Highlights from the Ecosystem

The popular TED Talks have gone virtual in recent years due to the series of unfortunate events that have unfolded on a global scale. As a result, inspiring stories are seemingly scarcer to come by. In Lebanon, TED events have gone relatively silent since the pandemic’s emergence, until a group of students at ACS Beirut decided to change that. After many months of planning, ACS Beirut introduces TEDxYouth@ACSBeirut, providing the youth with a platform to have their voices and stories heard.

BDD’s team sat with the Sponsorship Team (ST) of TEDxYouth@ACSBeirut, Nazokat Makhmudova and Karim Chehadeh, to discuss hopes, aspirations and the untold stories of the youth in Lebanon.

BDD: What inspired you to host the TEDxYouth program this year?

ST: The initiative to host an event of this magnitude was born out of the need for a storytelling platform. In a time when the international community is full of uncertainty and the Lebanese community even more so, students, much like ourselves, felt the need for a platform where one could express their ideas. In essence, the TEDxYouth@ACSBeirut team wanted to address the gap in communication that has seeped through over the past few years. It was time to create a new legacy and we were up for the challenge – the result was the first ever TEDxYouth@ACSBeirut event in Lebanon.

BDD: So what types of stories are being shared? Are there any main themes you are witnessing emerge?

ST: The main theme of the event is “Stories in Motion” – this encompasses the value of storytelling throughout tumultuous, ever-evolving situations. In other words, each person has their own story to tell and each story is ever-changing. Our theme also addresses the notion of navigating our lives through sharing, listening and learning from stories.

BDD: At BDD, we understand the power of the community. How has the BDD Academy supported you in this project?

ST: The partnership between the TedxYouth@ACSBeirut team and the BDD Academy team has resulted in valuable discussions about the creation of this initiative. Their logistical involvement and guidance in the purpose of this project has ensured that the event will reach its full potential in inspiring our community.

BDD: What are your hopes and aspirations for the future of TEDxYouth?

ST: Our aspirations for the future of TEDxYouth@ACSBeirut are that it continues to grow and reach a wider audience. We wish to inspire as many youth as possible, expanding our influence from our school to the international community through the use of digital mediums.

BDD: What is the role, in your opinion, of the youth of Lebanon, in shaping the future of the country?

ST: We recognize the importance of education in Lebanon’s future and want to use it as a force for powerful change. The future is uncertain, but through TEDxYouth, we hope to successfully navigate and shape this uncertainty. The direction of the youth of Lebanon will directly influence the future of our nation and we hope for a promising tomorrow.

To learn more about the TEDxYouth@ACSBeirut event, and hear the inspiring stories of the youth, visit http://www.acs.edu.lb/TEDx

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