At TEDx in Ramallah, Palestinian Storytellers Share Personal Experiences To Inspire Others
Leen Arafat Serhan onstage at the TEDx Almanara Square event in Ramallah in the West Bank on December 3, 2022. (Courtesy)

At TEDx in Ramallah, Palestinian Storytellers Share Personal Experiences To Inspire Others

A teenager, a journalist, a mother of a child with cancer and a businessman were among the speakers on the theme “We Deserve”

A 14-year-old Palestinian girl has an idea and wants to share it with the world.

“I’m a person that likes to follow her dreams and achieve everything on her checklist,” Leen Arafat Serhan told The Media Line.

In her talk at Saturday’s TEDx Almanara Square event in Ramallah, Leen said she wants to build a village, but not just any village.

“The idea I presented talked about teenagers and the adults, my idea exactly talks about how to make public areas specialized for teenagers,” she said.

Now in its third edition, TEDx Almanara Square provides a platform for speakers to share inspiring personal stories and ambitions. The event’s theme was “We Deserve.”

Leen was among 13 inspiring speakers who shared with the audience their experiences and personal success stories.

She wants her idea to help teenagers and adults to better communicate with one another.

“What I’m trying to say is that the relationship between parents and teenagers is getting weaker and weaker, but now this place fixes many problems, teenagers’ problems and adults’ problems,” she explained.

TEDx events like this one allow Palestinians from all backgrounds to share their experiences in the hope that it will provide a roadmap to the path forward for many future success stories.

I gained from an experience that I must share with the next generation so that they can benefit from it

Najah Musallam, a journalist by profession and a mother of three, shared her experience of overcoming the fear of public speaking.

Musallam says being a mother motivated her to promote effective communication with children, in order to understand more the nature of their thinking.

“When you sow the seed, you will eventually reap. A person, when he is young, may be in a state of loss, and with social media, he has become a copy of others. It is necessary to discover the child’s own identity,” she said.

Souad al-Muhtasib’s 4-year-old son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. She was told he only had five months to live. She chose to provide him with a positive experience in his remaining time on earth.

He lived for two more happy years.

Muhtasib’s topic revolves around a box!

The writer and social worker from Jerusalem told The Media Line that she had a message for the crowd.

“I came up with an idea called the box. The idea is to discuss all the events, crises and traumas that a person lives with and stores away, like a fund. How was I, with my own resources, able to harness this fund and transform it from a difficult past into a tool for overcoming the past and creating my present and future,” Muhtasib said.

Businessman Zuhair Al-Osaily told The Media Line that his success journey compelled him to share it with others.

“I gained from an experience that I must share with the next generation so that they can benefit from it,” he said.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the stories he heard were inspiring, adding that, with every crisis, there’s an opportunity.

“Usually out of every crisis there’s hope, and I think the Palestinians have learned to live with crisis and they have been able to generate hope. And generating hope takes a lot of effort, and in order for us to change the mindset of people from negative to positive, from depressed under occupation to productive mentally, I think our education has been very capable of driving that force in the right direction,” he said.

Everyone has a story to tell, and many say these positive and inspiring personal narratives about the Palestinian people provide them with hope, that working hard no matter what will thrust them toward a better future, no matter what challenges lie ahead.

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