Second part of LeaderShape vision: TEDxEducationCity

Now that I have TEDxYouth@Doha under my belt as my first TEDx event post-TEDGlobal 2011, my efforts and attention have now shifted to the grand plan that was the primary reason for my efforts – TEDxEducationCity.

It’s been 3 years since TEDx was launched as an experiment to open up the TED platform to people around the world. Everyone would want to attend a TED Conference, but it’s a challenge moving atleast 700 people from place to place (Trust me on this, as I went to TEDGlobal). Now, I’m able to channel my 1st hand experience of having freshly organized a TEDx event towards this one taking place in April 2012.

This is something that I had envisioned differently when I went to LeaderShape, but I waited for the right opportunity to make this happen. It’s quite a useful fact to know that the very 1st TEDx event was a University event – TEDxUSC on March 29, 2009 (Read here for more). It was a pilot even that set the precedant for 1000s more TEDx events around the world. As of current numbers, there are over 3,000+ TEDx events and 13,000+ TEDxTalks; this number is set to further grow as it spreads around to many communities.

TED has learned a lot from 3 years of the TEDx platform being out in the open; using the concept of auditions by individual TEDx events and channeling it to a global search for TED2013: ‘The Young, The Wise. The Undiscovered’. I thought… why not take this further, especially for a University type event? Continue reading

First part of LeaderShape vision: TEDxYouth@Doha

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It’s been quite a while since I last posted something here. You could say that things got the better of me that I couldn’t even recollect and process all my thoughts into words.

Last time I left you open with my previous entry about how my LeaderShape vision now began to materialize into 2 separate and worthwhile TEDx events post-TEDGlobal 2011. What were they? TEDxYouth@Doha in November 19, 2011 and TEDxEducationCity in Q1 2012 (Check it here for a flashback).

I’ve been working with a team of 16 people including myself to pull-off the 1st TEDxYouthDay in Qatar as it joined more than 100+ other events around the globe to celebrate UN Universal Children’s Day. As it had to be held between November 19 – 21 to count as part of TEDxYouthDay, it was evident that 19th was the only option as it was a Saturday.

I had even taken part in a TED Conversation, and then I was quoted for my answers when they had put up a blog entry on their official TEDx blog (Check out the entry here). Just the significance of my contribution being featured further reinforced my commitment to making this event worthwhile for the youth.

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What was our biggest challenge?

How do we educate and inform the youth about TED and TEDx?

It seemed like insurmountable odds, and I predicted that more than 75% of them woul not even know about it. Compound this with trying to cover as many schools as possible, and that also under different education systems. Quite a feat to pull off, especially when I still recall the reasons on why I chose to make it happen; you could say that TED, the TEDx and TED team, and even people from Qatar were the source. Some were not open to such things as they haven’t kept pace with new educational breakthroughs, while others were keen on experimenting with it and dove in head first.

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Florent and Omer (pictured above, who are also LeaderShape graduates in Qatar) from Northwestern University supported me from the early days (which was from October 2010). Here’s another thing about these two: they also attended LeaderShape’s 25th anniversary celebration when they were studying abroad in Evanston, IL. They even jumped aboard for TEDxYouth@Doha since the very day I got my license approved. You won’t believe how long it took to get it. Any guesses? (Hint: it won’t be as long as you would normally think)

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Then began our efforts to build up our team to handle the potential influx of more than 300+ youth. We chose to set a benchmark for what should be done in Qatar; our event was bilingual with live translation, and we went out of our way to make our event fully accessible that would be all-inclusive. Nobody would be turned away if they had any disability, as we felt that everyone should have the opportunity of being part of a global conversation about the youth’s shared future. We even took it further to have it livestreamed for the world to see and enjoy. Continue reading

TEDxEducationCity and TEDxYouth@Doha

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… Continue reading

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: 

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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.

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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 (http://yasserk86.tumblr.com/post/6687990650/the-tedglobal-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. Continue reading

From LeaderShape to TEDGlobal and TEDx

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It almost seemed like yesterday that I came back from 6 days of energized learning, but I’ve marked almost 4 years since I went to LeaderShape. You’re probably thinking the relevance to this blog…

Something I didn’t anticipate actually happened on February 14 as I was responding to Facebook posts – I saw my name and Posterous blog link on LeaderShape’s fan page and Twitter feed with these words:

LeaderShape grad Yasser Masood heading to TEDGlobal. Wow!.

I was just in awe, thinking how did they even unearth my blog (Could I attribute it to my tagging and mention of LeaderShape?). However, I was happy and glad of the short amount of fame I garnered; I manage to spread the word to certain people. It kind of helped to rekindle my purpose for Continue reading

Scotland is TEDGlobal…and home of Andrew Carnegie

As I’ve already paid my registration fees in full courtesy of the support of few of my friends who have helped me to realize this opportunity, I have shifted my focus to other things that have already ramped up my excitement. Just being selected to attend TED fresh out of college is already a big enough accomplishment for myself, even though I have no other big honors to boast about besides going to LeaderShape (Makes me feel proud and happy that Google’s co-founder and now CEO Larry Page is a LeaderShape graduate). Now I’ve got a nice personalized branding strategy to boast.
Even though the conference has now relocated to Scotland to accomodate for future growth, I realized that one thing has slipped my mind. I failed to notice this oblivious fact when Continue reading