What you’re about to hear is something I had envisioned in a different perspective back in LeaderShape 2007 (first international campus session, and that was in Qatar) when I was still a Carnegie Mellon Qatar student. I know that it has taken this long for it to materialize as it went through much refinement, but I’m confident that these will be the first steps to making it happen. I’ve even had limited success on certain things, and I knew that I needed to push harder. Rather than starting from scratch, it made sense to use some of the current groundwork and build upon it for others to utilize.
My fellow readers and those currently living in Qatar, I present to you…
TEDxEducationCity & TEDxYouth@Doha
I was granted the license for the former after June 25, before my journey to TEDGlobal 2011. The latter one came about after my return on July 24, when the seeds were planted early in Scotland and they just grew out of proportion when it became deeply rooted into my conscience. I wanted to wait until after Ramadan to unveil this, as that’s when people would be wanting to have their ears open with the bustling of work and classes. Onward to the details…
It grew upon me when I felt indirect positive pressure and influence from people close to me (you know who you are!), and current problems that were hidden away. There was nobody willing to do something for a younger crowd, aside from just fun events for kids. The youth (11 – 18 years) were almost neglected, as if they didn’t have some intellectual platform to showcase their generation. I thought that if nobody will do it and set the benchmark, then I’ll rise up to the occasion and make it happen. That’s howTEDxYouth@Doha
This will be taking place on November 19
, a day before UN’s Universal Children’s Day and is still part of TEDxYouthDay as it joins many more happening across the globe. It’s already listed on the official TEDxYouthDay website
along with many others. The whole concept behind TEDxYouth started off as an experiment by the TEDx community, only for it to blossom beyond their wildest dreams. Thus, TED has officially marked November 20 as TEDxYouthDay along with the option to host a TEDx a day before and after. 60 events spanning 24 countries alone took place in November 2010. That number has grown significantly this year as it crossed the 80 mark, with Doha being one of them.
As this is the first such a type of event is taking place in Qatar, expectations may be high but I want to help set the benchmark so that I don’t under deliver and leaving a foul taste in people. It seems like the region is buried under all expensive showed glamor, but the basics of humanity and youth development still reinforces the societal foundation. I wanted to bring that to the frontline and the very group that sit atop a never ending reserve of potential to make it happen.
All you need to know is that November 19,2011 is when we join other TEDxYouthDay events around the world to empower and motivate the next generation of leaders to fulfill their vision of a great bright future.
I witnessed that there was something missing from my time at Carnegie Mellon. I think I could be speaking on behalf of others. it almost felt like everyone got the cold shoulder after they leave the cloistered walls and comfort of the academic environment. I came to Education City when there were only 3 buildings and barely anyone had heard of it. A year later, I witnessed a sudden boom that people were starting to learn more about the place and then successive years were competing to be part of it. Even Qatar Foundation embarked on their regional tours to high schools and marketing campaigns to educate the region and the whole world about the place.
I felt that there was a side to Education City that the public hasn’t seen. It’s not about just showing glamor on video and immense campaigns to make it look like a great place. I felt the humanity was almost washed away which made this a thriving melting pot of intellectual discourse. I had a soft spot for this place, as I still recall the decision I made to come to Qatar when everyone back in school jeered at me for what they dismissed as “throwing away my life and demeaning me of any respect”. HOW WRONG THEY WERE! It’s funny when the tables turn when people least expect it…
Coming back to the topic, I thought about bringing out the other side of Education City and the branch campuses. I knew that the TEDx platform would be the best, but I couldn’t think on that scale due to TED’s regulations. I knew that I had to go to a TED conference to make this a reality, even if it meant doing it as an alumni. TEDGlobal seemed like my best shot, and then it clicked through. All the planning has been on paper since then, and grew to massive proportions when I took input from other TEDx organizers that I met during the conference. I knew I had a couple of objectives to fulfill with this event:
- Bringing out the hidden side to the work done by individuals part of Education City
- Unifying the alumni pool scattered across the branch campuses so that the continuity of the multi-disciplinary work being done also extends beyond the academic confines
Sounds like quite a feat, but I’m not expecting to do this alone. I’m trying to build up a diverse team comprised of current students and alumni, especially those who are willing to rekindle their academic roots and the life they enjoyed as a student. Let’s not forget that many of them have also taken part in The LeaderShape Institute in Qatar since its first international session. Tapping into that pool would also help to bring people together who want to change and impact society in a positive manner. I’d say that each person’s individual vision could be realized if we all come together under one banner and work from there.
There’s a lot that has been unfolding at Education City, and I want to extend that back to their respective home campuses in the U.S. They are also part of the grand picture helping to shape the vision of this country’s future. You could say that by uniting the branch campuses here with their multi-disciplinary work that I’m also strengthening the relationships between the home campuses. You could say that not only 6 branch campuses are coming together, but also their home campuses that takes it to 12. All you need to know is that this is happening in Early 2012.
With both of these 2 TEDx events being under my curation, I have these common goals that I wish to fulfill:
- Educate the Qatar public about TED and TEDx, in a way that they would seek out and explore.
- Give everyone the TED-like experience just like mine at TEDGlobal
It may sound ambitious, but I learned something from 4 years ago at LeaderShape: “A healthy disregard for the impossible.” With the team that I’ve assembled to help me organize both of these events (some are even LeaderShape alumni), I’m certain that we can really bring people together. Just as how Chris Anderson renewed his appreciation of reading, I hope that I can instill and renew appreciation for talent and skills that transcend all political and ethnic boundaries that would wedge a divide between friends.