“…whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth." (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist)
TEDx is an independently organized event, which provides speakers, students, and attendees with the opportunity to take part in a TED-like event. This year, TEDxNDULouaize was held on June 10, 2017, at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) in Issam Fares Hall where 13 speakers enriched the University with their CHANGE experience and how they let their dreams travel through space and eventually materialize into an earthly change.
“The size of our entire universe is unknown, as is the size of our dreams, dreams that can expand beyond the limits of time and space, dreams that, once acted upon, can lead to a change in our small world, and perhaps in the universe beyond,” said Natalia Geha, TEDxNDULouaize Licensee.
The TEDxNDULouaize 2017 program presented multiple topics and a diversity of talks.
Eva Oueiss, a member of the ACT campaign at NDU, expressed just how difficult the path to success really is; mine cost me sleepless nights and many tears.
“Change had to do with me, and I am the alchemist of my own path and so can you be,” said Ghida Husseini, a counseling psychologist by profession and an expert on stress and trauma.
In the first screened TED Talk, “What Reality Are You Creating For Yourself,” Isaac Lidsky challenged his audience to let go of excuses, assumptions, and fears, and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality.
“Change does not happen overnight; that’s why we, the youth, should initiate this change and make a difference in our communities,” said Nadida Raad, co-founder of The Chain Effect, an initiative that promotes the use of bicycles in Beirut instead of cars.
The audience listened to the talented Nagham Tabet, playing the violin and singing oriental tunes.
Charbel Najjar spoke about his team’s success in the robotics competitions and said, “Never say no to an opportunity; you may never know where it might lead."
Gebran Abou Zeid, who focused on his healing journey, said, "I learned how to love myself, because no one will do it for you … Beauty is a feeling that reflects who you are."
Joelle Samaha joined Gebran on stage and shared her experience, saying, "The body can only be fine when it is aligned with the emotions, mind, and spirit." She added, "Scars reveal the best in us."
The Social Space covered an array of booths and activities. Apart from the three food stands (Mamig’s, Doughlicious, and Frollys) that covered the Map Area, several student clubs, NGOs, and sponsors set up their own booths in the Open Area. Among the NDU booths were ACT and The English Society. The Chain Effect, with speaker Raad, had brought along with them bicycles for the attendees to use. In the case of Fitness Zone, not only did they give all attendees one-day passes to the club, they also set up a fitness test and distributed free water bottles to those who visited their booth. A DJ played music throughout the lunch break that ended with a Zumba performance by none other than TEDxNDULouaize host, Renaldo Roukoz, who encouraged everyone to join in.
Patricia Nammour did not only tell the story of her own journey to the stage. By inviting a group from L’Atelier du Je to the TEDx stage, she also showed the audience that so many had taken similar paths.
Ena Hozdik, assistant professor in the English and Translation Department at NDU, explained how interpreters predict words by collocation. She explained the complex act of interpreting by delving into her own research based on the English and German languages.
Charbel Maroun, an NDU graduate, said, “We have two choices, either to give in or to increase our survival instincts and never stop walking. I opted for the second.”
In the second screened TED Talk, “How Books Can Open Your Mind,” Lisa Bu discusses how she adjusted to a new life in the United States by turning to books to expand her mind and how she created a new path for herself.
Serge Mrad, an engineering student at NDU whose passion is playing the piano, performed two pieces he himself had composed.
Pauline Aad, biology professor at NDU, emphasized the importance of sex education in schools in Lebanon. She ended her talk with the motto: “Talk Sex. Avoid A Mess.”
Marie McGillyCuddy, a living donor, said, “We have the ability not only to change ourselves, but to change the lives of others as well.”
Nadine Robehmed, TEDxNDULouaize co-founder, stated, “We must make the choice in life to take a chance and make a change, because if we don’t, then nothing will change and that is where the danger lies!”