To offer a global platform for thinkers, researchers, artists, and changemakers across the Arabic-speaking world to share their ideas with a global audience, the TEDinArabic Summit, the first of its kind in the Middle East, was held in Doha.
Organized through a partnership between Qatar Foundation and TED, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, attended the opening of the summit on March 18.
She toured the interactive spaces and Arabic stations at the summit, together with HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation.
Held under the theme of The Butterfly Effect, the summit was dedicated to the notion that similar to the butterfly effect, individual efforts to create a change in the Arab world can create an impact.
Moza AlHajri, a student at Georgetown University in Qatar, gave a keynote speech on the summit’s opening day. “We meet today as people with different specializations, cultures, identities, and dialects, with different preferences in music, literature, art, and poetry, and different political and intellectual views.” She continues, “But today, we all choose to be united by the Arabic language. We choose to listen to each other and to search for inspiring horizons that bring us together, and for paths that we can follow to move toward a better future.”
The opening ceremony featured an original song for the event, performed by Saudi Arabian artist Alaa Al Wardi and Qatari singer Aisha Al Zayani, and another song written by Mohamad Ali Bahri, Arabic Language Program Coordinator at Hamad Bin Khalifa University.
Machaille Hassan Al Naimi, Strategic Initiatives Executive Officer, Qatar Foundation, noted, “We are delighted to welcome Arabic thinkers with amazing ideas and people who love the Arabic language from around the world to this groundbreaking TEDinArabic Summit.”
Featuring activities, workshops, and talks all in Arabic, the summit focused on themes including creativity, language, science, and discovery, plus artistic performances. It boasted a range of prominent speakers from the MENA region too, such as Lebanese physicist and poet Mahdi Mansour, Omani journalist and women’s advocate Rafia Al Talei, Iraqi writer and accessibility specialist Ahmad Habib, Egyptian climate justice advocate Amr Ramadan, and Palestinian artist and activist Belal Khaled.