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TEDx To Give Voice To Palestinian Youth

Planners now formulating strategies, staff and speakers for September event in Ramallah

A group of leading Palestinians who are seeking to uncover new ideas and spark conversations in the community are bringing TEDx to the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The TEDx program helps communities, organizations and individuals produce TED-style events at the local level, where they include live speakers and recorded presentations. The events are organized and planned independently, on a community-by-community basis, under a free license granted by the TED organization.

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, is, according to its website, a “nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).”

“The Next Generation” is the title being given to the upcoming event, which will take place September 7 at the Ramallah Municipality. The planners will be seeking out 10 young speakers to share their personal journeys and experiences with a Palestinian audience.

Ahmed Shami, an organizer of the event who gave a presentation at a TEDx in Miami four years ago, told The Media Line that it took the team, led by Wajdi Hussinie, almost four years of paperwork to bring the program to Palestine.

“Bringing TEDx to Ramallah was extremely important to provide a platform for Palestinian youth to communicate their stories of injustice,” he said. “Public speaking and strategic communication skills must be developed within the Palestinian DNA because we have very special and different messages to be told.”

Shami stated that TEDx Ramallah would provide a tool to help Palestinian youth show the world that they are no different and refuse to be isolated due to the unique circumstances they live under.

“Palestinian youth are very ambitious and seek to be part of civilization,” he said. “However, they are living under the longest military occupation.”

He added that TEDx Ramallah would be the “vehicle that recruits brilliant youth” to bring necessary change.

“TEDx would define access to them and destroy limitations,” he said.

When asked about the next step, Shami said he hoped it would lead “one of our tremendous youths to a global TED platform.”

Dina Azouni, a Palestinian youth, told The Media Line that she definitely would attend.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for people in Palestine to discuss important issues in our community,” she said, “like women’s rights and living under occupation.”

Fatima Awad, another TEDx Ramallah organizer and a two-time TEDx speaker in the United States, told The Media Line that the event was “not based on who you know, where you come from or your financial status, but who you are and what story you have to share.”

Awad added that the organizers would post online applications on March 17 for both speakers and audience participants.

Bshara Dabah, a Palestinian economic analyst, stressed that bringing the TEDx program to Palestine would be important although the team would have to inform people about it and empower them to take part.

“Palestinians must communicate properly,” he said, “and in a way that would do their stories justice.”

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