13 Truly Inspiring TED Talks By Pakistanis That Will Motivate You To Do Even Better In Life

By Asad | 20 May, 2018

A TEDx event isn’t exactly like a TED Talk as the ‘x’ in it stands for independent organizers. However, it serves the same purpose and boasts TED’s mission of “ideas worth spreading.” Since the inception of TEDx Talks in Pakistan in 2009, around 240 such events have taken place and quite a few are in the pipeline.

Today we look back at some of these TEDx events that are worth a listen:


1. The Pioneer event; TEDxLahore

The first TEDx event in Pakistan was organized on 25th July 2009. The first event’s speakers included Babar Ahmed, who is an entrepreneur, engineer, game designer and producer, a joint degree student of Harvard Kennedy School and Stanford Graduate School of Business; Mubarik Imam and the music group of Zeb and Haniya.

Source: TEDxLahore


2. TEDxLahore Women

This is one of the highest rated events with speakers such as Dr. Shagufta Feroz, Faiza Saleem, Hala Bashir Malik, Mahira Khan, Salman Sufi, Sarah Zaman, Sophia Kasim Kasuri and Zainab Chughtai. The focus of the event was the rights of women that are easily ignored in our society. The event was attended by a number of women rights activists who used the TEDx stage to share their views on abominations such as violence and harassment. Below is a clip of Mahira Khan’s part from the event.

3. TEDxComsats: Log Kya Kahien Gey

The TEDx event organized on 13th Feb 2018 addressed the concept of log kya kahien gay? The speakers consisted of Ayesha Samman, Bilal Javed Ghumman, Dr. Wajahat Mehmood Qazi, Mir Mohammad Ali Khan, Rehmat Ajmal, Suleman Arshad and Moiz Shaukat.

The speakers shared their thoughts on this backward mindset where we limit the people within our society because of what others may think or say. It was truly an eye-opening talk. Moiz Shaukat’s part was the most inspiring to say the least:

4. TEDx PIEAS: Fine Lines

The TEDxPIEAS event was attended by a few politically involved personalities of Pakistan such as Bakht Baryar, Ahmer Bilal Soofi, and Moeed Pirzada. Speakers also included the award-winning Spoken Word poet Orooj-e-Zafar. Artist Khaya Ahmed and Resurrection, the band were also present.

The theme of the event was the fact that how morality in the modern world has become relative and it’s this relativity that has destroyed our society. The event was a call to redefine the fine lines between good and bad before our morality reaches a dead-end. Khaya Ahmed’s talk about how our society is messed up and needs to change is shared below.

5. TEDx Lahore: Moving Forward

This event had a diverse group of speakers who touched a number of subjects. Education, Health, Music, Poetry were some of the topics being discussed. However, the topic that set this event apart was transgender activism.

When Jannat Ali, a well known transgender activist, performer and DIC Coordinator at Khawaja Sira Society, graced the stage to speak, it almost felt like that we were already moving forward as a society. All I have to say regarding this is; about time.


6. TED India: A message of peace from Pakistan

This event isn’t exactly a TEDx Talk. Nor was it held in Pakistan. But this makes my list because of its special nature. This was by a Pakistani in India. The Pakistani is Asher Hasan who owns the social enterprise Naya Jeevan. In this talk, Asher highlights the real Pakistan, the Pakistan that is rarely seen on international media but the Pakistan that deserves to be shown. If you ever face a situation where someone misunderstands Pakistan for what it is and what it is not, this is the video you share with that someone at that time.


7. TEDx SZABIST: Words to Actions

This TEDx event’s speaker list consisted of young Pakistani artists. These are few of those Pakistanis that actually put their words to actions in whatever field they chose; be it photography, writing, storytelling, editing, game designing or any other. The event stressed on the point that if you choose to put your words into action only then will you achieve what’s destined for you.

Source: ted.com


8. TEDx NUST: Challenging Norms

This TEDx event occurred on May 20th, 2017, with a diverse group of speakers. All these speakers talked about their struggles and achievements by challenging the norms. Although all the speakers were extraordinary one of the speakers – Abiha Haider – stood out. Abiha is a lawyer and a football player which is something unusual in Pakistan. The event was to inspire the young generation and to challenge the norms and embrace what they actually want to achieve.

9. TEDx FCCollege: NoTheme – 7 Multi-disciplinary talks!

The speakers of this event included Badar Khushnood, Kami Sid, Neelam Hanif, Omair Bangash, Qasif Shahid, Syedain sisters and Yahya Ali. They talked about the efforts to attain their ambitions and in the end, earned this admiration. These speakers motivated students to fulfill their dreams.

Source: ted.com


10. TEDx Islamabad: A New Tomorrow

This event held on August 26, 2017, consisted of motivational speakers sharing their stories and ideas with the idea and hope of building a new tomorrow. One of the speakers was a young woman Rida Shah who is a photo manipulation artist. She exhibits the darker sides of society through her photographs. All the speakers shared their ideas with a belief that every single person can contribute to building a new tomorrow.


The list of speakers for this TEDx talk ranged from bloggers to scientists. The theme of the talk was breaking stereotypes. Stereotypes create barriers and the event was held to encourage people to overcome this hurdle. The discussion focused on the fact that anyone can achieve whatever they set their mind to irrespective of their gender, color or race.

Source: lums.edu.pk


12. TED 2014: My Daughter, Malala

Not exactly a TEDx Talk, but a TED talk by Ziauddin Yousafzai; Malala’s father.

The reason I have included it here is due to the significance of this man’s daughter to Pakistan as a nation. He reminded people that men and women deserve equal chances in life for education, autonomy, and independent identity. Additionally, he talked about how he continued to educate children despite the attack on his daughter.


13. TEDx Karachi: Imran Khan – Never Give Up

This TEDx Talk held on 27th May 2011 consisted of only one speaker, Imran Khan. Kaptan shared his life experiences to encourage people to aim for the impossible. He emphasized the importance of the belief ‘never giving up on your dreams’. Imran Khan stressed the significance of believing in yourself no matter what the world thinks of and as long as you do, there’s nothing stopping you from achieving what you want.

These are few of the many TEDx Talks that have been held in Pakistan. It’s beautiful to see Pakistanis taking an initiative in areas which have always been considered taboo. What do you think about these talks? Let us know in the comments below.


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Cover image via tumblr.com

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