Nominate Speakers for TEDxDhaka 2023

Highly likely TEDxDhaka will be back in the third or the fourth quarter of 2023. As we always try to start early, the first step is to start finding the speakers! Help us finding the best minds in the country (or beyond) who can talk about the most pressing matters of our time, that should include but of course not limited to economics, arts, journalism, photography, literature, science, technology, entrepreneurship, society, humanity, policy et al. You can nominate yourself or anyone potential that you know through this link: or

Think about the topic, the issue, the solutions, the hows and whys and the big ideas more than the person behind it. Remember that it is not about you! It is about the idea you deliver for the community. No, your personal story, the success story of your company or product is not an idea, it is called promotion; TEDx stage is not your platform for promo, please do not try to sneak in to doing that.

Think about all the TED talks you remember, yes, you remember the talk and the idea only, highly likely not the speakers. Because the key to a successful talk is removing yourself from it.

This time we will be on a hard-line about keeping self-promoting stories out of the stage. You can easily remove all the pride, glory, frills, branding, names, pitch, promotions and stories and focus on hows and whys to turn it into a brilliant idea that would help the local and global community to fill in the blank in their world-view.

Here are some examples that would help you clearly understand what we mean by that, for example,

1. You may be a successful farmer who saw massive profit from a special crop or a style of farming. We are only interested in that crop and the style; that is the big idea there, not about the success story of your company or you. Do not start with “My company Omuk Agro started with zero, then we planted a tree, now we make millions”—no don’t do that, we are not interested in that story.

2. You may be the CEO of a ride sharing company. We probably ask you to talk about completely a different thing, like how ride sharing companies helped with mining a crucial set of data that was missing from the research and urban planning of Dhaka, i.e: the live data of the traffic! Your talk can be about the unique opportunity of looking into the quantifiable data about how Dhaka traffic behaves, and why this data is crucial for the future of the urban planning of the city—see that is an idea, that’s what we want as a TEDx talk! Nobody is interested about your company’s success story, or your company or you, at least we are not.

3. You may be a scientist, focus on a specific research that has been published already in peer reviewed journals, and the research that is relevant for one or more of the pressing matters of our time. Make the complex easy and palatable for educated general audience, and focus only on delivering the core finding of your research. Remove yourself, your team, your institute, your story, everything, and focus only on explaining the new findings you found that probably can make a huge difference.

This video from TED Curator Chris Anderson is helpful

TEDxDhaka 2017 Rendering Tomorrow: Session 4 “Self-reflection”


Tayeba Begum Lipi

Tayeba Begum Lipi, a Bangladeshi artist, uses art to address gender issues and female identity. In her talk, she lets the visual displays of her work tell the story. Each of her creations are built with everyday articles that seem simple, but fulfills numerous purposes.

Razor blade, she recollected, separated her from her mother, during birth, at the cut of the umbilical cord. Her Bizarre and the Beautiful model, sculpted with fabricated razor blades, is a show of women’s undergarments, an essential item for women but a taboo in the society nonetheless. The glimpse of her own life- her happy marriage, the unfortunate loss of a baby, and the contemplation of death, was symbolized by Love Bed, My Daughter’s Cot, and Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.

She shared her one year-long project on transgenders, the demography that is still considered a social outcast. Lipi got in touch with Ananya, a transgender, who willfully shared her life story and struggles. Lipi later exhibited Ananya’s life by replicating her personal belongings with fabricated items, and by lightbox displays of both their lives when compared.

She played the videos of her projects Unveiling Womanhood and I wed myself. The former video reinforces that a woman’s identity is not defined by the attire she chooses for herself. I wed myself, where Lipi enacts both the groom and bride, challenges society’s definition of marriage or union between two individuals. This video calls for more inclusion and tolerance in the society.


Six young boys took their position on stage with their fancy instruments and won everyone’s heart with the first tune.

They shared the formation of their dear band, Chitropot, so named because the band symbolizes the canvas which shows the harmony between each of their skills. Playful desk banging in the classrooms and free music after school hours, under the shade of a tree, led to the formation of Chitropot. They didn’t enter the music world as know-it-all experts. They learned new instruments, music notes, and skills at each stage a fresh element was required. Chitropot defied the conventional process of starting anything new and strongly believes that everything falls into place when you pour your heart and soul into it.

On the TEDxDhaka stage, the band started with the song Brishti Tumi which was also the first song they released. The group of six believes that this song defines their journey, which is why both its original and revised versions were played to depict the band’s transformation. Their performance was further enlivened by the melodious tunes of Shada Kalo Rongdhonu and Chokbadha.

Ejaj Ahmad

Life is a race. We are always on the run for one thing or the other.

“But do we pause for a moment to realize what the purpose of this running is?”

In his speech, Ejaj points out the stifling modern life competitions. While we are engrossed in this rat race and may also outrun our peers, Ejaj questions if we are headed the right way.

“Running in the right direction requires purpose.”

Ejaj iterates that purpose will lead our passion. However, finding the purpose is not an easy task. To this, the speaker suggests to reflect on our actions, our daily behaviors, and not our words. Our life story and values are key ingredients in setting our purpose, and it should not merely be about surviving.

“Above and beyond all purposes, you must have a higher over-arching purpose that is about serving others.”

Once the purpose has been figured out, one needs to stay connected to it. Ejaj Ahmad shares two ways to do soone is to allow discipline and consistency in life and the other is to unfasten oneself from others’ burdensome expectations.

“Identify the bottles of expectations that you need to empty to achieve your over-arching purpose.” With this, Ejaj Ahmad emptied a bottle of expectation that was slowing him down from reaching his goal, and left the audience to contemplate about their life’s ultimate purpose.

TEDxDhaka 2017 Rendering Tomorrow: Session 3 “The Demography”

The Demography

Hussein Elius

“Who here likes traffic?” Asked Hussein Elias rhetorically to kick off his talk on the traffic situation of Dhaka, one he is deeply involved with being the co-founder of the largest time-sharing transport company in Bangladesh. He set forth presenting the research and statistics he collected through his venture and tried to portray a more coherent picture of the chaotic mess that is Dhaka traffic. He graphically demonstrated the patterns of trips of the inhabitants of Dhaka and  shared a moving story of a bike rider at Pathao. Having lost his job and with the burden of supporting a family, he joined Pathao as a last resort. Within a month, he was earning over 40,000 taka, and his daughter didn’t have to drop out of school.

Elius concluded by explaining how he set out to solve a problem for himself and then ended up not only solving the same problem for others, but also gave opportunity for many more to make a living through this solution.

Irinel Cocos

There are various misconceptions surrounding human trafficking. Irinel Cocos starts by talking about such misconceptions which include the amalgamation of human and sex trafficking, the lack of awareness of the extent of labour trafficking and the ignorance to the fact that the majority of victims of human trafficking are men. She emphasised the importance of prosecuting the assailants and broke down the consequences of failing to do so.

Irinel then outlined the challenges faced while trying to bring the culprits to justice which includes problems varying from lack of law enforcement coordination across borders, the lack of awareness within communities and the social situation plaguing the subcontinent that discourages the victims from pursuing retribution. All of the following factors resulted in astonishing results in attaining justice against the perpetrators. Only in 2017, out of 363 reported cases of trafficking, only 1 person was convicted. The number surprised everyone, but she clarified that protection from human trafficking and justice for it are closely and inseparably intertwined. Each and every one of us are accountable to the problem if we don’t speak up. Human trafficking isn’t just across international borders and only with women and children, it happens within Bangladesh and with men too.  She asserted that trafficking is everywhere, and it is vital that we recognise the cases, speak up and fight for justice. Irinel concluded by leaving the audience with a point to ponder, “You cannot deny someone’s tomorrow when you’re sitting there and contemplating yours.”


Rubayat Khan

Rubayat Khan, the founder of Jeeon, was the third speaker of this session. He started by painting a clear picture of the situation of healthcare in rural Bangladesh. There is an enmity against the primary point of care for the dwellers of these rural villages, the village medics, who are often the only means to get emergency medical relief for the villagers.

He discussed what he saw as an opportunity to improve the healthcare issues in village—telemedicine. Rubayat explained how using the village medics, who are often the pharmacy owners in the village, as the legs for the doctors who often cannot reach the patients themselves. Combining the training of the doctors with the practical experience and personal touch of the medics, a more cohesive solution for the healthcare situation in the villages. He detested the constant scapegoating and delegitimization of the medics and pointed out the hypocrisy of the medical community in not being willing to live in the villages to reach the villagers but blaming the “quacks” for providing a service the medical community should be providing but isn’t. He also shed a light on the medicine industry in Bangladesh, one filled with counterfeit drugs and the “doctor prescribed” increased demand. Rubayat concluded by breaking the various myths that surround these medics and asserted the importance of their services and the need to incorporate them into the medical system through training.

TEDxDhaka 2017 Rendering Tomorrow: Session 2 “Climate Change is Now”

Climate Change is Now

Jalal Ahmad

The first talk of this session was by Jalal Ahmad, the Principal Architect of J. A. Architects Ltd. He highlights a pressing problem of global development climate change—and how it is impacting Bangladesh. He speaks about river bank erosion in Bangladesh and deadly effects that it is having on the livelihoods of millions of Bangladeshis, comparing it to “a silent cancer” which is plaguing the people of Bangladesh everyday. His solution to the problem? To build self-sustaining villages.

Jalal Ahmad took the audience through a visual journey of his projects in Sreepur and Gaibandha, where he and his team built whole villages with schools and community areas with minimum resources. What set this project apart is the holistic approach to build the villages—not only did it provide a shelter for climate refugees—it also created economic opportunities for villagers to be self sustainable around the year through weaving and pumpkin cultivation. The cost of creating these villages are economical too, he stated. With the cost of creating an apartment building which can house 36 families in Dhaka city, the project can create housing for 36,000 families in the villages.

Although we come up with makeshift solutions when we see small problems, we need to think about the bigger picture. By preparing ahead and holistically addressing landlessness, says Jalal Ahmad, we can take the right step to rehabilitate and empower climate refugees.


Zeba Islam Seraj

The second talk of the session was by Dr. Zeba I. Seraj, a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Dhaka. She started the session by giving alarming data on the effects of climate change in Bangladesh. Due to climate change, levels of carbon dioxide is rising, which is increasing acid levels in the ocean and as a result, coral reefs are being affected. Climate change is also creating storms and cyclones like we’ve never seen before in Bangladesh, which is increasing the level of salinity in the water. This, Zeba points out, is negatively affecting the harvest of crops and can create a crisis of epic proportions if not tackled immediately.

Her Plant Biotechnology Laboratory in collaboration with both national and international institutes, like BRRI ( Bangladesh Rice Research Institute), IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) and ICGEB (The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology) has produced saline tolerant rice using DNA-marker-assisted selection as well as genetic transformation. Climate change is real, and it is already affecting the lives of millions of people in Bangladesh, says Zeba I. Seraj. Through local efforts in innovating the way we harvest crops, we can play a contribution in addressing climate-change induced food shortages globally.


Shahriar Caesar Rahman

The third talk of the session was by the environmental conservationist Shahriar Caesar Rahman. He began his talk with a moving story of his experience in the jungle. He had rescued a rare bird species but couldn’t save it at the end because its mate had died, and two birds depended on each other for survival. With this analogy, provoked the audience to think about the dependencies of humankind on forests, and how important it is for our survival that forests thrive.

Caesar highlighted the tremendous man-made challenges that forests are facing, and how, in pursuit of economic development, we have sacrificed our natural ecosystems. Through his speech, he reminded the audience that if forests are affected, sooner or later, we’ll be affected as well. Although  many of us consider planting trees to be equivalent cutting down trees in forests, as Caesar pointed out, what we fail to understand is that forests have their own ecosystem, and just planting trees is not enough. He also pointed out the economic opportunities that we can harness through a thriving forest like harvesting indigo.

Caesar emphasized that protecting an ecosystem is not just a job of a conservationisteconomists, politicians, and even security forces have a role to play. He gave inspiring examples of how he made people who were hunting rare animals and cutting trees protect forests instead. Nature is resilient and we need to allow it thrive again, Caesar said. To save mankind, he urged, we cannot think about the natural ecosystems later, and development at the cost of environmental degradation needs to come to a permanent stop.



Six young boys took their position on stage with their instruments and won everyone’s heart with the first tune. Influenced by forms of contemporary and classical arts and literature, the band has composed multiple originals and performs regularly on stage and radios. They started with the song Brishti Tumi which was also the first song they released. The group of six believes that this song defines their journey, which is why both its original and revised versions were played to depict the band’s transformation. Their performance was further enlivened by the melodious tunes of Shada Kalo Rongdhonu and Chokbadha.

TEDxDhaka 2017 Rendering Tomorrow: Session 1 “The People’s Tomorrow”

The People’s Tomorrow

Talk 1: Faisal Ahmed

Many see Bangladesh’s population as a hindrance to development, but not Faisal Ahmed, the Chief Economist of Bangladesh Bank. He starts his talk by illustrating how, in the short 46 years of Bangladesh’s lifetime, the nation has propelled itself above its peers of developing countries in terms of per annum economic growth, per capita savings and even industrial productivity. Faisal Ahmed started by explaining how inevitably intertwined economic growth and density of population are and how the bottom up economy of Bangladesh— represented by the fact that the rural population contribute to 77% of the GDP, empowered the general population and comparatively narrow the wealth gap. He also pointed out a new term of looking at Bangladesh’s economic success—not as “Bangladesh paradox” as it’s termed around the globe—but as “Bangladesh surprise”, as this doesn’t diminish the enormity of the positive impact.

Additionally, Faisal Ahmed outlined the challenges that Bangladesh is currently facing on the road to development, such as the impact of manufacturing industries on the environment and the low rate of tax collection in Bangladesh, and how the financial empowerment of women has and will contribute to our economic future. He concluded by saying that even with all the resources and achievements, only by being empathetic as a nation can we truly move forward.


Talk 2: Hildegarde Thyberghien

The influx of Rohingyas into Bangladesh marks one of the largest migrations ever made, and has catalysed a swift humanitarian mission to address it. Over 600,000 people have made the treacherous journey from Myanmar to Bangladesh, and the numbers are increasing. Food, clothes, and medicines have been given in an enormous quantity, but who exactly does it go to? A man, a woman, a child? What is their name? Their identity? Hildegarde Thyberghien, Deputy Country Director, Action Against Hunger – mission Bangladesh, brought out the human stories behind the crisis, and highlighted the importance of preserving dignity when tackling a humanitarian crisis.

With powerful and moving pictures and personal stories, she illustrated examples of ways through which people were giving aid, throwing clothes and food at seas of people, and the migrants fighting within themselves to receive aid. Where does the dignity of the refugees go, she asks. The approach to dealing with a humanitarian crisis, she argues, needs to be with dignity. With so many numbers bombarded at the world about this crisis, we forget to recognize that real people, with hopes and dreams, are involved. Hildegarde first step is for us to “forget the whole and focus on the individual.” When we do that, not only for the refugees, but also the locals who are dealing with a change in their environment, we can start the process of rehabilitation. Hildegarde’s approach to the process is making the community self-reliant. When a person is able to make economic choices for themselves, and when we can help them in the process, a sustainable and dignified way to address a humanitarian crisis can emerge.


Talk 3: Mehedi Haque

The written word speaks to literates, whereas drawings speak to everyone. Mehedi Haque, a cartoonist, argues the need for a more effective way to communicate isn’t through language, but through illustrations. He cited instances when comic books were used to raise awareness of the dangers and inescapable circle of illegal immigration to potential victims of labour trafficking, earthquake awareness and educational comics for children as examples of effective communication. Comic books in his view, could be a medium that transcends language barriers and could become a key tool to effectively convey vital information to those who need it. 

TEDxDhaka 2017 Registration is now OPEN

The application for attending TEDxDhaka 2017 is now open!

DEADLINE: As soon as the seats run out.
WHEN: Full day 09:00 – 19:00, November 18th, 2017, Saturday
THEME of the event:

As #Bangladesh goes through a period of rapid transition in economic growth, it is set to encounter the impact stemming from transitioning. We need to prepare to embrace the changes. We need to renew our actions, bring new ideas and take fresh initiatives to bring a humane and inclusive future.
This year’s TEDxDhaka will focus on various aspects of preparing and rendering a better tomorrow in the new economic era amid the fourth industrial revolution.
The discussion on this year’s theme turned to addressing challenges the country will be facing, which includes mentions of striving to improve infrastructure, addressing the fallout from climate change, the need to proactively engaging in improved health-care facilities, food-safety and human-rights, and several others.

We Are Setting Up the Team for TEDxDhaka 2017

Yes, we are gearing up again. And the first and foremost work is to gather the team around.
Many from the old team will join back of course, while we also want to see new faces in the allegedly the most kickass team in town 😎

Come join hands with us if you have some spare time to donate for the cause of ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’ in Dhaka! Apply to become a volunteer or a part of the Extended Core-Team Members of TEDxDhaka to organize the much anticipated TEDxDhaka 2017 event scheduled to take place sometimes in the November, 2017.

Here is the link to the application form: