Pakistan's first TEDx event!

I was born in Pakistan, so this makes me incredibly happy: a self-organzied gathering of more than 200 people, mostly young women, in Lahore to dream about what Pakistan's future might be.  Below is a report from organizer Areej Mehdi, to whom, my congratulations.  More pictures on their blog here.   More about TEDx events here.  5-10 are held somewhere in the world every single week now!

Where do I start?!

The TED name attracted a lot of people from the professional world. We had people applying from outside Pakistan, even though they knew it was a TEDx event but everyone was very excited. However, we had to limit our attendance to 200 - 300 people due to security concerns. Kinnaird is an all-girls institute and as such we do not have mixed events. I had to convince the administration to allow us a mixed TEDx event because I'm aware how rare TEDx events are in Pakistan, let alone Lahore.

We themed the event "Believe in Tomorrow". I think it was very pertinent to address the feelings of despair residing within students when it comes to the future of Pakistan. Through this event, we hoped to address those feelings and come up with a positive spin on things.
The program was divided into two sessions with a 30 minute break in between. For our first event, I approached diverse speakers. We had students, teachers, political and social commentators, along with HR managers.

I think the best part about the event was its location. We had no carpets, no cushions and yet people enjoyed the event. We did have weather concerns, but the event managed to go smoothly enough. The audience comprised of students mostly, but we had people for the professional world as well. We managed to introduce TED to a whole lot of people because only a few of them were already familiar with the TED name. The event was highly appreciated by all. The one negative feedback that I did receive was that we had not publicized the event on a greater scale. But I had to do that since we could not allow a great number of people given the budget that we had been granted.

Our speaker list included names famous and unknown. We had people like Fasi Zaka, a political satirist and commentator; Omair Rana, professor of Media Studies and a theater artist; Huma Mirza, an educationalist working to promote the concept of Reading Rooms in Pakistan; Asim Fayaz, TEDxLahore Curator who is involved with various social action projects and is quite popular with the student body here, among others.

I personally loved the feeling of becoming closer to TED through the hosting of this event. Asim and I constantly joke about the TED bond that we have developed over the months. He was very helpful in explaining things to me at times when I was stuck, so I'd like to mention his name especially.

28 responses
So nice to see this! I'd have loved to attend this one! May this world be free of religion and may we become friends once again!

Lots and lots of love from India...

gr8 to know abt such an initiative,youth is a gr8 force
Awesome! are there going to be any videos of the event?
true no one really knew TEDx Pakistan was happenin..
it would have been a great reason to fly over to Lhr!
Hoping a higher budget is approved next time!
Born in Pakistan? Interesting!

BTW wasn't TEDxLahore (curated by Asim Fayaz) the first TEDx in Pakistan?

Lahore has done a great job by hosting TEDxLahore and TEDxKinnaird. Look forward to which other city in Pakistan picks up the gauntlet next.

To the TEDx Pakistan team. Many congratulations for this event. I have the privelage of attending the TED US conference and as a person of Pakistani origin i am delighted this event was held. Also Kinnaird is an ideal location.

So to the organizers and supporters - well done !! If you do this again i am happy to help as i can.

Zia Yusuf.

Kudos to the whole team! Well done. It is wonderful that you were able to organize the first TEDx in Lahore. We need many such positive activities which are, as you pointed out, an outlet but are at the same time a great learning and sharing experience. I am a great TED fan and salute you for your efforts.
Thank you everyone for appreciating this effort. And yes as Ramla mentioned earlier, TEDxLahore was the first Pakistani TEDx event (=
kudos to areej for organizing this event. it was really well done. i hope to see more of TED in Pakistan. great initiative. :)
TedxKinnaird was an amazing experience=)
I loved the event, and I must say Fasi Zaka's talk blew my mind away. The whole event was worth hearing him speak, and quite frankly, he seemed to be one of the few who put an effort into doing something that was required for the talk, others just "winged" it.
Yes, it was a great start to a hope we have all so nearly just lost. TEDx Kinnaird was the best event and the speakers better yet. I especially liked Omair Rana who was pretty outspoken, Fasi Zaka was just great, Taimur Banday also shed light on some issues, and Nadeem Chauhan lightened the mood with his talk.
All in all, it was a great event to ever happen :)
Thanks for these great comments. (And sorry that I somehow missed the earlier, smaller TEDxLahore event.) Here's hoping for many more.
Congratulations! Looking forward to hearing about your NEXT TEDx event! Anywhere we can gather and share ideas, in hope and without fear, is a wonderful occasion for celebration.


i m sure it went well..but don't forget nadeem chawhan's name... he is incredible always!
Kudos to Areej and the rest of the Kinnaird Team. As a TED fellow I'm happy to help any of you TEDxsters out in any way I can for future events...cheers & do Believe in Tomorrow!
I have been a great fan of the original TED and was delighted when it was planned to be held in my home town of Lahore. I invite my fellow Lahorites and fellow citizens to view this website ( its an affirmation in our belief in the tomorrow of Pakistan. Sheheryar (
Where can we get the Videos?
Need Nadeem Chawan's video in particular.
im looking forward to the upcoming event..!
i really like this information about pakistan, the pakistani education is unstablise and the govt need to give the special attention to the pakistani education to satblize this
I must admit I didint knew about TEDx. It was in Karachi where Imran Khan was hosted, I am a admirer of Mr. Khan. I want to be in touch with TEDx in future.
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