TEDxOKC: Anthony Shadid: “Democracy in the Middle East, Elusive Dream or Coming Reality?”

I had never taken the time to polish and publish my notes from TEDxOKC last spring. Tonight’s tragic news that NYTimes Reporter Anthony Shadid suddenly passed away in Syria is prompting me to dust off my notes from his incredible talk and finally publish them as I took them. I will never forget his talk that day, his sudden hope and optimism for the future of Middle East. Portions from his talk are posted online, and I’m embedding that video below. My notes from Anthony’s talk appear below the video. To his family, friends, and colleagues, my deepest sympathies, thoughts, and prayers. The world has lost an incredible journalist. 

My Notes


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Shadid (Had to look him up; out of the loop on the news the past few weeks)

Stories about people. Change in Arab world will be tragic, but he feels optimistic. We’re on the verge of a moment in the Arab world that we haven’t seen since WWI.

Relationship bw Arab world and America being redefined. The world and the Arab world.

War creates misunderstanding and conflict. Dehumanizing. Past 10 years. Both for Arabs and Americans.

He felt like he was witnessing an epiphany in Egypt. In Libya in a jail cell. 1 million people there trying to imagine a different country. Imagining identities, culture, society. People were trying to imagine Cairo, Egypt. Young people believed they were better than what the government told them. Walking into a different world. Power of imagination. Crossing a border from old Cairo into new Cairo into Tahrir Square. The imaginative Cairo. Power of Egyptians to reclaim their destiny and narrative. It’s revolutionary. Notion of identity is changing. Gives me hope.Are we Sunnis. Shiites? 18 different sects. Identification by religious sect determines you. It suffocates you.

Tahrir Square. We’re not Sunni or Christian. We’re citizens of Egypt. Identity is going to be broader not smaller. 

Ability to forge a new identity. For the first time in a region, a relationship that has caused so much hardship. It’s about to change forever. To be able witness and bring meaning to what’s going on. Libya is an example of how difficult it is going to be. Bloody. But Tahrir Square. Optimism. Hope.

Dignity more important the wealth. 

TEDxOKC: Chris Howard, The 5 Bs of a Real Education

Session 1a: _________

Chris Howard, President, Hampden-Sydney College (See his biography for more information)

  1. Be yourself. Showing up to school as a 7th grader with a tie everyday. (Reminds me of the Lawrence kids — link to this article). It’s about expressing yourself. Then joined junior ROTC and showed up to football practice in a green ROTC uniform. Odd. “Why are you doing this?” Trying to be serious. Trying to be something. It’s about being myself. No matter where you go to college, people will offer you things you shouldn’t be smoking, drinking, or licking. You must be about being something.
  2. Be humble. Bill Cosby. “I brought you in this world and put you back. And I can make another one of you.”
    Tells his kids, that’s not yours it’s mine. Money. The house. The millennial generation seems to think that they have done something already. But they haven’t. No matter how tall your father or grandfather is, you have to grow. Don’t take credit for things you haven’t earned.
  3. Be accountable. Was told by his Air Force FB coach: Comport yourself in the classroom, like you did in the field. Challenging us to be accountable. Immanuel Kant. What kind of world would we have if everyone carried themselves just like you?
  4. Be courageous. January 17, 1995. [He was an Air Force pilot out on a test flight…] Seeing nuts in the hands of squirrels on the leaves of trees. Plane not cooperating. He ejected. Plane crashed. Ejection had already hurt him. Landing not good. Cleared to fly again 8 weeks later. Why get in a plane again? Thought about all the people who had sacrificed for him to be in the place he was in. Chose to fly again. TED can teach you all types of ideas, but until you step up and do something, it will never get done. It doesn’t have to be physical courage. Be willing to say something. Be willing to raise your hand and make a difference.
  5. Be the change in the world you want to see. Don’t wait. Too many issues in the world to not address. We’ll be in a much better world and a much better place.

What does this mean for libraries?

  1. Yourself: What are we about? What makes us unique? We serve the entire community from birth to death with learning, entertainment, information, and access needs. No other public entity can claim that, I don’t think. We try our best to serve the needs of the entire community.
  2. Humble: Our funding isn’t ours — we are stewards of local, state, and federal tax dollars and grants. We are stewards of gifts, donations, and memorials. How can we do this better? How can we be even more open to the needs of our members in our communities?
  3. Accountable: Again, how best can we meet the needs and be held accountable by our members — by our community?
  4. Courageous: Combatting homeless, illiteracy, hunger, the digital divide, censorship, making better communities, giving teens a safe place and hope, providing a gathering place for the community. I don’t think the library lacks courage. But we continue to need more courage while facing funding cuts. Pundits proclaiming the death of the library. Being called a dinosaur. How can we be even more courageous in reinventing the library and changing the public perception?
  5. Change: Everyone’s favorite word in the library world. But change is happening. How do you want to change it?

TEDxOKC: Introduction for the Day

And the long-awaited notes begin to be published 🙂 Through this series of notes (which will be across 15+ posts periodically published over the next few weeks), any of my comments in the posts will be set off by italics and parentheses. I also plan to include thoughts at the end of the posts, whenever possible.

TED: “Everything begins with an idea.”

TEDxOKC: April 8, 2011. OKC, OK.

“On April 8th, 2011, a spectacular group of people will converge in Oklahoma City to experience a unique event. TEDxOKC will bring innovators of the future together to exchange ideas and create startling conversations to inspire and create. Participants will be in the company of doers, makers and thinkers from all walks of life — scientists, bloggers, chefs, educators, entrepreneurs, designers, humanitarians, technologists, artists and more.” from the TEDxOKC website

Introduction Video

TEDxOKC from ray hatfield on Vimeo.

The Curator, Ken Stoner, kicked the day off.

“TED is about cross-pollinating. Great ideas. But its also about the speakers sharing their ideas with us, and then cross-pollinating with the audience’s ideas.”

TED is a metaphor for cross-discipline education! (The librarian in me cheered!!) It’s more than Technology, Entertainment, and Design (what TED originally stands for).

We didn’t choose the speakers for TEDxOKC because they are right about their topics. But because it’s about the dialogue who have something to contribute to the conversation.

We admire their ability to take an idea (Ideas are the easy part). The hard part is making an idea happen. These speakers have taken ideas and are making them happen.

Emcee for the day is Sarah Kay.

“Learning in the in-between moments.” She’s the “usher through the magic” (Sarah spoke at the 2011 TED conference, “If I should have a daughter” — you must watch her performance!)

“A word has a power in and of itself. It comes from nothing into sound and meaning…and the word is sacred…”

“Everything has to start somewhere.”

The Day’s Schedule:

TEDxOKC: the pre-post

I’ve had many people ask about my TEDxOKC experience and for my notes. They’re coming, eventually — they exist, believe me, in 20+ pages existence. I’m still processing everything from that incredible day. If you ever have the opportunity to attend a TEDx event, do whatever it takes to go.

Until I decide to finalize and publish my notes, here’s some links around the web from things from TEDxOKC: