TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a U.S. based private non-profit foundation that is best known for its conferences, now held in Europe and Asia as well as the U.S., devoted to what it calls "ideas worth spreading." Its lectures, called TED Talks distributed through the Internet, are subject to an eighteen-minute time limit. Speakers are an eclectic mix of people with ideas representing a wide cross section of humanity.
TED is run by Chris Anderson, a Pakistani-born Oxford-educated journalist, who recently returned to the land of his birth to launch TEDx Karachi
conference. Organized by Dr. Awab Alvi, aka Teethmaestro
, and others, the theme of the Karachi conference held on June 4, 2010 was "What Pakistan Needs Now". Chris Anderson, Curator, TED, Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder/CEO, Acumen Fund, Roshaneh Zafar, Founder/CEO, Kashf Foundation, Asad Umar, CEO, Engro, Monis Rahman, Founder/CEO, Naseeb Networks, Asad Rezzvi, CEO, e-Cube Global and Joshinder Chaggar, Theater Artist. It was attended by a very diverse crowd of 500 people.
According to reports from a number of citizen journalists who attended the conference, Chris talked about the power of the technology and connectivity to transform lives in the developing world. He expects that ubiquitous cell phones
will have all the capabilities to connect to the Internet in the developing world. Ubiquitous Internet access combined with online applications and videos will help change how most of us learn, play, think, act and contribute to society.
Some of what Chris talked about is already happening via YouTube. Though it was not mentioned by him, an example of it is the Khan Academy
, established by a Pakistani-American Salman Khan in Silicon Valley, which uses Youtube videos to teach a variety of subjects ranging from math to science to personal finance. Availability of these videos via cell phones will enhance opportunities for teaching a much larger number of young people.
TEDx Karachi featured Asad Umar of Engro Power, an appropriate choice in the midst of a major energy crisis
requiring creative solutions in Pakistan. Engro is working on clean power plant
using flared gas, a CDM project
, to produce 225 MW power. In addition, there is a 1200 MW coal-fired plant
being built by Engro using Thar coal. Umar believes only 4% of Pakistan's vast Thar coal reserves could take care of all of Pakistan's current energy needs at significantly lower cost.
Monis Rahman, the founder of Naseeb social network as the first US VC-funded company in Pakistan, presented his idea of using the vast network the 90 million cell phones as a job search tools. His company also runs rozee.pk
, a job posting site.
Roshanneh Zafar of Kashf Foundation spoke about the work of her foundation funded by the Acumen Fund. Kashf is focused on microfinance
to help enable and empower women entrepreneurs in Pakistan. As blogger
Nuruddin Abjani who heard her speak put it: "she was one of the most passionate about Pakistan and how she is changing it with her foundation and how each one of us can. She got everyone teary-eyed when she sang the National Anthem and everyone stood and joined her - AS ONE! She showed how ONE person could make ALL the difference in the world. And she is SO DAMN RIGHT! If only we could UNDERSTAND!"
Jacqueline Novogratz of the Acumen Fund, who happens to be Chris Anderson's wife, spoke last with an urgent call for action. She asked, "If not now, when? If not us, who?" As an example, she mentioned the work of Tasneem Siddiqui in "Khuda Ki Basti", a low-cost housing project
to deal with the housing crunch from growing rural-to-urban migration
in Karachi, and the second similar project now underway in Lahore.
TEDx Karachi is expected to be just the first of many more TEDx events planned in Pakistan to encourage new ideas and inspire Pakistanis to act by finding and implementing creative solutions to address many of their nation's problems. It is in the best spirit of lighting candles
instead of cursing darkness.
Light a Candle, Do Not Curse Darkness
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Life Goes On in Pakistan
Pakistan's Multi-Billion Dollar IT Industry
ICT: Hope or Hype?
Truth About India's IT Revolution
Education in Pakistan
Quality of Higher Education in India, Pakistan
Pakistan's IT Industry Takes Off
Pakistan Launches UAV Production Line
Pakistan's Defense Industry Going High-Tech
Pakistan's Software Successes
Pakistan's Industrial Sector
Pakistan's Financial Services Sector
Auto Sector in India and Pakistan
Pakistan Textile Industry Woes
Pakistan Software Houses Association