Joanna speaks at TedxBeirut
On the 24 September this year, our very own Joanna Choukeir did a TEDx talk (for subtitles, click CC in the bottom right corner of the film window) for TEDxBeirut. Afterwards, she was invited by them to write a blog post about her experience being a TedxBeirut speaker, and the impact it had on her work.
Here is what she wrote…
“After three years of painstaking PhD research into why people like Charbel from Besharreh and Sahar from Tyr never meet in Lebanon, I finally understood, and had loads of research data to prove it. So what?
So I came up with an idea. Wouldn’t it be great if I shared what I understood with as many people as I can in Lebanon? Wouldn’t it be great if I didn’t just help them understand the problem, but I also invited them to come up with solutions? Surely many of us know more than one alone, and together our solutions will be a lot more meaningful, informed and impactful! And that’s the idea. Imagination Studio, a space inviting Lebanese youth from different regions, with different experiences, through different disciplines, to put their heads together and imagine the imaginable for a more integrated, less divided Lebanon.
At around that same time, the TEDxBeirut social media buzz was hitting town. I live all the way in London, and it reached me! So I thought to myself: What better way to engage as many imaginers as possible in Imagination Studio, than a TEDxBeirut audience?!
I got cold feet initially, but thought it was well worth a try. And from there things got rolling down a steep tough slope! From submitting a one-minute pitch, to making it through auditions, to preparing my talk and getting toastmasters coaching (definitely the toughest part of the journey, and I’m sure many speakers would agree!), to finally getting up on stage in front of a colossal audience that overflowed the seats into the aisles. Excitement overtook nervousness, and I shared with a 600+ audience the idea of Imagination Studio, the idea that a space existed where anyone and everyone could work together and imagine ideas that can help people like Charbel and Sahar visit each other’s areas, study together, work together, become friends, or even fall in love!
The impact that TEDxBeirut had on this idea was inspirational! Straight after the talk, a queue of imaginers wanted to help bring the idea to life. At home my inbox was already loaded with signups, and the twitter and Facebook accounts with mentions and messages.
And so one week later, a pilot of Imagination Studio did take place at n-Site in Beirut on the 1st of October, bringing together 35 imaginers from across Lebanon, many having been members of the audience at TEDxBeirut. We talked, played, danced, laughed, agreed, and disagreed. But most importantly, we worked hard to come up with ideas addressing the biggest challenges to social integration in Lebanon: Sect & Marriage, Regions & Mobility, Politics & Friendship, Media & Influence, and Language & Prejudice.
Together, we moved from one idea – Imagination Studio – to 22 brilliant ideas that can be actioned right now, right here, with the support of voluntary teams!
So the next step is a callout to anyone with an imagination and a passion to change Lebanon, to find out about these 22 ideas, and join the team for the idea(s) that gets your heart skipping! Click here to get involved.
TEDxBeirut was invaluable for Imagination Studio. The organising team trusted and supported a raw idea before it came to life, and helped it make its journey from limitation to inspiration."