Photo Credit: Mahmood Al Bashir Shoishob
Abdullah Ahmad Zarir
It was 2009, the year I came to know about TED. It was a workshop of CommunityAction, a student-run, non-profit organisation, where I watched, for the first time, a TED talk titled “People don not buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” The speaker was Simon Sinek, who was explaining why people are more attracted to Apple products when there are substitutes available at a much cheaper price. I was very fascinated by what he had to say. At that time, I did not know anything about TED. After showing the talk, the organiser of the workshop told the attendees more about TED. What surprised me the most was that Simon Sinek was not the only one doing this, but there were many people getting together to make such thoughtful talks for the masses and spreading amazing ideas under the banner of TED. Their own motto expresses them the best which is “Ideas worth spreading.”
It made me follow the talks from then on. I was able to know more on every possible sector in this world. The talks were on Science, Technology, Environment, Education, Engineering, Business, Design, Development, Politics, Peace, Religion, Media, War, Cultures, and a lot of other things that we did not even know about. TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, was started on the basis of spreading new ideas about these topics to the general people and to provide a platform for those who are constantly generating new ideas for the benefit of humanity. TED started its journey in 1984. It was established by the Sapling foundation, a USA registered non-profit organization.
At the end of January 2012, two years after the workshop, I came to know of TEDxDhaka (www.tedxdhaka.com) which was going to take place at Senate Bhaban of Dhaka University. TEDx is a different initiative of TED to spread the concept of TED everywhere. Here, 'x' stands for “independently organized TED event.” One can apply to TED for a licence to organise such an event to spread the TED-like experience in one's own community, organisation, or institute. In case of TEDxDhaka, this great initiative was taken by Mohammed Tauheed, a Senior TED Fellow, and Cal Jahan, the ultimate TED fan watching all the 1,000+ TED talks available online. Neamah Islam, a student of IBA final year, worked with them as the Programme Officer. This was the first public TEDx event in Dhaka. The theme was “Different Bangladesh.” The registration for attending and volunteering in this event was open for all. I applied for both and had the opportunity to see the whole event as a volunteer.
The conference started with the talk by Dr K Siddique-e Rabbani, a renowned Professor of Physics at Dhaka University. His talk was on Innovating Healthcare Technology for the deprived 80%, which is a very strong concept regarding Bangladesh and its healthcare system. This talk gained a lot of attention even after the event. The second speaker was Mohammad Tauheed, the Senior TED Fellow and the founder of ArcSociety. He shared his TED experience and his idea of open source city policy. The third speaker, Jishnu Brahmaputra, talked about the current situation of online gaming in Bangladesh and its vast potential. The fourth speaker was the Co-founder & CTO of NewsCred, Iraj Islam, who gave a wonderful short talk on “Anatomy of Innovation” and explained how even a six-year-old can innovate.
After a short break, the CEO of Techmania, Taslima Miji, talked on the possibility of women entrepreneurship in technology. Next, Ivy Hauque Russell explained how her website www.maya.com.bd can help women in Bangladesh to take the right decisions at the right time. Then came forward the Founder-President of BYLC, Ejaj Ahmad, with his extra-ordinary speech on “The Leadership of Work.” Then, with his artistic profession, Khaled Mahmud shared his experience on the topic “Communication as Art.” Nurur Rahman Khan, the Chairman of Amar Desh Amar Gram, then explained the prospective future of his “Amar Desh e-Shop”. Lastly, the TED fanatic Cal Jahan explained the theme “Different Bangladesh” to the audience in a very spiritual manner to raise their enthusiasm. These talks can be easily found online for anyone to watch.
The conference was an absolute success. It will play a significant role in the future development of our country. It will inspire the new generation of our country to value ideas and to struggle to turn them into reality. I cannot thank CommunityAction enough for getting me introduced to the world of TED. The revolution of the intellectuals is what we need for a better and safer world.
(The writer is an undergraduate student of CSE, North South University.)