TEDx Beirut took place last week at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut. For those not familiar with the TED concept, this is basically an amazing group of people who share their passion, knowledge and experience with an audience in the form of 10-minute long talks.
Most of the speakers were Lebanese, both men and women from all walks of life and all ages, whom decided that they had an idea or a compelling story worth sharing with the world.
As a member of the audience- comprised of mostly a young crowd- I was very pleasantly surprised by the experience. The organization of the event was pretty good and the quality of the speakers was astonishing. We heard from the man who led the team that landed the “Curiosity” on Mars, to a woman who found her voice by becoming a cartoonist, to the mountaineer who had conquered some of the highest peaks of the world, as well as his own fears. And there was the extraordinary speaker who talked about gratitude and recognition as a means to transform our world.
I loved the excitement and enthusiasm the event generated. However, what truly reinvigorated me was the collective hope, passion and positivity that shone in the faces of both participants and speakers. Beirut- as you might imagine- has not been a very fun place in the last month or so. The mood in the streets has been tense and aloof –seemingly contradictory moods-in a way only Beirut can be. Beirut has felt numb and shallow lately, as people avoid talking about their fear, the bomb in Ashrafieh, and the local leaders threatening to form militias. Feelings stuffed, life goes on.
TEDxBeirut offered a space to have a good laugh, a good cry and feel proud about the beauty of the human spirit. It pushed boundaries, brought us together, and put a smile on our faces. It had us think about what the world needed with its brilliant campaign “ All we need is... (fill in the blank)”. Strangers chatted about positive stuff, exchanged ideas, laughed together, ate standing and traded for a moment the dim picture painted by recent events for a brighter perspective. I truly hope this feeling will be contagious and last for a little longer than that day.