It already shows that Al-Jazeera and TED share the same value of openly disseminating information to the vast public around the world, while protecting the rights of authors and empowering them to decide on how to best use their content. Though I didn’t get the opportunity to personally meet him like how I did with Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, I could count him as the 2nd TED speaker I’ve met as they were physically present in my attendance.

In this day, we are now becoming more connected that our lives have intertwined between reality and cyberspace. Both are extensions to each other, and they also show how the power of video can change perceptions. Just as how TED Talks have inspired me to do what I’ve planned for my TEDx event, so to I hope that I could channel that level of empowerment and educate many on topics that the Middle East may have lacked to learn. As our Generation Y has now been a part of the technology and Internet growth courtesy of social media, I have taken it upon myself that I help bring the Middle East on par with the rest of the world. Hey, part of me is from Dubai, so I guess I’m entitled to something.

Though I didn’t get the opportunity to speak at TED U, as I would have used it to share what the Middle East is doing with regards to education, I’m hoping that my mingling with other attendees who have their share of contribution for those 5 days will help to ascertain possible ways to create meaningful impact for my TEDx event(s). As TED have recently released their 50 speaker slate accompanied by the scheduled talks divided into sessions, it has already excited me on what I would expect to learn on “The Stuff of Life”. You’ll here a little about my planned TEDx events leading upto and beyond the conference.

Only 36 more days to go till TEDGlobal 2011 (Can’t believe that the time is inching closer by the day) …

P.S: You can even view highlights of the Creative Commons Qatar launch here: http://storify.com/yasserm86/creative-commons-qatar-launch

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