TEDxDhaka 2014: 1 More Day!

TEDxDhaka is back! We are breaking barriers by spreading worthwhile ideas that demand actions beyond the ordinary and that create positive change in our communities.

On November 22, 2014, we will welcome a number of outstanding figures from diverse fields to the stage at the Krishibid Institution in Dhaka, Bangladesh. From human rights activists like the founders of Transparency International and the Acid Survivors Foundation to beaming tech enthusiasts under the age of 18, this year’s TEDxDhaka will dig deep into the local and global issues that matter most.

As the big day approaches, we feel growing excitement and anticipation for the event. Our army of young volunteers and organizers are working day and night to prepare for the arrival of our 800+ excited guests. Everyone is waiting to share, learn, and discover ideas that have the power to break the barriers of discrimination, distance, and more!






TEDxDhaka 2014: Information for Confirmed Attendees

Dear TEDster,

We are so thrilled to learn you will be attending TEDxDhaka 2014 on November 22nd at the KIB Complex! To ensure an engaging, peacefully mellow and thrilling experience at the conference we want to make sure you know all the key information about the event and your attendance beforehand.
Here is some information that will help you and the organisers experience a better TEDxDhaka:

What to Wear

Comfort and informality help define the TEDx experience. The dress is casual for the whole event. Think “creative casual” more than “business casual.” For men, this means no ties, no suits or blazers. Then again, you probably don’t want to wear shorts either! Women tend to interpret “casual” more broadly, but please avoid suits and other classic business attire. Regional, ethnic and traditional clothings are cool!
The weather forecast says the temperature will remain between 18°C to 28°C and there’s almost no chance of rain. The evening may be a bit chilly.
What to Bring

We may need to check your identity at the registration desk or during the first entry. Please keep any kind of photo identity document (national ID card/ passport/ drivers license/ University ID/ Office ID etc.) with you to prove that you are indeed who you say you are.
Business cards! You may regret not bringing enough of them, as you are going to meet a lot of people. 
You can bring your mobile phones, camera, laptop and other gadgets as long as they do not disturb others.

Most importantly, bring an open mind and leave your ego at home 🙂
Read about the Speakers Before You Arrive

Our schedule is so crammed, we don’t have time for long speaker introductions. You can cehck out the introductions here http://bit.ly/TEDxDhakaBB. Google their names, do your homework and arrive ready to dive deeper.
Arrive Early and Stay Until the Very End

We strongly encourage you to arrive at the venue at 09:00. And get your on-site registration done by collecting your name badge (this may take some time). If you have extra time before the conference starts, you know what TEDsters do… talk to strangers!

TEDx is an unusual conference in that our attendees stay for its entirety. Watch every talk. The best TEDx moments happen when you least expect them. It’s invariably the unknown speakers who wow the crowd. Watching every session helps avoid disappointment, and ensures you take in each key moment as it happens. Plan to stay with us until the evening (around 18:30).

Where is the detail program lineup?

We do not reveal the detail program until you arrive at the venue 🙂 It is best if you plan for the whole day and don’t miss a thing.

How to Reach the Venue

Please visit https://tedxdhaka.com.bd/venue to see the location, Google Map:https://goo.gl/maps/huDuW. If you have any confusion please write to us.
The Krishibid Institution Complex is centrally located on the Khamar Bari road, it’s the new building there opposite to Islamia Eye Hospital. From any point of Dhaka you can take a bus to Farmgate and walk from there.

On-site Registration – Collecting Your Badge

To ensure a smooth registration, please remember to bring your attendee ID number with you to get your badge through express registration desks. If you do not know attendee ID please head to the information desks. Doing this allows us to ensure a smooth experience for everyone.
Talk to Strangers!

At TEDx events audiences are often equally extraordinary as the speakers. The person sitting next to you may be someone very interesting. Feel free to introduce yourself, share your ideas and look forward to a great conversation. Chance encounters at TEDx often lead to new ideas, projects, perspectives, and even companies … They’re as essential to the experience as the stage program itself. Break away from your ‘comfortable group’, you have the whole year left to spend time with your friends, today you should talk to strangers!
Respect Others’ Time and Privacy

Try to talk to as many people as possible! However, please respect others’ time and their wish to talk to other people. Requesting someone to take a photo with or asking for autographs is not very cool at TEDx, but if you must, do it discretely and with a single polite request, drop it immediately if they seem to be uncomfortable. Also if someone is not comfortable about their photos being published, please respect their privacy.

Eat, Drink, Caffeinate!

There should be enough food and drinks during lunch and snack breaks. All food and drinks at the venue will be served free of cost. There will be 2 snack breaks and one lunch break between four sessions. It is very easy to forget to eat as you are likely to keep talking to people and as hundreds of new thoughts start playing in your head. It is, however, very important that you keep your stomach full and drink plenty of water to compensate for the intensity. And if you are a coffee lover, George’s Cafe will serve North End coffee at the venue along with cupcakes during snack breaks. There should be enough options for you to choose from.
At the Venue

1. Wear your name badge at all times once you get it from the registration desk. Your entry and movement at the venue will be restricted if your badge is not visible, missing or lost.

2. Video/audio recording inside the hall is strictly prohibited. Any person found recording video or audio will be stopped by volunteers and may be asked to leave the conference.

3. You can take photos inside the hall, but NO flash please.

4. You can bring mobile phones, tablets or laptops but you can not use them inside the hall except in the last row or outside the hall.

5. There will be a simulcast lounge showing the talks live right outside the main hall, you may sit there stretching your leg, open your laptop or cell phone to tweet/blog comfortably while watching the talks live. 

6. Reminder just to keep you aware: You will be in photos/videos and we may post any of those photos/videos in public domain in the future. As an attendee you give us permission to publish your photos/videos from the event in the Internet or other media by default. However, you may request to remove any of your photos from the internet, and we will try our best to respect your privacy.
Find the Volunteers! There will be an army of TEDxDhaka volunteers inTEDxDhaka t-shirts with purple badges at the venue to assist you for anything you need, and also may warn/remind(!) you about TEDxDhaka guidelines. Please cooperate with them, for example, if they whisper in your ear to request you to shut down your phone, maintain a queue or look for your badge at the gates. Also feel free to ask for their help for anything you need on site.

Blog/Tweet/Facebook/Flickr with us… or not!

If you plan to blog, take photos, or Tweet or Facebook, use this hashtag:#TEDxDhaka
However, please do not feel obligated to live-blog or lifecast from TEDxDhaka, as TEDx is best experienced in the moment with full concentration.
Please tag your photos with ‘TEDxDhaka’ if you upload them on Flickr and/or Instagram.

Most importantly relax and enjoy 😀

If there’s any query you have that we haven’t addressed… Feel free to write to us (email [email protected])! 

We look forward to welcoming you at the venue!

Best regards,
TEDxDhaka Team

TEDxDhaka 2014: Breaking Barriers

TEDxDhaka 2014 Breaking Barriers

Enough of anticipation, it’s time for the annual TEDxDhaka conference, we are getting ready and so should you!

This year’s TEDxDhaka will take place on November 22nd and the theme is “Breaking Barriers”. So we resurrected in 2012 with a dream of a “Different Bangladesh” followed by being the change (TEDxDhaka 2012 Be the Change), facing some problems and using it as catalysts for the change (TEDxDhaka 2013 Problems as Catalysts) and now we are up for Breaking Barriers, overcoming all the obstacles and forging a new era. TEDxDhaka Breaking Barriers will take place on November 22nd 2014.

This year we will look forward to stories of rising from ashes, tackling difficulties, turning problems into catalysts and thus breaking the barriers to create, innovate and change. As always we are looking into a diverse group of individuals as speakers. Our speaker nomination form is open throughout the year, please help us finding unheard off voices, amazing new chapters of known stories, brilliant ideas, technological marvels, scientific discoveries, stories of changing people’s lives… nominate here https://tedxdhaka.com.bd/nominate

The registration application for attending the event is now open! Click HERE to apply.

Please keep an eye on our social networks Facebook, Twitter for updates.

TEDxDhaka 2013 Session 4: Beauty and Beast

Wrapping up this year’s TEDxDhaka event, three women and one man enlightened us with their breadth of knowledge, powerful thinking, and insightful perspectives. The first speaker was Wasfia Nazreen, one of the first Bangladeshis to climb Mount Everest, who galvanized the audience with stories of her physical and spiritual journey to the summit of some of the highest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest. Then, Shahid Hussain Shamim illuminated the untold stories of weavers who weave Jamdani, educating us about about these artisans and their craft. Finally, Anushesh Anadil, a singer and a celebrity, spoke and sang of feminism, bipolarity and religion.

“I knew little about climbing two years ago,” claimed Wasfia Nazreen, “but I learned all the skills I needed like mountaineering, ice masonry, and first aid,” that let me accomplish my goal of showing the world that Bangladesh is more than a place that floods every year.  Wasfia is truly a national treasure, and she exuded the same courage on stage that helped her to reach the top of the world’s highest mountains.  She described her emotional and philosophical connection to nature and the unimaginable perils of climbing at suffocating altitudes, sarcastically recalling her two options for death when walking on a steep, snow-filled path between Nepal and Tibet. “If I fell on the right, I would die in Tibet; if I fell on left, Nepal.”

Shahid Hussain Shamim is an expert on traditional weaving culture and techniques.  He played clips of two distinct styles from different regions of Bangladesh, both of which are at risk of being lost as demand for intricately woven textiles dwindles. He showcased the generally unknown backstory of artistic masterpieces like Jamdani and Tangail Jakarta saris. Demonstrating the intricate artwork of a beautiful piece of red cloth, his talk revolved around the hard work and talent that goes behind these works of art.

Anusheh Anadil’s talk ranged from the bipolarity that lives within all of us to the connection that we unknowingly possess with each other; from the frustrating way that gender imbalance still resides in our society to how just by looking at a tree, one can learn about all of life. Her message was unique, and yet simple. She preached of love overcoming fear and opening us to new connections. When faced with a choice, she’d choose water over fire; patience over impatience; smiling even in the face of suffering. And mixed in all of that, she communicated with a number of heartfelt bangla folk songs. Anusheh was able to truly captivate the audience with her heartfelt words of wisdom.

TEDxDhaka 2013 Session 3: Dreams and Dents

Pacing the stage at the first afternoon session of  TEDxDhaka 2013 was one of Bangladesh’s most artistic minds: Shahidul Alam.  The founder of Pathshala, he is an award winning photographer whose institute in Bangladesh trains journalists, helping to imbue them with the skills and values necessary to create positive change. Next, Rubaiya Ahmad, an animal rights activist and the founder of Obhoyaronna, talked about why and how we should stop the everyday cruelty against dogs in Bangladesh. The last speaker, but certainly not the least entertaining, was Yamin Khan – a comedian who got the whole crowd giggling.

Shahidul Alam narrated real stories of people with real problems, describing how his journey as a photographer opened his mind to different worlds and allowed him to connect with his family, community, identity, and nation on a different level.  The title of Dr. Alam’s presentation, Your Eyes are Beautiful, was also part of his closing reflection where we learned the Persian custom: When told that you are attractive, one responds, “You have beautiful eyes ” — meaning that beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

“Human compassion can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind,” Rubaiya Ahmed charged as she took the stage. The founder of Obhoyaronno, an organization that works with the government for the more humane treatment of animals in Bangladesh, Rubiya acts as a true catalyst for change. She urged the audience, “If you see abuse to an animal, a child, even a tree… protest!”

“I have the best hairstyle here,” declared Yamin Khan when he took the stage. A natural comedian (with no hair to speak of) Yamin reiterated the stories of the speakers who preceded him, giving them a light-hearted, humorous twist. Referring to Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Yamin explained why we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The sweet, sari-wearing lady could often be mistaken as a TV cooking host not a high powered environmental lawyer!

TEDxDhaka 2013 Session 2: Order and Disorder

During the second TedxDhaka session, speakers from diverse professions addressed heated issues now present in Bangladesh.

Using the story of the dreadful collapse of the Rana Plaza building, Mamnoon Murshed Chowdhury, an architect, shared his thoughts on how greed leads to destruction.  Next, MIT graduates Stephen Kennedy and Albert Ching lit up the event with their funky duet, describing the ways their Dhaka Bus Map–the first ever–could help make public transportation more transparent and less stressful, while helping to build a community of problem solvers and social entrepreneurs. Finally, lawyer and activist Syeda Rizwana Hassan touched on the importance of using environmental laws to protect the communities most susceptible to environmental hazards like flooding, waste dumping, overcrowding, inadequate sewage, and climate change.

“Buildings do not kill; it’s our greed”, said Mamnoon Murshed Chowdhury, of the Rana Plaza disaster. While a staggering 78,000 factory buildings are still at risk of collapse, Mamnoon has still managed to remain optimistic. He cites preventive solutions to Bangladesh’s architectural threats at a time when the country is racing into development and prosperity.

Maddening traffic is one of the first things that foreigners notice when they arrive in Dhaka. In 2011, the two talented Americans noticed this serious problem and leveraged their training in urban planning to an initiative aimed at making Dhaka a better place to live. While many experts have suggested a variety of solutions to the traffic problem, Stephen Kennedy and Albert Ching used just $15,000 raised through the crowdsourcing site kickstarter to create the first Dhaka bus map. What does a Dhaka Bus Map entail? Stephen and Albert pioneered the idea of “flocksourcing,” using a group of people armed with smart phones and a working GPS system to map bus routes as they happen. They hope that an accurate, easy-to-use bus map will make riding buses an easier, more pleasant experience and in turn, will reduce the number of people using private cars. Easier bus system = less cars = less traffic = a more livable Dhaka.

Taking up the complex subject of environmental laws in Bangladesh, Syeda Rizwana Hasan spoke her mind on the current status of Bangladesh’s environmental laws. The award winning activist discussed the apprehensive attitude of policy makers and influential people in Bangladesh towards environmental problems. She outlined some of the many cases she has filed on behalf of the environment and reflected on the fact that environmental change is not an easy a task when those who are best served by the system resist any meaningful change.


Written by the TedxDhaka social media team

TEDxDhaka 2013 Session 1: Trends and Transformations

TEDxDhaka 2013 kicked off with exciting stories of how the seemingly impossible can be turned into amazing potential. Speakers like founder of the Bangla keyboard script Mehdi Hasan Khan and founder of BDCyclists Mozammel Haque shared their inspiring journeys, while Google Southeast Asia representative Jana Levene shared her idea of spreading infinite knowledge beyond borders.

“I don’t believe in extraordinary people anymore”, declared Mehdi Hasan Khan, the founder of Avro keyboard, the first free Bangla writing software. “Rather, I believe in ordinary people doing extraordinary things because they are desperate.”

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And so, Mehdi, an ordinary 19 year-old boy, headed out to make the Bangla language writable on the Internet. What started as a one-man army trying to build the most efficient transliteration software, ended up attracting a host of bright youngsters, all lending their hands to make Bangla fonts easier to type on the computer.

As Mehdi explained, before the launch of Avro keyboard and its wide circulation, Bangladeshi people had to undergo tiresome training sessions to learn techniques of using Bangla text software that were heavily protected under patents. “It was like locking yourself up in your own prison”, explained Mehdi, condemning the suppression of innovation and accessibility so that a few could make money through patents.


It is not common for an active life promoter to admit that he does not like to exercise. But then again, Mozammel Haque, the founder of BDcyclists, is not like any other health conscious person.

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Mozammel’s journey began when he became frustrated with long hours spent in Dhaka traffic. His everyday journeys between home and the office took more than three hours by car. But Mozammel could not afford to spend so much time in traffic.

“Instead of being the problem”, he encouraged the audience, “be a part of the solution.” His take on the solution to the grueling traffic jam of Dhaka, was to start cycling to work. What started off with him wanting to bring about a healthy change in his own life, has now become a city-wide trend.

Cyclists on the main roads of Dhaka are now a relatively common scene, and Mozammel’s BDcyclists has a lot to do with it. More than a thousand cyclists showed up for one of BDcyclists’ biggest events, the Independence Day group ride.

A Googler working in developing new markets, Jane Levene, believes that the next billion users are going to come from developing nations like Bangladesh. She began by explaining how the world is imbalanced. Only a few small areas enjoy the infinite benefits provided by the Internet. She told stories of African fishermen and farmers who were able to start online businesses, raising their income up to 40%! Everyday citizens in Malaysia made their election campaigns more available and promoted a more transparent political culture through Internet portals. In Pakistan, the Internet was successfully used to tackle post-disaster management.

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Her speech ended with a question to the audience, asking them to ponder upon the infinite possibilities that the Internet could bring about if made available to the whole world.


“Anything I liked, imagined, I would draw it”, asserted a quirky Fatema Jannat Mony, who has just finished high school and is now working on her animated short film entitled “Moving On”. Now working in Ogniroth studios, Mony, talks about being blinded with inspiration the first time she was introduced to the Internet.

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Mony’s passion for art and drawing enthralled the audience. Her life story itself represented the words she ended her speech with — “Never let go of your dreams – be who you want to be.”

Written by the TedxDhaka Social Media Team