Sun, Sep 25, 2011
Yesterday, I spent the whole day at TEDxBeirut the very first TEDx full day event in Lebanon. The event has been something many have been anticipating for a long time with a the usual polarity that is so much a nature of who we are. In the days leading to the event, I had wondered, as I am sure many did, if the event would be worth a whole day. Well let me describe it for you.
I walked into the theater at the beginning of the day thinking that I was one of the first to walk in after all the ushers were saying that people should start going in. Boy was I wrong, the theater was packing up and I barely found a place in the first session (in later sessions I opted for a seat on the stairs for it felt more natural). 685 people were sitting there waiting for the event. The stage looked amazing, because in its simple decoration of boxes placed here and there it was an elegant testimonial to what was about to begin. Our host Sara was well rehearsed and so were all of our speakers. The talks followed one and all, and each invited a host of thoughts. But the talks alone were not the cause for success. The success came from the well timed breaks given that allowed people to mingle with each to bring forth discussions, to linger in conversation as one speaker Mahomoud Natout had so hoped. And to my surprise and happiness those discussions during the breaks were not about people selling their products or their companies, it was about knowing other individuals in as much as you can know someone in such a short span.
But the greatest testimonial for the event’s spirit and success came from the audience. During the sessions you would be hard pressed to hear side conversations taking place. People were listening and dare I say reflecting. More importantly, after lunch I came back to a theater that was still packed. You might not grasp the significance of this immediately but in Lebanon (or elsewhere) I have yet to see a little less then 700 people stay the whole day for conference.
Yes yesterday’s TEDxBeirut event was well worth the day and much more. It was worth it thanks to the hard work put by the TEDxBeirut team who volunteered to make such a great event and to the speakers who volunteered their stories. To both of you a great thank you for the wonderful even you did. As for me, I think speaker ‘Arne Dietrich’ put it best when he said that It was the most fun he had in a single day in Beirut.
But, don’t just take my rant for it you could still catch the event (although you will miss on the discussions) by visiting TEDxBeirut.