On December 8, 2018, American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) proudly hosted TEDxAUIS, the first TEDx event in Sulaimani, under the theme “Breaking Boundaries.” TEDxAUIS continued the TED tradition of bringing together ideas worth sharing and was directly operated under an official TEDx license.
The day featured exciting talks by eleven thinkers and doers from across Iraq and its Kurdistan region who shared ideas that matter. With speakers from across Iraq and its Kurdistan region, from Basra to Duhok, audience members listened to compelling stories in English, Kurdish, and Arabic about how each was breaking boundaries in their own communities and across the country.
The event started off with opening remarks by AUIS Sean of Students Geoffrey Gresk, student organizer Dastan Tofiq, and student emcees Dilan Sirwan and Yarivan Khoshawe. Ali Al-Baroodi, University of Mosul lecturer and photographer, was the first speaker on stage, presenting his 'Mosulography' project documenting life before, during, and after the was against the so-called Islamic State. Mohammed Al-Makhzomy of Yalla Iraq was up next to present on how social media and viral videos can help break boundaries among Iraq's diverse peoples. Heavy metal rock band Dark Phantom spoke of the importance of following your dreams, and using music to influence changes in society. Wrapping up the first part of the event was AUIS graduate Hevi Manmi whose entrepreneurial endeavors and persistence helped change the e-commerce industry in the Kurdistan region.
After a brief break, audience members were treated to a talk by members of Mr. Erbil, a group of Kurdish men using their unique and dandy-like fashion sense and social media presence for good, including to bring attention to issues they're passionate about. Sulaiman Tameer was up next and spoke about the need for societal change in the treatment towards animals. Shero Bahradar, the co-founder of a new arts space in Sulaimani, challenged audience members to think, act, and be different, with a focus on creativity. And author Kajal Ahmed delivered an thought-provoking talk on the role of women in society.
Ali Makhzomy of BilWeekend began the last portion of the event, speaking on the importance of cultural preservation in Iraq through educational tourism. Chawan Hiwa, a young mother and car mechanic, gave an inspiring talk about how simple acts like working in an auto shop can amount to breaking boundaries in conservative societies and the importance of supporting young girls to follow their dreams. Celebrated author, actor, and performer Sherzad Hassan was the final speaker of TEDxAUIS and had audience members laughing througout his talk on humor and performance.
TEDxAUIS was generously sponsored by:
Kurdsat Broadcasting Corporation