Zeinab Ibrahim
Zeinab Ibrahim, teaching professor of Arabic studies at CMU-Q.

CMU-Q’s Zeinab Ibrahim: TEDinArabic is a powerful message

Zeinab Ibrahim, teaching professor of Arabic studies at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university, comments on the importance for the Arabic language to hold TEDinArabic. Originally published August 3, 2022, by Al-Fanar Media as “Doha Prepares to Host a Major TEDinArabic Event Next Year”

The Qatari capital, Doha, is preparing to host a major TEDinArabic event in March at which 16 change-makers from across the Arab world will present their innovative and inspiring ideas.

The speakers will be chosen through a “Share Your Ideas with TEDinArabic” platform, which was introduced during a TEDinArabic regional event in Jordan in June.

TEDinArabic is a joint initiative of Qatar Foundation and the TED conference. It was launched two years ago with the aim of celebrating the Arabic language and promoting its use and relevance in the world.

The TED Conference has been around for more than 30 years, and thousands of its popular TED Talk videos are now available online.

The TEDinArabic gathering in June at Jordan’s Al Hussein Technical University was the project’s second regional event. The first was held last December during the 2021 WISE Summit. The WISE Summit is an international initiative of Qatar Foundation that brings together a network of education stakeholders who share ideas and collaborate to solve challenges facing education.

Arabs Are Part of an Evolving World

Zeinab Ibrahim, a teaching professor of Arabic studies at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, stressed the significance of TEDinArabic.

“Many Arabs feel that they are left out, so having TEDinArabic proves that the Arabs are active and are part of this evolving new world,” she said. “It also emphasizes how important and alive the language is. In other words, this platform is empowering the Arabic language.”

Speakers at the TEDinArabic event in Jordan emphasized the need to harness human potential to solve global challenges. The initiative shed light on powerful Arab experiences and embraced students and graduates from universities throughout the region, including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, and Palestine.

‘A Powerful Message’

Aside from the impact TED Talks have had on the lives of millions, TEDinArabic will spread the ideas of Arabic speakers to new audiences, magnifying their reach and impact.

Zeinab Ibrahim thinks that TEDinArabic is especially significant, as Arabic has been recognized as an official language of the United Nations.

“In sociolinguistics, the language chosen to be used in a certain situation is a message,” she said.

“TEDinArabic is a powerful message, and having it in Arabic is demonstrating the importance of both the Arabic language and the Arabs. It is reflecting a message to Arabs that your language is powerful, and you are part of the global conversation.”

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