10:30 am marks the start of Session 1 and the start of TEdx Baghdad 2015 with it’s theme event for this year, The Unseen Side.
It started with Tedx Baghdad’s president Mr. Yahya AlAbdalli welcoming guests and explaining the meaning behind TED (TED: Technology- Entertainment- Design). Giving brief examples of TEDx conferences worldwide, explaining the tactics of the preparations behind TEDx Baghdad, introducing the teams (Registration, IT, Logistics, Creativity, Social Media and Blogging, etc.), and finally giving thanks and appreciation to everyone who made TEDx Baghdad possible and promising the audience a day to remember.
Iraq’s National Anthem -Mautini موطني- the popular poem written by Ibrahim Tuqan in 1934 which is considered a very dear Anthem to most Arabs, is then played by the amazing Bashar Al-Azzawi.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Dr. Haider Al-Abadi then gave an official speech to open the conference. He emphasized on the importance of such events that highlight the effort of Iraq’s youth who continuously refuse to give up in the face of circumstances and extremism. He then went on to talk about the importance of applied sciences in building the country, encouraging the youth especially to invest in their ideas in the fields of science and research. “We as government will build an entire groundbase for youth to help them with their scientific advancement.” said the PM. He also mentioned the concept of microeconomy and the focus on private sector in creating practical change in the country’s economy and welfare.
11:19 am, Nasser Shamma, the famous Iraqi oud player takes stage and gives one of the most inspirational ted talks ever. Shemma began the talk with memories of his childhood in Kut, how music shaped his life as he was growing up and how playing the oud gave him a sense of identity and inner peace. He then spoke of his work in gloabalizing the oud, turning this oriental instrument into an international phenomen by founding Bait-Al-Oud (The House of Arab Oud) which is a music institute that has branches in many cities worldwide. Shemma also spoke of the special method of oud playing he invented, which was named after him, and his personal reasons behind investing in it. Shemma closed with encouraging the audience to dig deeper in their dreams, to have a clear vision for their lives at a young age and to explore creative expression through music and melody.
The second ted talk was by Sameh Al-Muqdadi, an Iraqi hydrogeologist who is currently serving as the project manager for the geoscience academic program after obtaining a PhD and Post Doctorate degrees from Germany. He started his talk with an inspiring quotation he likes: “Once there is a will … there is a way”. The speaker took few minutes in presenting briefly about the GRI program which he is managing. The main bulk of the talk was on how he could successfully get the chance to make a new national record in (Discovering the Coral Reefs) to add on the international records. Before that discovery, Iraq was not on the list, after, Iraq had been one of the coral countries. Dr. Al-muqdadi clarified the importance of this discovery in providing a healthier environment, such a discovery doesn’t reflects good steps in the scientific research only but also means a lot for the Iraqi heritage. Finally, Dr. Al-muqdadi showed in his presentation a picture of him making a heart by his hands under the water to the audience and told them about how happy he was when he found the coral reefs in Iraq .
Then, Dr.Mohammed Qasim Al-ani, a fundamental member in the National Heritage Foundation to preserve Baghdad Historical City center with a PhD in philosophy and architecture. He takes the audience on a journey around the world as he talks about the philosophies of the civilized cities and the links between the past and the present . In this journey that passed by some of the most important historical sites in the world , Dr.Mohammed fills up the air with a magical virtue of sorrow and hope all at once . In a cleverly drown comparison between Iraq and the world from an architectural standpoint , all eyes gaze at the attractive presentation as the professor answers some of the frequent and dare I say controversial questions of the way and the mechanism that should be taken to restore , maintain and develop the architectural beauty in Iraq . The professor shows real life examples as he talks about some concepts such as the strategies of urban renewal, urban infill , building conservation and building protection . He ends with a tearful hope that our beautiful Baghdad will find the light again.
Omar Al-Sheikhly started with the 4th ted talk of the day. Omar, the Iraqi wildlife expert, and the co-investigator in the National Geographic project in the Iraqi Marshes. Mr.Al-Sheikhly started the talk by mentioning the history of the Maxwell Otter, its discovery and its significance as part of Iraq’s national wildlife heritage. As the talk went on, he showed the first ever documented genetic map of the Maxwell Otter on Tedx Baghdad’s stage, which will be used as a valuable reference for future investigations. He then closed by asking the audience, and pleaing to the national and international authorities to pay closer attention to the Iraqi Marshes and their valuable wildlife, especially after he addressed the fact that the current bio-indicators state that the marshes are still viable for rehabitation.