Highlights From Our Recent Collaboration With TEDxLahore 2017 and Global Shapers Lahore

Highlights From Our Recent Collaboration With TEDxLahore 2017 and Global Shapers Lahore

On October 22 2017, Global Shapers Lahore brought together the city community for TEDxLahore with over 200 attendees. An independent TED event curated by Shaper Irteza Ubaid, TEDxLahore stood out for its diversity in ideas and people.

Under the theme “Moving Forward,” education reform, maternal mortality and transgender rights were amongst some of the topics explored by the speakers. The audience was taken on a journey that made them take a pause and think, laugh and cry alongside the speakers. Each had a powerful story, and the audience took away some thought-provoking ideas.

It was a Shaper-led event with the Lahore Hub fully taking charge – Anoosha (Courting the Law – Partner), Purniya (Partnerships), Hirra (Design), Najam and Rafay (Logistics), Ghalib (Registrations) and Kanza (Speaker Coach/Host). Yet, the proudest moment for the Lahore Hub was when Jannat Ali, part of the newest cohort of Global Shapers Lahore took center stage as a speaker.

Jannat, a transgender activist and community leader, shared her story of gender sensitization and the reclaiming of space. In a poignant kathak performance, a traditional Pakistani dance, Jannat shared that art helped her in the turbulent period when she felt conflicted in the double life she was leading before she could share the truth with her family. In a brave and honest account of her journey, she shared her dream of becoming the highest educated transgender person in the world, and the audience found itself wishing for it to come true soon.

“Change cannot happen if you don’t fight for what is right and true!”, she said.

Jannat recently played an important role in putting forward the first transgender protection bill in the Senate, which has now been presented in Pakistan’s National Assembly.

Similarly, other ground-breaking ideas on social issues also stood out.

The first speaker Nadia Naviwalla, an independent researcher and a Wilson Center Global Fellow shared insights that aimed to change the narrative on education reform in Pakistan.

“This country does not have a crisis of children out of school. We have a crisis of children in schools who are learning nothing. This is why kids drop out and parents think schooling isn’t worth the hassle,” she said.

Another social policy idea that was shared was on maternal mortality. Dr. Noreen Zafar, the founder of the Girls & Women Health Initiative (GWHI), shared a story that highlighted gender disparities even before birth.

“Throughout history, more women have died during childbirth than men have died in wars. But that’s just not history. It is still happening even today,” Dr. Zafar said.

Similarly, Yusra Amjad, a poet, comedian and part of the desi-feminist collective “Girls at Dhabas” shared the lived realities of gender disparity. Through wit, humour and a sprinkle of poetry, Yusra highlighted individual liberty and freedom.

Continuing the theme of civic liberties, Usama Khilji, activist and Director of a digital rights organization Bolo Bhi, highlighted the right to information and civic education with links to democracy.

Culture and heritage were brought in focus by Kamran Lashari (Walled City Authority) and Zohaib Kazi (Coke Studio; Fanoos) in very different ways. Mr. Lashari shared stories of restoring Lahore to its former glory, and shared accounts of restoration projects. Zohaib spoke of his journey in music. He has recorded six artists from different parts of Pakistan as part of his project Fanoos in partnership with Pakistan’s most popular music app, Patari.

“I wanted to give a digital voice to people who did not have any digital presence,” Zohaib said.

TEDxLahore was unique in involving all age groups at the event. Middle school children of the TED Ed Club were seen creating awareness on important issues; small business owners and start-ups were given a space to reach out to a wider network and create greater economic impact; and last but not the least, participants took away a host of memories of a Sunday that shaped ideas.



TEDxLahore 2017’s partners included: United Snacks, Courting The Law, DESTINATIONS Magazine, FM91, Beaconhouse School System and Global Shapers Lahore.


Talks at TEDxLahore 2017 (will be updated as and when released)

Restoring Lahore to Her Former Glory | Kamran Lashari

To solve Pakistan’s Education Crisis, we must ask the right questions | Nadia Naviwala


On Being a Pakistani Transgender Activist | Jannat Ali

Why we need civic education? | Usama Khilji


About TED and TEDx

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Vancouver, British Columbia. TED’s media initiatives include TED.com, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self- organized TED-style events around the world, and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)



Maha Kamal on behalf of Global Shapers Lahore

Global Shapers Lahore

Author: Global Shapers Lahore

The Global Shapers Community is one of the several multi-stakeholder communities at the World Economic Forum and is a network of Hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, achievement and drive to make a contribution to their communities. The Lahore Hub is based in Pakistan, South Asia.