TEDx Event 2012

‘Rethinking Pakistan’ [and my expression goes LOL and I will explain why] was the theme of the conference which took place at margalla hills Islamabad on March 31st 2011 organized by TEDx, lets just summarize here what TEDx is; before we further dig into the “theme” and happenings of this conference.

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) and ‘x’ denotes the independently organized events under the TED umbrella, mission is “Ideas worth spreading” and this events basically brings together individuals, communities and organizations with the opportunity to excite dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level (geographically). The programs combine live presenters, performers and pre-recorded talks from some of the most brilliant and successful people according to the theme. The program promises an inspirational journey (as per the creators) to all the attendees and live viewers (live broadcast was arranged too)

Coming back to subject of current happening at margalla where some great professionals and entrepreneurs were invited as speakers, I would like to mention a few names like Prof. Adil Najam (Vice Chancelor – LUMS), Asad Umer (Chairman – Engro Ltd.), Flora Mehmood (Educationist) and Sami Shah (Pakistan’s first stand up English comedian); an event worth attending for the way it was organized and arranged, perfect audio visual arrangements, dazzling lights and glowing intellectuals and yet one gets confused about the theme….

Why exactly are we rethinking Pakistan? No body mentioned the need (none I heard of), and where did the concept/theme come from? I thought the mission was ideas worth spreading and I disagree with the idea of re-thinking Pakistan, for the Love of GOD we are not even thinking about Pakistan and yet spending millions from a so called non for profit to organize such a confusing event? Who are we trying to inspire here and with what? Or are we saying that those who gave the idea of Pakistan and sacrificed their lives in thinking and executing this idea were wrong? This takes me to the comedian Sami Shah, exactly why wouldn’t we need a comedian for such an event? After all when the whole world is making a joke out of Pakistan why not doing it locally as well? All the event organizers want their events to be famous and well attended and what better ways are there to do that than having comedians and theater performers at such a noble theme.

Nobody at the event mentioned any outcomes from the TEDx event which took place in 2010 and I doubt anyone has any idea about the outcomes of this event either, so if we have to just simulate dialogues and present inspirational speeches, why cant we just listens to our politicians (who are by the way good ONLY at doing so), why wasting time of such brilliant (and busy) people along with all the attendees (who will only get inspired and later on do nothing)? All those shiny cars, red carpet arrangements, flowers and smiles…. For rethinking Pakistan! What a waste of time….

How about a theme where we actually start feeling, thinking and most importantly acting like Pakistanis (without getting licensed by a western organization) and take hold of some courage to do something about how we feel, OR…. we can wait for another couple of years to attend another such event where we will get inspired again with delusional words only.

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  • Saba, the theme may be a little presumtuos but I thoroughly support such events. They bring out the best in the nation and that in itself gives hope that there are people out there trying to make things work and all is not gloom and doom. The ‘Ideas worth spreading’ is just that – people sharing the positive work they’re doing a certain segment – in this case Pakistan. Especially for people sitting outside Pakistan, all we hear are funeral trumpets for Pakistan… and I know that’s not the case. TED by design is not an outcomes based event – I have personally donated to and reached out to people after I’ve heard them present at the various TEDx events in Pakistan. What outcomes do you suggest? Perhaps we can work on something.

  • I strongly believe in sharing ideas as it the vision of TED and TEDx. So what I witnessed there was partially acknowledgement of the author and partial disagreement. The event had mainly emphasized on ideas shared how to re-think Pakistan in various aspects – be it education, social entrepreneurship or environment. So my mind opened up to a lot of ideas worth implementation if I had the resources to do so. Be it a story telling, reaching out to remote areas for social entrepreneurship or setting an NGO for awareness of consuming only usable quantity of water or resources. Yeah the theatrical part was out of the way however the stand up comedian shared his idea in crux of bringing a change of smile. It’s up to us how we perceive and execute. I have listened to various TED talks and people share their ideas on what they think should be done generally on mass perspective. Overall the TEDx’ Margalla’s first event was below expectations and recent one showed improvements by bringing in speakers of whose voice and experience matters for the heart and mind of re-thinkers of Pakistan :)

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