Tribune News Network
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation, attended the opening of the TEDinArabic Summit – the first of its kind in the Middle East, organised through a partnership between Qatar Foundation and TED that is dedicated to amplifying ideas in Arabic on a global scale.
HH Sheikha Moza also toured the interactive spaces and Arabic stations at the Summit together with Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, vice-chairperson and CEO on Qatar Foundation.
Held under the theme ‘The Butterfly Effect’, the opening of the two-day Summit at Qatar National Convention Centre was also attended by a number of dignitaries and an audience of thousands who listened to a series of talks in Arabic from TED speakers from the Arab world, explored the event’s interactive Discovery Sessions, and exchanged ideas and stories.
Giving a keynote speech on the first day of the Summit, Moza AlHajri, a student at Qatar Foundation (QF) partner university Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) and a participant in QF’s QatarDebate, said: “We meet today as people with different specialisations, cultures, identities and dialects, with different preferences in music, literature, art and poetry, and different political and intellectual views.
“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 Summit’s opening ceremony began with a song specially written 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 Programme coordinator at the Translation and Interpreting Institute, part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at QF’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University. Its first day also included a performance, inspired by Qatari heritage, from 12 students of QF schools, titled ‘Epic Poetry in the Modern Era’.
“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,” said Machaille Hassan Al Naimi, Strategic Initiatives executive officer, Qatar Foundation.
TED speakers who shared their stories on the first day included Mahdi Mansour, a physicist and poet from Lebanon; Rafia Al Talei, a journalist and women’s advocate from Oman; Ahmad Habib, a writer and accessibility specialist from Iraq; Amr Ramadan, a climate justice advocate from Egypt; and Belal Khaled, a Palestinian artist and activist.
Over the course of the Summit, which continues on March 19, its international audience are exploring activities, workshops, experiences and talks – all in Arabic - on themes including creativity, language, science and discovery, as well as artistic performances.