Times of Oman
TEDxQurum event showcases hidden gems of Oman
November 14, 2017 | 7:05 PM
by Times News Service
Photo: Supplied
 
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Muscat: The TEDxQurum event held at the National Museum was a six-hour showcase of the many hidden gems of Oman. TEDxQurum event was a non-profit independently organised event.

The organisers’ goal was to, “...participate in the Omani National Day celebrations by creating an event that surpassed all others in bringing to the forefront the many amazing people and ideas concealed and unknown. It may be a week early, but this is our gift to Oman and its people — TEDxQurum!” declared Nasreen Khalid, Lead Curator of TEDxQurum.

Rabab Al Lawati, an Omani emcee and a volunteer of TEDxQurum stated, “I was truly humbled and grateful to emcee for this outstanding event. It was a celebration of Oman, its people, our many innovations and those Omani ideas worth spreading. I was honoured to be part of this team, its challenges and accomplishments.”

The event hosted 12 speakers all from different areas of expertise. Dr Amer Al Rawas, CEO of Tasneea, spoke about the economic outlook of Omani youth. Kamilya Al Lamki, a consultant at the Ministry of Education, endeavoured to help us remove our children from our own boxes and allow them to be inspired. Suaad AlHarthi, an activist and program director at the Environmental Society of Oman, heeded the whale cry and encouraged the audience to sing the song of the humpback whales’ conservation. Akram Al Maawali, Protocol and Liason manager at the Omani Convention Center and an advocate of those with disabilities, reprogrammed our disabled minds by recreating the images and impressions we have of those with disabilities. Sultan Al Amri, a sign-language presenter for Oman TV, joined him on stage. Akram and Sultan challenged our ideas of language and communication.



Another of the evening highlights was Fahad Al Abri, a personal trainer and adventurer. He walked onto the TEDxQurum stage and as his title slide appeared, he flipped himself over into a handstand and literally flipped the audiences’ world upside down. His message was clear, “...we lost our sense of getting connected to the ground using our hands. The handstand takes us back: it connects us to our roots.”

One of the younger speakers, Nasser Al Riyami, a lawyer and historian, took us back in time to rediscover and learn lessons from a war that is almost never discussed, the 38-minute war of Zanzibar. The TEDxQurum platform was Nasser’s opportunity to remind and instil within the audience a sense of understanding of what happened in those few minutes of time.

Of the 12 speakers, only three were non-Omani, however, they have worked endlessly to improve Omani society and have given to Oman in many ways. Dr Peter Tollkuehn, the chief technology officer of Siemens Middle East, discussed Oman’s strength in generating hydrogen through solar power, while the youngest member of the speaker’s group, Hridith Sudev, an inventor and student spoke of the importance of paying attention to the little things in life. Hridith has represented Oman and has won awards for his invention using the Moringa oleifera plant that is planted by Omanis to purify water.

TEDxQurum also celebrated the art of established Omani artists, Anwar Sonya, Hassan Meer, Moosa Omar, Dalia Bassami, Mohammed AlMaamari, Fahad Al Mamari, Sharfia Marhouby, Mazin AlMamari, Abdullah Al Hunaini, Abdulmajeed Karooh and Khamis Al Hunaini by bringing their art to the National Museum and the audience and participants of the TEDxQurum event. Heather Ford, an art teacher at The Sultan’s School and the TEDxQurum volunteer entrusted to curate all the art, stated, “It was an honour to work with so many of these great Omani artists over the years and it was exciting to be part of this inaugural event.”

During intermission, Newrest WACASCO presented an amazing buffet of delicacies from around the world and the Omani band, Fusion, entertained the audience with sounds of Oman, Arabia and Spain. Mansoor AlHindasi, an alumnus of The Sultan’s School and a scholar of His Majesty’s Scholarship program, partnered with TEDxQurum to perform Arabic poetry at the event. Mansoor performed three original pieces and each with a different topic. In true, TEDx style, he aimed to challenge the minds of the Omani community; locals and expats. His first poem, started with a question for Google and those that know, “Is everything that takes the mind considered a drug?”. This poem questioned the ideals people have and how they can be highjacked by those with ill intentions. His next poem spoke of love and its effect on the poet. Nevertheless, it was the third poem that truly grabbed the attention of the Arabic speakers in the audience and enticed cheers of joy as it linguistically illustrated all the efforts of the volunteers, the topics of the speakers and the essence of TEDxQurum.

Another feature of the evening and a truly interactive portion of TEDxQurum moved the audience out of their seats and brought them together in a collaborative effort to solve the Omantel puzzle. Audience members were guided to find a card under their seats and use the cards to complete the message, “Amazing Happens Together! Omantel and TEDxQurum. Enriching Lives and Connecting People. Infusing Imagination to Inspire Innovation.” The audience read the solved puzzle aloud together and many expressed their joy by hooting and hollering, sounds we are sure the National Museum has never heard before within their walls.

The evening ended with a surprise performance by 18 of The Sultan’s School year 13 students who participated in the TEDxQurum grand finale. The students entered the central ‘Land and People’ gallery of the National Museum without being noticed by the attendees. As the emcee ended the evening, she was interrupted by the initial verse of the Omani Aazi performance. The audience was wonderfully surprised and erupted in ovation.

Nasreen Khaled declared, “We chose November as the month to present this effort because it is the month of His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s birthday. The feedback we are receiving tells us we have succeeded at showcasing Oman and its hidden jewels. We are proud of the volunteers and thankful to our partners for all they have done. It was an honour and we hope we can repeat TEDxQurum bigger and better next year.”



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