A 55 degrees Centigrade (131 Fahrenheit) Thursday, and still, the people showed up to the TEDGlobal 2012 Livestream here in the University of Technology, in the center of Baghdad, and exactly at 10:00am, we had almost 300 attendees filling the whole room.
The event started by the opening speech of Dr. Muhanned Ali, senior TEDxBaghdad Team member, explaining -in brief- about the history of the TEDxBaghdad and how it first started and all the events that were presented through the one year history of TEDxBaghdad.
The audience was all listening, as I entered the live-stream hall, to the voice of Ihsan Fathi, the Iraqi historian from the heart of Baghdad, describing the Iraqi heritage in an innovative way, and they were all attentively listening, trying to evolve their dreams and fantasies, each flying in his mind in a manner similar to an “out of body” experience, to be concluded in the “Thank you” that Fathi said in the end of his speech in TEDxBaghdad 2011 event, which was followed by a big round of applause from the Iraqi audience.
A 10 minutes break was given, in which the audience and the team blended in a combination exchanging the very stories that each of us had to share about his/her own experience with the TEDx concept and, in particular, the TEDxBaghdad concept.
The TEDGlobal livestream from Scotland then began on the way, the audience at first were astounded by the talk on the development of the studies on the human mental capabilities and their relations to “behavioral super powers”, and how to assess the mental, behavioral and cognitive functions of people by their social interactions, used later to help the people who have ADHD, depression or other mental illnesses using biosensors to help moderate their illnesses.
Elyn Saks, a professor of Law, then ascended the stage, talked about her experience with the “chronic schizophrenia”, as it is known as “the disease of the clever young” and she was both, and how she blended the theoretical meaning of the schizophrenic mind with a twist of her own long tiresome experience with this illness. This subject; though difficult for some of the audience, moved them to think deeply about the real meaning of the psychiatric illnesses that any of us might have any of those diseases at any given moment, including our children, siblings, parents, neighbors or friends, and how to practically deal with them, and how to fight the social stigma of such illnesses.
Another break of 30 minutes was given and refreshments were served, and the time passed quickly, to have all 300 attendees again seated to watch Dr. Suha, a young Iraqi, who began the session of “sharing the ideas”, by her small talk on how you could start the cleanliness of the your whole community by starting the act yourself, for no one is better than ” you” to do “your” work that may evolve into “our” work, a clean Baghdad.
Fawzia Musa, a Teacher’s Assistant in the Faculty of Languages – Baghdad University, and discussed with the audience the inappropriate usage of Facebook and how we all can use it and similar websites in a more productive way, as she explained how she started a page and used it to provide reading materials on the page for free targeting the Iraqi youth and reached about 400+ likers and participants on its very first weeks.
Ibrahim Kubba, a young Iraqi volunteer then invited everyone to lose the Race, what race? Well, Baghdad was selected as the third “dirtiest” city in the whole planet, and Kubba invited everyone to help with his junior project to lose this race by making small campaigns to clean the streets of Baghdad by the Iraqi young volunteers.
As an entertaining item, Mandy Dhiab, a 22-year old Iraqi guitarist with her guitar, defying all the security issues and troublesome challenges, ascended to the stage and began her piece of music art, and sang in a very innovative and breathtaking voice and music, and she frankly out-bested herself with that song, “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele with her heavenly, youthful voice.
After another big round of applause, the audience asked her to sing another song, and Mandy, driven by the demands of the people, began to sing “I love you like a love song baby” by Selena Gomez, and pushed everyone of the audience to enter his own world of dreams.
Hussam Hasson Al-Rubaiye, the manager of the Minister of the Youth and Sport’s office, then gave a small talk about his own idea on how the college students can help the senior high-school students in choosing their major in college, based on their practical experience with that specific field.
Abbas Allawi, MSA student, proposed an idea of forming a committee that may take the researches of the Iraqi scholars, and use them to the better outcome of the Iraqi community.
A medical student then talked about the medical waste that is put on the grounds near the medical colleges in the center of Baghdad, and how the students voluntarily removed them several times with their effort and money.
Abdulghany, the project manager of TEDxBaghdad events, then announced 5 important and exclusive news to the audience, most important of which is the theme of TEDxBaghdad 2012; “The Beginning Begins”, and the dates of TEDxErbil; on September 2012, TEDxBaghdad main event; on October 2012, TEDxBaghdad Youth; on November 2012, and finally the date of TEDxBaghdadWomen; which takes place on December 2012.
Then the second session of the livestream began with the talk about Professor Vikram Patal and his concept idea of the mental health for all people, focusing on the rising events in the developing world, pushed the audience to again rethink about the sinister effects of this category of diseases on a very large proportion of the population, as those diseases result in the suicidal deaths of hundreds of youth each and every year.
The livestream was then stopped, to have Dr. Besma ascend up the stage and talk about the effects of the chronic mental illnesses and their impact on our Iraqi community and gave a glimpse of reference to its solutions, relating the Iraqi experiences to their global counterparts.
The Iraqi small talks session continued next, to have Dur Haider, a medical student, give a small talk on how she began a research on cancer and malignancies and how she found that there are 3 natural substances that can help in fighting the disease, that she found out about during her research.
Al-Rubaiye, the manager of the Minister of Youth and Sports office, again ascended to the stage and gave a certificate of participation for the TEDxBaghdad team, and on behalf of it, Dr. Muhanned received it.
The last portion of the live-stream continued, to show Robert Legato, giving a small entertaining talk about the illusion of the cinematic transitions as in famous movies such as Titanic and Hugo.
Abdulghany then thanked everyone for the participation and Dr. Muhanned then called the “behind the scenes” team of TEDxBaghdad and everyone applauded for them, and then this fruitful day concluded with Ahmed Al-Bahrani’s talk from TEDxBaghdad 2011 about the medical advents regarding neurologic imaging and cancer therapy, delivering to the audience the Iraqi flavor of inventions and researches, making every and each one of us feel proud of his Iraqi identity.