TEDxBaghdad is honored to present a cadre of distinguished speakers who will share their passions, creativity, and innovative spirit to viewers worldwide. With their inspirational stories, these coveted speakers aim to give Iraq‘s people hope for a brighter and more prosperous future. And all of us should NEVER GIVE UP.
|Dr. Haitham Jabbar Taha
Dr. Haitham Jabbar Taha is a PhD holder in communication engineering. Currently, he is a lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Technology in Baghdad, Iraq. His main research interests include image processing, digital signal processing, and communication systems for application in telecommunications and wireless communication networks. His research has been published in international journals and he has presented in international conferences, where he is also as an editorial board member and reviewer. Dr. Haitham has been honored and is the recipient of various awards from local and international academic organizations in his field. He is a member of the IEEE, IEICE, SCIEI, and SDIWC, and a senior member of the UACEE.
Zaid Alnewaini is a PhD student in the field of Radiation Oncology at the College of Medicine Mannheim at Heidelberg University in Germany. He is also part of the teaching staff at Kufa University in Iraq, and received a patent for one of his inventions in 2002. Zaid’s most recent discovery is in the field of radiation oncology where he has developed a new tool in simulation technology that is more accurate than current alternatives and takes less time to master. His innovation has reduced training time of students on simulations by more than five weeks and does not require an extensive background in programming. Zaid has come to Baghdad to spread his message among the Iraqi youth that there is nothing impossible in innovation when one is determined to improve the status quo no matter what the obstacles.
Zainab Al-Eqabi is a 24-year-old Iraqi pharmacist living in Sharjah, UAE. She graduated with top honors from University of Sharjah – College of Pharmacy, and has put her degree to work as a medical representative at a global pharmaceutical company. In her personal time, Zainab pushes her limits through sports and adventure, and helps others, similarly situated, to discover their true identity through persistence and passion. Indeed, she is a shining testament of how
the charm of life and its beauty lie in the challenges that some may deem to be toxic to our
souls, but instead provide us with a second chance.
Tariq Shaker was born in Babel and graduated with a bachelors degree in computer science from Al-Mamoon College University. He currently works as a programmer at the Center for Geographic Information Systems in the Iraqi Ministry of Planning, where he works on geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) that deal with capturing satellite images of Iraq and the geoscientific study of the country. Tariq is responsible for training employees of various ministries on these particular systems, and was honored by the Minister of Planning for his exemplary work utilizing these systems for the general population census of Iraq.
Haidar Reda is a political science graduate from Baghdad University and holds a masters degree in political science from one of the most multicultural and religiously-diverse universities in India. As part of his further education with the International Peacemaking Program in the United States, Haidar chose to study Interfaith Dialogue at the Hartford Seminary. He is the founder and current president of Ur for Interfaith Dialogue & Peacemaking, an organization based in Baghdad that is a member of the global United Religions Initiative. As well as being a researcher and lecturer at Karbala University, Haidar has a particular interest in studying other religions and finding the common ground with his own in order to build bridges of understanding and love among people of various faiths.
Beshar Al-Azzawi is a highly acclaimed Iraqi singer, composer, and musician. Born in Baghdad, he started playing the guitar at the age of sixteen and soon joined his high school band. Though he graduated from the College of Engineering in Baghdad with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, he chose to pursue a career in music and established himself professionally through his distinctive performances ranging from Spanish gipsy music to old traditional Iraqi songs. Feeling restless, Beshar moved to Europe where he fused eastern and western musical traditions to create his own unique style, and subsequently released his albums NuName and Danya. Beshar recently moved to the United States where he formed a band that is reframing Iraqi music in a new Jazzy format, a project he titled HIJAZZ.
Sahira Abdul-Lateef is the founder the Down Syndrome Association of Iraq. Her journey started with the birth of her fourth child who was diagnosed with the condition, and the lack of information and support magnified the difficulty of the situation. Leaving her teaching career behind, she joined her husband in his travels to the United Kingdom where she dedicated her time to learning all that she could about the syndrome and how to care for those born with it. Upon her return to Iraq, she established the Hiba Centre for Down Syndrome that cares for more than 150 people of different ages, whom Sahira sees as children of her own. She is inspred by them daily and rejoices in their participation and success in local and global competitions. Sahira is the recipient of various awards and accolades for her exemplary volunteer work with this population, and the Iraqi representative of Down Syndrome International (DSi), a UK based international charity, and Inclusion International, a global federation advocating for the human rights of people with intellectual disabilities worldwide.
Nesan Hirmiz is a civil and human rights activist who was left without lower limbs and bound to a wheelchair after a war-related injury. He was able to find solace and healing in sports, and he joined the Iraqi national team for wheelchair basketball and subsequently the national team for swimming. He won several local competitions and became an active participant in various training and referee programs. Despite the difficulties posed by his disability and being the sole provider for his family, Nesan was determined to prove himself in the work field. He opened a small workshop for wheelchair repair, which has now expanded to serve hundreds of disabled Iraqis daily. Nesan is an exemplary model of how anyone can excel through patience, strength, and faith.
Mohammed Salih is a journalist from Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. He holds a Masters degree in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia and has spent much of the past nine years covering Kurdish, Iraq, and Middle Eastern affairs from Iraq, Turkey, and the United States. His most fulfilling and unforgettable moments are during his quest for crucial and eye-opening stories. Mohammed has reported for numerous local and international outlets including Rudaw, Kurdish Globe, Awene Newspaper, the Washington Post, Al-Monitor, and Al-Jazeera English.
Mostafa Hamad was born in Baghdad where he stayed until the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Mostafa currently lives with his family in Germany and is studying mechanical engineering at the University of Hiedelberg in Gottingen. His love of nature combined with his interest in the arts led him to pursue photography as a hobby and as a way to express himself. Motivated by his dream of joining the photography team at National Geographic, Mostafa has developed various unique and innovative techniques in timelapse photography and landscape photography. His pioneering concepts have gained him worldwide recognition as one of the leading landscape photographers.
Mustafa Kahlid has a Bachelors degree in electrical engineering and Masters in control and computers from the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Baghdad. With his extensive knowledge in programming, circuitry design, and robotics, Mustafa was able to design several unique electronic projects during his undergraduate studies. For his innovative work, he received recognition and first place in Al-Syadah Festival in 2012 and the Iraqi innovation technology prize, in addition to being a TEDxBaghdad speaker in 2012. Mustafa takes what he learned in his studies to benefit his community, even if it starts with a simple idea.
Mustafa Basim is a communication engineer who started his own business while he was a student at Al-Mamoon College University. His work is focused on designing and installing security systems for large corporations, where he has done extensive work for the 22-floor Baghdad University Tower and Al-Nakhlah Mall. His research involved developing and implementing national borders security systems, where he has discovered innovative ways to address problems with existing technologies. Mustafa is a firm believer that every difficult problem must have an easy solution and he applies this principle to his own life, where he uses simple circuitry to simplify daily chores and routines. Inspired by his father’s attainment
Mohammed Al-Hariri is a fourth year dentistry student at Al-Rafidain University College. He is an artist and inventor who started drawing at a very young age, at which time he participated in exhibitions that were held by the esteemed artist Khalid Jabr in addition to exhibitions held at school. Mohammed uses his art to promote messages of love, peace, and cooperation, and he is particularly interested in projects that support environmentalism and water conservation. In terms of his inventions, Mohammed designed devices to protect cars from crashes, developed artificial limbs, and has done some work on renewable energy. His dream is to make Iraq a global contender in the fields of education and technology.