Do you believe in the power of ideas to change the world? If yes, you probably love TED, the nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Most of you have probably watched a TED video online by now. They feature leading thinkers (many of whom are just normal people) sharing their ideas on pretty much any topic you can imagine – and they only have 18 minutes to make their point. That’s the type of talk I am all for.
TED was started in 1984 as a conference to bring together people from the Technology, Entertainment and Design worlds (see how they got their name?), but has since grown into a global brand that hosts two annual mega-conference, has a TED prize, offers fellowships, expanded to include locally organized events, and of course built their impressive TED.com website – they even share their video content under Creative Commons licenses!
Some of the leaders of TED were in Doha last week to start planning for a global meeting of TEDx organizers that will be held right here in April 2012. This is also when the next TEDxDoha will be held, which is supported by the Doha Film Institute. Both the TEDx global meeting and TEDxDoha will be exciting events for creatives in Qatar to share ideas and hear new ideas that can create positive change. I would expect a call for submissions for ideas for TEDxDoha soon, so start thinking. What is your idea that needs sharing in Qatar and globally? Follow TEDxDoha on Twitter @Tedxdoha for the latest updates.
As part of their visit to Doha, the TED leadership met with a large group of people from the community (including yours truly)to find out more about Qatar. They asked questions such as “what is the most common misperception Westerners have about Qataris?,” “does Qatar love film?,” “what is a typical Qatari woman and a typical Qatari male?,” and of course “how do you pronounce Qatar?” I’m not sure the Ted folks got a great sense of Qatar though from this. Only one person answered each questions, so a roundtable format probably would have been more informative. Thankfully there was a nice dinner afterwards for them to talk more – and hear more ideas!
I am certainly excited about TED coming to Doha and for TEDxDoha. I can’t wait to discover more ideas worth sharing. If you haven’t checked out TED.com and the variety of talks (many of which have been translated into Arabic), I would highly recommend it, but be prepared to spend many hours in front of your computer being inspired by the power of ideas! Here’s a short one to start you off. Icebergs are cool!