Beirut, Ramallah, TEDx and Passion

I’ve been asked to write a blog in English though so far my focus has been centered on the Arabic version of the website, and will remain…

I have been asked to talk about that beautiful evening of Thursday last, December 9th, 2010 in Awkar Lebanon, about that insightful lecture by Micheal Sandel entitled “Justice-The Right Thing To Do or The Freedom to choose” and about the discussions that ensued.

But I won’t do that. What I will write about here revolves around the thoughts, impressions and feelings that grew inside me whilst sitting there, in this new apartment, for two and a half hours contemplating, listening and debating.

What drives two people to host “TEDxSKE salons” every week, non-stop for the past two years and open up their house to complete strangers?

What drives a Master Student from Yemen to halt her evening class half an hour before it is scheduled to end just because she has a Ted meeting to go to?

What drives an Italian expatriate and his wife to leave their children every week at night in a foreign not always so safe country?

What drives a non-Palestinian, non-Lebanese very gifted architect to dedicate her full time to an event that has her flying around the Levant and the Gulf and organizing its live stream from countries that are not even her own?

And what drives two cities (and more) to host, organize and live stream the same TEDx event?

I’ll tell you what that driving force is called: PASSION,” SHAGHAF” in Arabic. A passion so deep, so intense, so rooted you would not be able to describe it. A passion for something new, different, for an inspiring idea, for a beginning, for a better world maybe. A passion for inner fulfillment and self satisfaction.

Is this passion exclusive to Beirut, Ramallah and TEDx? Certainly not!!! But you can be sure to find it there.

This exact passion is the reason why I wake up every morning with a smile. I smile because Lebanon and Palestine are closer now then they were a few decades back. I smile because TEDx is bringing people together, I smile because the first page in my “book” has been opened.

And so the story begins…

Written by Zeina Tahan

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