Muscat: One of the world’s most famous platforms for inspirational and motivational speeches is coming to Oman later this year.
TED, an abbreviation of Technology, Entertainment, Design, will be arriving in the Sultanate in the form of TEDxQurum, which plans on inspiring and empowering the next generation of Omanis and is scheduled to take place on November 11.
The brains behind this event are Nasreen Khalid and Zeenath Jaleel, two South East Asian expats, who live and work in the Sultanate.
“People have actually approached us to become a part of this,” said Khalid, who is the lead curator for TEDxQurum.
“We’ve got inspiring stories that touch the heart and show courage. We’ve got a young Omani classical oud player, as well as someone to talk about Frankincense because that is considered to be the jewel of the Dhofar.”
“We’re trying to present a mixed bag of topics to talk about and that is the beauty of a TED Talk, because you can have different topics under one roof,” she explained. “We’ve got about 12 speakers lined up.”
“Since TED is a not-for-profit initiative, it inspires communities to get together and we had some young Omanis, who were interested in volunteering with us,” said Jaleel, who serves as TEDxQurum’s chief organiser. “We are looking to find talented Omanis who will be speaking at our event.
“We’ll be looking at people who have special talents, and can speak on things that are unique to Oman.”
The duo’s cultural upbringing has played an important role in bringing TED to Oman.
“We’ve been followers of TED talks for a long time now because they are always very inspiring and very moving,” said Khalid. “Zeenath is from Singapore and I’m Malaysian and TED has been quite a resonant voice in that part of the world. We met in January and decided to bring TED to Muscat in a big way and I decided to put in the application.”
“What we want to do is open up the voice of TED to the general population so that it becomes a movement that can be embraced in everyone,” she added. “I submitted the event licence to TED on January 22, and we received our approval on March 2, so we’re not even a month old. Since then, we’ve had more than 25 volunteers sign up for us, and we’ve been able to set up a core team, so it’s been amazing,” Khalid added.
One of the reasons TED Talks resonate with everyone is because the people who deliver them aren’t celebrities, but ordinary people from all walks of life whose actions serve as inspiration to others.
“For example, I was listening to this talk about a young Kenyan boy, who could not have been more than eight or nine years old,” recalled Khalid. “He was concerned about protecting his family’s livestock, and made a fence for the animals so that they wouldn’t be attacked by predators.”
“I was so moved by that because this is a small boy in Africa, who was able to do such a big thing, and it really helps put your problems in perspective and realise how small they are.”