Hundreds converged at the local Kinnaird College this past week for TEDxKinnaird, Pakistan’s first university styled TEDx event. The theme for this second edition of the event was “Rethinking Us” and the stage was set for some very intriguing presentations:
- Natasha Noorani on Snapistan and how she was bringing together photographers across Pakistan to challenge stereotypes through their work. Taking and displaying a snap of the live audience and the line “Change your lens” are quite memorable
- Sonya Rehman described the growing movement of citizen journalism. She highlighted SeenReport and introduced us to an awesome young man Galib Khalil who spearheaded flood relief work in Pakistan and blogs here
- Faisal Mahmood of GIKI talked about his groundbreaking research in medical electronics. This creative tinkerer already has three patents and is an inspiration for other Pakistanis looking to make a career out of research
- Younas Chowdry acted out an original skit as part of Laal Theater group. It was a great idea related to how what started as a school project could leave a lasting impact.
- Elaine Alam shared her personal tale of briding religious divides in Pakistan
- Zubair Khan’s self-deprecating humor was a huge hit. He’s the ethical hacker of Pakistan.
- Popular blogger and doodler Mehreen Kasana uses doodles to encourage kids to learn in innovative ways. This was my favorite talk since the slides of her doodles were so attractive and made me think of Doodle Jump.
- I discussed the role of games in education, using some of my learnings from Tintash projects with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and BBC.
The audience was also shown two of the most entertaining TED videos around, here and here. There was a well thought out networking session involving a scavenger hunt and plenty of mingling.
Special thanks to the sponsors Canon for providing the speakers with free printers! (Mine is probably going to Tintash, I can’t imagine having to take care of it at home)
And special thanks to our lovely and enthusiastic hosts who managed the event so smoothly.
I was only introduced to the concept of TED last year, but I’ve become a huge fan. Since returning to Pakistan, I’ve been struck by how entrepreneurship and innovation have become the cool thing to do. I notice how people get together at coffee houses like Gloria Jean’s not just for casual banter, but to bounce off ideas for new ventures. And I notice how everyone is so excited about TED conferences as they continue to mushroom around the country and bring together like-minded people looking to try something new. At this conference alone, I learned about The Guardians, TNS Beaconhouse and Dreamfactory though networking with the audience, all of which are innovative contributions to our society. These conferences are becoming the melting pots where the intellectuals of our society are sharing and conceiving the next great ideas.