Owned by the private not-for-profit Sapling Foundation, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences devoted to “ideas worth spreading”, usually in the form of short, inspiring talks, normally curated by Pakistani-born publishing entrepreneur Chris Anderson. TEDx is an independently organized event that helps communities, organizations and individuals ‘spark conversations and connections through local, TED-like experiences.’

TEDx returns to the City of Lights on the 27th of September at the Arts Council, with this year’s theme: Rise Above ‘Khudi Ko Kar Buland’. The phrase loosely translates to ‘raising one’s self to new heights’. This ‘self-elevation’ is achieved by practicing humility and benevolence in everyday life with the belief that the closer you get to achieving humility, the higher you shall rise as a person.

In an exclusive visit to the event organizer’s headquarters, The Karachiite got up-close and personal with the team behind this year’s TEDx conference in Karachi…

“There is a prevailing societal disconnect or ‘social apartheid’ in Pakistan; when an entity’s core is not in sync with its peripherals, disorder is allowed to run rampant,” says Dr. Ashar Hasan, TED fellow, CEO & Founder of Naya Jeevan.

He further explained that, “Society needs to burst its bubble and TEDx is here to shake up the stagnant status quo by hosting a number of accomplished personalities to deliver their messages.”

This TEDx event will be a unique experience; the talks will showcase the speakers’ personal side, unscripted and unedited. They are not for an exclusive audience and are aimed at engaging everybody.

“The past six months of my life have been dedicated to the culmination of this event, so much so, that now I only think in terms of TED,” says Seher Hafeez, Project Director for this year’s TEDx conference in Karachi. “Organizing this renowned event has been an enlightening experience. It’s a platform for speakers to share their stories and passions… I especially look forward to Jameel Yusuf’s and Tina Sani’s talks.”

Speaking about the conference Sabeen Haque, TEDx Connector, explained how it will be a no-frills experience saying, “Speakers will stay true to their essence, there will be no shashkas.”

Initially the team at Naya Jeevan struggled with designs while putting together the event. “The location we picked wasn’t fitting with what we had in mind, we wanted to go all out,” said Ayesha Haroon, Creative Director for TEDx. Hence they shifted the event to a more conducive and secure venue [Arts Council] to give it the feel they were looking for.

This year’s TEDx will be broadcast over the internet via a web-stream and there will also be live quotable tweets highlighting the talks for those who can’t make it in person, thus making the conference more accessible.

“I handle everything from sound and lights to the recording and streaming of the talks… basically the event’s production as a whole,” said Kamal Khan, Producer & Videographer for the prestigious forum. “TEDx is an inspiring platform. For me, it’s a big honor to work for such an internationally recognized event.”

These candid words give us just a sneak peek into what we can expect from this year’s seminal event. We can only hope these talks encourage individuals to adopt the socio-political mindset changes that must come about in order for us to move towards a more cohesive society.

Let us all rise above the current apathetic attitude and illuminate the way forward!