The Largest Zayed University TEDx Talk Staged

06 Mar 2019

Supported by Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, President of Zayed University, TedxZayedUniversity was recently staged at Zayed University, Dubai. The event showcased the talents of students, alumni and faculty from the University along with a select group of guest speakers from across the UAE.

TEDx is a leading international nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering understanding of today’s biggest issues and encouraging the spread of ideas by providing a platform for speakers to give short talks on wide-ranging topics. The highly anticipated TEDx events bring together thousands of students, professionals, experts and members of the public annually in cities across the globe.

Prof. Reyadh AlMehaideb, Vice-President of Zayed University, attended the event alongside H.E. Saeed Mohammed Al Nazari, Executive Director of the Emirates Youth Council, and Dr. Mohsen Onsy, Associate Provost and Chief Academic Officer, and Dr. Fatima AlDarmaki, Dean, Student Affairs Deanship and

A collaborative effort, the event was organized by Zayed University’s College of Communications and Media Sciences and the Government Communications Department and maintained a strong student-centered focus. Student volunteers from the Peer Assistance Leader Program (PALs) actively participated in the organization efforts during every stage of the event as well. With an audience of over 800 attendees, this year’s TedxZayedUniversity was largest such event held at Zayed University’s to date and was timed to coincide with the UAE’s Innovation Month and embraced the Year of Tolerance, the most widely recognized milestones of 2019.

Inspired by the theme of “Changing Frontiers, Evolving Journeys,” 13 inspirational speakers tackled a broad range of topics, to great acclaim, that included: Arabic language, innovation, empowerment, science, law, leadership, mental health, volunteerism, People of Determination and tolerance.

Examining the reality of social media in today’s world, Ayesha AlHajeri, an Integrated Strategic Communications Major at Zayed University, gave a talk entitled, “Comfortable being you, and Take off the mask!,” that explored the current culture of  social media norms and the dangers of unauthentic representations or “fake life profiles” that exist simply to impress others and hide their true nature behind a “mask”.

ZU alumna Aysha Saif Al Hemrani of @Mnawrah fame. The artist shared with the audience her own recipe for bringing out the best in a person. Those included: be true to yourself, be considerate of others, and communicate. With those in mind, Al Hemrani has found success in her career and life.

She also shared insights of becoming a successful artist. Al Hemrani is a self-taught artist known for her work as “Mnawrah” she uses to explore Emirati spirit.

Focusing on the UAE’s fauna, Dr. Brigitte Howarth, an ecologist with extensive experience in desert ecology discussed how “Over 400 odd species have been discovered in the UAE recently.” During her talk on the UAE’s environment and ecosystem, Dr. Howarth said “We’ve just lately been able to describe them, but we still know nothing about their needs, the kind of habitats and ecosystems we must preserve to be able to protect them. We are losing habitat, or we’re breaking them up into smaller pieces, and those creatures in the UAE are just as threatened as species worldwide.”

Salem Khaled Bin Beshr, ZU student, spoke next to stress the importance of volunteering. He shared how a simple act changed his life path. From being a wallflower to giving presentations and speeches at important government organizations such as Qasr Al Hosn, where because of his volunteering experience, and despite still being a student, he managed to land a job.

ZU alumna Maha Yaqoot Harqoos took the mentality of a “leap of faith” in the matter of her studies at ZU. She had managed to grasp opportunities, despite the hardships in front of her until she managed to succeed. She enlightened the audience of the challenges she overcame to become a committee expert in the United Nations in New York.

Lynnette Eleanor Harper, Learning Commons Supervisor at Zayed University, captivated the audience with a soaring story of her time at the South Pole. Ms. Harper detailed the harsh reality of life at the South Pole. However, survival was only a part of Ms. Harper’s experience, as she stated that “With hard comes beauty and ease, you inhale the purest freshest air every day. And gaze the vast stretches of the land mass in stillness and harmony.”

Zainab Ali Dawood, a Psychology and Human Services Major at Zayed University and a mental health advocate, explored the concept of mental health stigma in the UAE with a moving talk discussing her personal experiences. “The realization of other who aren’t brave enough to admit they have a mental health problem, which could often lead on to various serious problems, made me study psychology to be able to help them.”

The complete speaker line up included: Ayesha Ahmed Alhajeri, Comfortable being you? Take off the mask!, Aysha Saif Al Hemrani, How to bring the best out of you: My own recipe, Dr. Brigitte Howarth, A life without 'bugs'—euphoria or apocalypse?, Dr. Hanada Taha Thomure, Preserving the Arabic Language, Lynnette Eleanor Harper, She be fierce: Living at the South Pole, Maryam Fuad Bukhash, What is the true definition of being open-minded?, Dr. Mirey Karavetian, Empower women, the mothers of the future, and you empower a nation!, Nouf Mohammed Al Katheeri, Adhering to a tolerant identity, Salem Bin Bishr, How volunteering can change your life,  Sara Al Awadhi, Becoming a lawyer: Why it should matter to Emiratis, Sharifa Yateem,  

The future of inclusion in UAE, Zainab Ali Dawood, Lifting the stigma around mental health. Abdulla Saleh BuAli, Zayed University Cyber Security Postgraduate Student and Aysha Al Awadhi, Partnership and Development Coordinator at the Department of Economic Development in Ajman, were the TedxZayedUniversity emcees in English and Arabic, respectively.

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