November 23rd 2016, Dubai, UAE: Dubai Women Establishment (DWE), in collaboration with TEDxDubai, hosted an evening of talks as part of UAE Innovation Week on Monday 21st November. The event, held at The Yard, Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz, Dubai, under the theme of ‘Shifting Perceptions’, featured an open dialogue between four inspiring speakers on innovative ideas to drive change.
During the third edition of TEDxDubai Salon, the four speakers, Sarah Amiri, Usman Riaz, Sajjad Kamal and Larissa Pak each shared their experiences, exploring a wide range of fields including the arts, sciences, space, sustainability, health, travel, the environment and social innovation. The discussions offered bold and unique insights and thought provoking conversations within a space that promoted open exchange and growth, creating a platform for inspiring the community to transform ideas to action.
The event was attended by HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Chairman of the H.H Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Humanitarian & Scientific Foundation. His Highness spoke with UAE artists supporting the event about the inspiration behind their works.
Shamsa Saleh: It was inspiring to be in an environment where the audience discussed a number of creative ideas and solutions to address future challenges – particularly during UAE Innovation Week, which is an important strategic initiative of our leadership to stimulate creativity and enhance innovation within the UAE.
Shamsa Saleh, CEO of Dubai Women Establishment, said: “We were delighted to collaborate with TEDxDubai to host the third TEDxDubai Salon. Our support for this initiative is in line with the objectives of UAE Innovation Week. The event and its featured speakers who are at the forefront of their respective fields discussed a number of creative and innovative ideas which attracted some of the community’s most passionate and engaged people. It was inspiring to be in an environment where the audience discussed a number of creative ideas and solutions to address future challenges – particularly during UAE Innovation Week, which is an important strategic initiative of our leadership to stimulate creativity and enhance innovation within the UAE”.
Sarah Amiri, currently the Chairwoman of the Emirates Scientists Council and Science Lead of the Emirates Mars Mission (Hope) at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), told the story of her personal growth that is inspiring not only to Emirati women but to all women, as she has emerged as a leader in a field that is still strongly male dominated. Sarah Amiri, said: “The feasibility study phase of the Mars Mission started in 2014 and the mission commenced in July 2014 with the announcement of the project. In retrospect, throughout the process, I did not for a moment think that this was absurd, that this was unrealistic, and impossible. To me, every goal that presents itself in the form of an opportunity is possible to accomplish, I only needed to figure out how.”
Senior TED Fellow Usman Riaz, an accomplished musician and hand drawn animation artist who is currently working on the first long length animation film in Pakistan discussed how he believes this is a way of reclaiming his culture on his own terms. He said: “Why should any of us be bound by any restrictions of an antiquated society? We can all choose our own path in reclaiming our culture.”
Sajjad Kamal, a disruptive healthcare entrepreneur since the age of 13 dedicated to using technology to improve access to diagnostic services in rural communities, and co-founder of AlemHealth discussed how his success is driven by his call for helping the unprivileged. He spoke about choosing the hardest path of service for the greater cause. He said: “I’m passionate about technology, and I believe it has the power to change the world for the better and to connect people. I see bigger, more important problems in the world that technology can solve and we need to look at those issues with the same passion, drive and competitiveness.”
Larissa Pak, a TEDx Ambassador and TEDx organizer who quit a successful banking job to travel the world in search for answers to the Crisis of 30’s, discussed her project, 30up. She spent 12 months becoming a ‘Human Landscape Explorer’ and explored how she unlocked the power and courage it takes to leap into a life of meaningful purpose. Larissa Pak said: “Travelling with intention brings a new paradigm to your experience. Life is not predictable and the world is changing so fast; the new rules of what is good are being established. We can no longer afford living through our parents’ norms and expectations, so why not treat the change as a basic necessity?”
Natascia Radice, Curator of TEDxDubai, said: “We feel passionately about the partnership with Dubai Women Establishment because it has been at the core of the TEDxDubai agenda to always promote gender balance both on stage in the speaker line up, and in the audience through careful curation of our attendees. We have organised successful events since 2010 and our mission is to support the growth of Emirati nationals in taking the stage and spreading ideas.”
During the event, DWE also hosted an ‘Innovation Hub’, featuring three renowned female UAE artists, Hind Bin Demaithan Al Qemzi, Hadeel Subahi and May Ali. Hind Bin Demaithan Al Qemzi, a visual artist, video composer, curator and creative consultant, who previously held the position of Head Curator of Dubai Design District (d3), showcased a collection of 3D animation designs highlighting the achievements of UAE women.
Hadeel Subahi, a Dubai based architect, origami designer and founder of Fold Lab, an experimental origami and paper products design studio demonstrated a number of origami designs, displaying the traditional Japanese art of paper folding. May Ali, an artist who focuses on personal portraits, event and venue set design, amongst a number of other art forms such as graphic design, abstract, comic art and paper art, showcased a number of her pieces within the DWE Innovation Hub.
The full TEDxDubai Salon – ‘Shifting Perceptions’ Talks will be available online in December. More information will soon be available on www.tedxdubai.com.