I have attended a number of conferences in Karachi and even spoken at a few but today’s conference at TedX was in a separate league. What made it so interesting is that like all things TED, it was diverse. There were speakers from the creative arts, business, energy and technology. The crowd was equally diverse and the talks were very inspirational because the speakers didn’t hold out–they really spoke out. The event was extremely well organized with each of the 18 minute talks carrying a carefully rehearsed and condensed theme.
It felt like the cirque de soleil of conferences with a healthy mix of audience engagement, ranging from an abrupt ovation for our country with a national anthem who intent was to rebase the audience back to our country’s patriotic roots, to motivational talks which engaged the audience in a 30 second breathing exercise and acknowledgement of people in adjacent seats–all designed to underline the prominence of “presence”, “awareness” and connecting. The topic on energy for a change focused on solutions and the Thar coal mines, whose 4% reserves are enough to sustain the entire country. Micro-finance seems to be another recurring theme in the financial and charitable circles and there was plenty of quantification and empirical evidence of it being implemented and working in Pakistan. All talks came from people who are out there on the field, accomplishing these things.
The talks had plenty of substance and mind fodder. It’s easy to get pigeon-holed into our respective trades so it was a good change to get a richer, broader perspective from people across the various walks of life.
It’s a shame that it will be another year before the next TEDx, but I’m hoping there are other forums in between that continue the discussion.