x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Big ideas programme reaches Dubai live

A global conference aimed at spreading good ideas is being beamed live on to a screen at Dubai's Knowledge Village.

Sheryl WuDunn's address to the TED annual conference is screened at Knowledge Village Auditorium in Dubai.
Sheryl WuDunn's address to the TED annual conference is screened at Knowledge Village Auditorium in Dubai.

DUBAI // A global conference aimed at spreading good ideas is being beamed live on to a screen at Dubai's Knowledge Village. The four-day TED Global Conference 2010, being staged in Oxford, England, can be seen, until Friday, at a free event called TEDxDubaiLive. The conference, an annual event hosted by TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) under the slogan "ideas worth spreading", includes a tight schedule of 18-minute talks punctuated with musical, comedy and video interludes. Last night's event in Dubai drew about 50 people, although organisers are expecting crowds to grow as the week wears on.

The first session of five speakers included Dr Naif al Mutawa, the Kuwaiti comic book artist. He premiered a clip of an animated series based on his comic book, The 99, which features Islamic superheroes. He spoke about how Muslims are misrepresented. Another speaker was Sheryl WuDunn, a Chinese-American former journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, who is now an investment banker and focuses on areas such as alternative energy issues and women entrepreneurs.

This year's speaking theme - "And now the good news" - was chosen to create a more hopeful view of the future than can generally be found in the world's mainstream media, according to TED's website. TEDxDubaiLive was hosted by Al Aan TV, a Dubai-based satellite channel, in collaboration with Catalin Cighi and Georgio Ungania, who have hosted other TEDx conferences. Dubai Media City provided the venue.

"In the Arab World, there are lots of young people who either see pop singers on their TVs or they see war and destruction," said Labiba Laith, a social media manager from Al Aan. "So to bring something of benefit to the community that will inspire them is the most important thing." Mr Cighi said the positive theme was an important one. "Every time you turn on the news, it is some kind of catastrophe or disaster so it is important to try and find some glimmers of light in the murk and rain," he said.

"For this to be shown in Dubai is also crucial because so many people say this place is a desert of the mind. That is not true - maybe those people are just not looking in the right place." aseaman@thenational.ae