Public Affairs

RISE Center at AUK Hosts Second TEDxAUK Conference

14th May 2019 | by the Office of Public Affairs

The Center for Research in Informatics, Sciences, and Engineering (RISE) at the American University of Kuwait was proud to host the second TEDxAUK Conference at the Salwa Sabah Al-Ahmad Theatre & Hall. TEDx, an independently organized event, is a curated live experience, bringing speakers, artists and audience members together with the purpose of sharing perspective and deep discussions around ideas that matter.

The theme for this year’s event was Voyages—sharing the lessons learned from pursuing one’s passion through journeys of survival, perseverance, and embracing life’s challenges. TEDxAUK brought together a diverse group of speakers from Kuwait and around the world.

Director of RISE Center and TEDxAUK Curator, Dr. Amir Zeid described the overall vibe at the event, "The inspiring atmosphere from the voyagers' talks was contagious. Listening to our speakers share their ideas on determination, failure, story-telling, community-building and rebuilding, compassion, creativity, and connection left us all inspired to go on our own voyages. The journey does not end tonight, new voyages that started in the past with pearls will still continue into the future with the stars. This year’s TEDxAUK event was for all voyagers who will change the world and we cannot wait to see what they will do." The event had double the number of attendees from the previous year and strives to further grow its community in the future.

TEDxAUK 2019 talks discussed experiences with the purpose of sharing perspective, sparking deep discussions, and inspiring positive networks and impactful actions around ideas that matter.

Omar Noor, retired professional triathlete and survivor walked the audience through his journey to becoming Egypt’s first Olympic triathlete, and then embarking on a 3,000 nautical mile rowing adventure across the Atlantic Ocean which was featured in a documentary by world-renowned film director Marco Antonio Orsini.

Melody Mitchell, Air Force Officer and Founder of Lean In Kuwait redefined what being part of a tribe means to her; she outlined her journey through her studies and career that have led her to interact with multiple ‘tribes’, and how she decided to create her own tribe to welcome and empower women to join and feel accepted.

Jeff Noel, Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker disputed the idea of going the extra mile to accomplish something, and stated that a person should aim to go the extra inch everyday to eventually build a credible rapport.

Omar Khalil, AUK student, game developer and artist proved that no idea starts off as a great idea; all initial ideas must be developed and explored. Omar demonstrated this by using a game he developed specially for this conference as an analogy that allowed the audience to build different structures and filter their choices of shapes and colors to end up with a well-structured model.

Ali Khalil Husain, Founder of Husaak Adventures expressed his passion for exploration and finding meaningful connection with nature and other people to foster stability and tolerance.

Mike Raymond, Software Engineer and cave explorer recounted his adventures in caves and the perilous risks he took to explore unchartered territories.

Helen Woodward, Co-founder of Rebuilding Schools in Nepal touched on compassion as the driving force behind her motivation to give children a proper education in Nepal; this enabled her to step up and lead the initiative towards helping others.

Ahmed El-Ghandour, Founder and Producer of “Da7ee7” Science Show explained how his love for science led him to creating a successful Youtube channel.

Layan Al-Dabt, AUK alumna, Programs Coordinator at en.v and Co-founder of Hikayitna shared her experience of gathering a collection of stories from her hometown of Palestine to piece together a collective identity for the nation; she also stressed on the importance of storytelling as an ancient form of sharing a piece of one’s identity that is still relevant today.

Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, Serial Entrepreneur, Clinical Psychologist, and Founder of The Soor Center for Professional Therapy and Assessment discussed how his hero comic series ‘The 99’ has created controversy and enlightenment within youths and politicians.  

The day consisted of intellectual talks broken up into three sessions with a short break in between each session where attendees were invited to join in activities such as art and calligraphy which was brought by ACICO Group, and a musical performance by Omrani’nd The Crew. Attendees also received bags filled with TEDxAUK memorabilia including t-shirts created by Tenetee Apparel.

This year’s TEDxAUK conference was sponsored by KIPCO, United Real Estate Company (URC), Gulf Insurance Group (GIG), Burgan Bank, Eleven Events Management & Production Co, and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company.

For further updates and announcements on the event, please follow the account @tedxauk on Instagram.

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