Posted on May 01, 2019

The Leadership Club at Texas A&M University at Qatar and student Ganna Khalil recently organized the first ever TEDx event at Texas A&M at Qatar on the theme of empowerment.

TEDx is an independently organized event that helps share ideas in communities around the world in the form of short, powerful talks. The event took place at Qatar National Library and the presenters were Texas A&M at Qatar students, alumni, faculty and staff, parents and one VCUarts Qatar graduate. Speakers shared their “ideas worth spreading,” which is what TEDx aims to achieve. The Leadership Club president Ghaith Glaied said, “The mission of TEDx is aligned with the mission of The Leadership Club. By sharing ideas worth spreading, we aim to create an authentic community where students have the opportunity to share the impressive ideas they care about.”

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Texas A&M at Qatar students Saad Moazam and Farah Ramadan gave a joint talk on valuing time. Moazam, a senior mechanical engineering major, said a real turning point in his life was when he realized, “I am the best judge of what I should be doing with my time.” That realization was very empowering, and now he and Ramadan choose to invest their time in activities that are fulfilling. Ramadan, a sophomore chemical engineering student, started playing the guitar, which led her to start the Aggie Music Organization at Texas A&M at Qatar as an outlet for musically inclined students. Moazam founded a company after discovering his passion for entrepreneurship and humanitarian engineering. They ended their presentation with a question for every audience member to reflect on: “Do you make the most of your time or does time control you?”

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Texas A&M at Qatar graduate Meera Abou Soufah asked the audience to close their eyes and imagine a leader. She then asked the audience if anyone saw themselves. Abou Soufah said, “Self-empowerment is taking control of your life, setting goals and making positive choices.” She also said this road to self-empowerment is relative. “Run at your own pace, but run! No one will look after your career if you don’t. Keep imagining until when you close your eyes, you see yourself.” Research professor Dr. Othmane Bouhali shared words of encouragement with the audience. He recited a famous Arab proverb, “If you don’t like climbing mountains, you will end up living in holes.” Bouhali described his experience studying in Brussels where he would write computer programming by hand so that he could input the code at night when the computer lab was open. Bouhali also shared a photo of some of his scientific idols and concluded, “If they can do it, I can do it and you can do it.”

VCUarts Qatar alumna Farrah Altaweel and Texas A&M at Qatar graduate Mahmoud ElTouny’s talks were about their projects empowering specific communities. Altaweel empowers children by developing creative learning techniques from a design perspective. Children gain knowledge in all sorts of ways and some of those visual styles are untapped, she said. ElTouny talked about his journey creating Bonocle, a device that helps the visually impaired community to read in Braille. ElTouny said, “Don’t sympathize. Empower.”

You can watch the full event on YouTube using this link, https://youtu.be/MIdM6W3zxLo.

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