Save lives, change everything: Jeremy Courtney

One tragic side effect of the conflict in Iraq is the rise in birth defects among Iraqi children to ten times the global average. At TEDxBaghdad, Jeremy Courtney tells the remarkable story of how saving these children’s lives is uniting former sectarian enemies — and starting a national healing process.

Each week, we choose four of our favorite talks, highlighting just a few of the enlightening speakers from the TEDx community, and its diverse constellation of ideas worth spreading. Browse all TEDxTalks here »

TEDxChange events around the world: TEDxBaghdadChange


Of the nearly 200 TEDxChange events happening around the world, perhaps none is in a more challenging locale than TEDxBaghdadChange.

Despite numerous security issues surrounding the event — and unreliable electricity and internet access — organizer Yahay Alabdeli has pushed forward with the event because, he says, “I believe we can make changes by empowering each other and learning from other countries’ experiences and developments.”

The event is also inviting 35 young people from the community to present their own ideas on stage for one minute — a testament to the organizer’s focus on using TEDx and TEDxChange as a way to invest in Iraq’s future. Youth are the ones “who can improve our community in Iraq,” says Yahay. 

Learn more about TEDxBaghdadChange»

From Mongolia to Sudan, Canada to Argentina, nearly 200 TEDxChange events are happening in 66 different countries. Be a part of this global movement, find an event near you.

TEDxBaghdad's event around the live simulcast of TED2012 took place on March 1st in Iraq's only 3D cinema.  When the simulcast began, only ten people were there — many of the streets in Baghdad were closed because of threats of multiple car bombs.  Instead of going home, many passionate attendees parked their cars and walked up to one and a half hours to the cinema.  A few hours later, the 100-person venue was packed full. The event, made better by music performances from audience members and — of course — popcorn, was covered by Baghdad television stations and served as a testament to the power of ideas and community to overcome threats of violence and terrorism.

Like many others who had only followed Iraq’s recent history on television or newspapers, my family and friends feared for my safety. But in the words of one of the TEDx speakers: “If you come with good intentions to do good, you will be welcomed as one of their own.” Her insight was indeed true as together, we made the impossible, possible. A galvanising force, bringing TEDx to Baghdad demonstrated beyond a doubt that infinite possibilities can be achieved when the Iraqi diaspora re-engages with the people of the country. By spurning preconceived notions of pessimism and fear, we were able to forge an unequivocal bond of solidarity and instill a sense of hope and promise in the lives of those we met on the ground.
Hamada Zahawi,  in his article, TEDxBaghdad: Iraq is Infinity  from AlJazeera