Looking back at TEDxMuscat

Jim Stolze is the Organizer of TEDxAmsterdam, a TEDx event in Amsterdam. He is also a recently-appointed TEDx Ambassador. This is his experience from TEDxMuscat, a TEDx event held in Oman on May 3rd:

I think by now most of us know how exciting it is to attend a TEDx event. Just imagine what it’s like to be in the Middle East right now AND be able to attend a TEDx. You’ve probably heard of TEDxDubai and TEDxCairo. But did you also know that there has been a TEDxRamallah? And a TEDxAjman? Later this year there will even be a TEDxBaghdad!

Last week I had the honor to visit the Sultanate of Oman where I was both a guest and the opening speaker for TEDxMuscat. In this blogpost I would like to share my experiences with you.TEDxMuscatThe event was held at the Millennium Resort. This is a beautiful resort that was built for the Asian Beach Games in 2010. The place was brand new and of very high quality. All speakers were accomodated in the same building which led to nice connections on the day before. The main venue had place for 200 guests and it was a full house. All attendees clearly thought it was worth a one hour drive from the city of Muscat. The theme of the day was Shades of Change. Clearly a reference to the historic changes that are taking place in the region, but more than that it was a perfect angle for all speakers to talk about which changes they were passionate about. 

HH Sayyid Faisal bin Turki Al Said welcomed the audience and emphasized the importance of innovation and the sharing of knowledge.

Jim Stolze explained how TED is much more than a conference. It is a place where people share their dreams and find ways to turn them into a movement.

Firas Abouzeid took us on a journey of Digital Story Telling through his doodles

Tufool Abdullah Al Dhahab gave us her interpretation of the Facebook Revolution.

Hany Mwafy spoke about the Future of Business and the role of “I”.

Dr. Raymond H. Hamden surprised the audience by not only sharing psychological insights but also by showing his talent as a stand up comedian.

Mathias J. Holzmann took us by the hand and showed a bit of the future of technology.

Dr Evangelos Afendras is an expert on linguistics and gave us a personal story about his family in time.

Eman Bint Akbar Mohammed Rafay was the final speaker and filled the room with her beautiful story of hope and personal choices.

Giorgio Ungania gave some background on the many TEDx events in the Middle East and how they deal with sponsors.

Besides the “live” talks there were also some videos shown from the TED library. Amongst them were Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir, the 2010 talk from Adora Svitak and the incredible performance of the LXD.Until now all TEDx-events in the Middle East have been free of charge. TEDxMuscat served their guests a tremendous lunch and had fresh juices, tea and coffee throughout the whole day. This was made possible thanks to the help of sponsors. Just like the fact that the event was streamed live to several simulcast locations. Other TEDx-organizers could learn from TEDxMuscat as they had figured a nice way to thank their sponsors *outside* the main venue. In the lobby and in the corridors were nice red X-es with sponsors logos on it. This is a very smart way to thank your sponsors, other than mentioning them on stage. Looking backI’ve fallen in love with the country of Oman. Really impressed by the warm welcome and the hospitality. I congratulate Giorgio as he was the mentor of the organizers of TEDxMuscat. But more over I would like to salute Arun, Satyabrata, Roopesh and all the volunteers. Not only have they done wonderful things for the “country brand” of Oman, they have also proven to all the guests that a dream can turn into reality as long as you are surrounded by people who believe what you believe.