Charting the Road to TEDGlobal 2011

*Dedicating this entry to 5 special people – which means you should read the whole entry to learn more about them*
By the time this post is published, it would be either of the following: I’m a day away before I board my flight to Edinburgh, or I’m already enroute to TEDGlobal 2011 with no net access. Before that, I’d like to share some good news with you. If you read my previous post, you may have seen a Storify link/embed view about my story on TEDTalks 5 years celebration (Catch it here). Well, here’s the surprise:
it was featured on the home page of Storify (Photo taken on June 30, 2011).
I thought I’d end up doing something like sightseeing around the outer city area on the Sunday before the conference program begins, but looks like I’ll be spending the day with at least 110 TEDx organizers. That will be a great time for me to learn more from others and for pointers on what I should be incorporating into my TEDx event. In addition, even planning out as to how I’ll be able to blog each day is kind of becoming a physics problem, but I decided to take preemptive action and have certain posts pre-typed with each day’s program in mind. That way, when I note down things as they unfold, I’m in the best position to arrange and type them up before being published. Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare will be my auxiliary sources that augment & supplement my accounts on my trusty Moleskine notebook.

Just to give you some scope, I’m already imagining it to be back-to-back roller-coaster rides with the 24-style adrenaline-pumping cinematic induced action. Sounds magnanimous, but that shouldn’t deter my readers from keeping up with live updates. Meeting Bruno Guissani, Lara Stein, and Ronda Carnegie in person has fueled me up for one amazing adventure. Program schedule, pre-conference tour with Arup Tour on Hollistic Sustainability and dockyard building with a supercrane ‘Goliath’, TED workshops, movie screening + workshop with Google, and more that combines with my bucketlist ( I guess I’m all set for the adventure.
However, I’m taking this moment to thank a few people who have helped to make this journey a reality. When my acceptance came, it came at a time when I couldn’t come up with the necessary support and my window of opportunity was during the holidays when people were out of the country. I reached out to few friends whom I believe would contribute and support me in this endeavor, as I believe in them. It overlaps with Carnegie Mellon and LeaderShape, so these people have made it worthwhile.
This journey has finally culminated after my acceptance to TEDGlobal on December 25, 2010. From that day, I have been planning my TEDx event with the hope that I would be awarded my license well before the main conference. Without further ado, let me introduce you to some of these people:

(Saad Rashid Al-Matwi)


(Ramsey Ramadan)


(Mohammed Al-Haddad)

Saad Rashid Al-Matwi (TPR’ 2010) and Ramsey Ramadan (TPR’ 2009) graduated from Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s Tepper School of Business, and the latter went on to pursue graduate school at Duke University. Mohammed Al-Haddad is a rising senior in the Information Systems program, and will be graduating in May 2012. Though they are all Tartans at heart, they have also attended The LeaderShape Institute; Saad, Ramsey and I attended the inaugural international session in March 2007 (before they moved it to the chilly and breezy winter period of January), while Haddad attended in January 2009. You could say that the camaraderie and our willingness to create positive change to improve society have kept us together, strengthening what we have learned so that we always ‘lead with integrity’ (LeaderShape’s favorite words of wisdom to be imparted). When I shared the news that I neede some support for making this adventure a reality, neither of them hesitated and were upfront with their contribution.

(Inaugural international session of The LeaderShape Institute in 2007 [Doha, Qatar – students from the Qatar campuses of Texas A&M, VCU and CMU])


(Wishwesh Pandya)

Wishwesh Pandya is another good friend of mine, who has certain Carnegie Mellon ties through one of our common friends who graduated in 2010. We’re almost like an Army Of Two most of the times, as he’s dedicating his time to a career in the private equity with his passion for corporate finance (How coincidental that even our common friend is also shares his same passion, mingling with the big names in Wall Street).
These 4 have greatly contributed to my trip and allowed me to meet the necessary expenses, but destiny unraveled a surprise contribution from another fellow friend who graduated from Carnegie Mellon. Mohammed Al-Ibrahim (TPR’ 2009), another graduate from Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s Tepper School of Business, is someone that I knew from the day since we entered college together.

(Mohammed Al-Ibrahim)

Out of the ordinary, he put forward his contribution along with a few words: “You never know when you might need it.” As he manages his startup that is gaining fast traction and recognition while moonlighting with his day job at the Qatar Investment Authority, I know that he’s destined for great things. He has a bright future planned for the country, and I can already see him being an very influential figure in the Qatar community down the road. Out of all the people here, he’s one you can find on Twitter (@BuHardan). To all Qataris, heed my words that you should follow his ventures unlike those who just sit around and rake the money with no incentive to take risks.
To wrap this up, these 5 people are almost like the very 5 fingers each of my hand – I could even call them the 5 elementals of water, fire, wind, earth, and quintessence. With them, I grasp hold of the very belief, responsibility, commitment, and determination that has brought me this far. This has motivated me to push on and take this journey of not only further discovering myself, but also to help change the world one person/action at a time. It may sound far-fetched, but these 5 haev made it a reality. When I return to Doha on July 19, things will never be the same as before.
You can even catch some of the action on the ‘Road to TEDGlobal 2011’ story:
No more countdowns, as only few days lay before me that builds up to the bombardment of ideas and the deluge of attendees converging at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

I hope to whisk all of you on an adventure spanning the Scottish Highlands that will take you on self-discovery with my updates on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and more (Just head to my link on the side for all of them).

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