News / Africa

Tech Wizard Launches New Sudan in TED World

Part 2 of the Africa's Rising Star reports

The world's views of traditional and poverty-stricken Sudan are being revised by young Sudanese invited to appear on TEDx Khartoum by its entrepreneurial host, Anwar Dafa-Alla. (Courtesy Anwar Dafa-Alla)
The world's views of traditional and poverty-stricken Sudan are being revised by young Sudanese invited to appear on TEDx Khartoum by its entrepreneurial host, Anwar Dafa-Alla. (Courtesy Anwar Dafa-Alla)
A 36-year-old computer engineer established TEDx Khartoum - a vibrant international platform of conferences and lively debates about a new Sudan three years ago.
 
Anwar Dafa-Alla introduced Sudan, its people and new ideas to the world with the international YouTube success of his own version of Technology, Entertainment and Design – a global video conferencing phenomenon called TEDx.
 
Dafa-Alla and his friends are now telling the story of Sudan – and publicizing ideas that he says are worth spreading – by sharing the thinking of Sudanese people about the complex nature of their nation and the power of positive thinking in a country struggling with economic and political transformation.
 
Starting in Seoul, Korea
 
It all began when Dafa-Alla was studying for a doctorate in data mining in Cheongju, Korea. In his spare time he performed some online translations into Arabic of the work of Oxford mathematician Peter Donnelly and hundreds of others. His Korean friends were impressed by his translations and in 2009 they invited him to Seoul to talk about his work on one of their TEDx programs.  
 
“I was so moved and touched by the experience,” says Dafa-Alla. It also inspired him to create TEDx Khartoum.
 
Listen to Nabeel Biajo's interview with Anwar Dafa-Alla
Listen to Nabeel Biajo's interview with Anwar Dafa-Allai
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

His first three TEDx conferences were a success. He says the teleconferences “evolved to become one of the internationally recognized conferences out of 9,000 TEDx events around the world.”
 
“We had the first TEDx conference in Khartoum to give voice to the local people, people who otherwise have no voice through the conventional media,” says Dafa-Alla.
 
Dafa-Alla’s series of TEDx events in Khartoum allow youth and other age groups to talk about issues of importance to the Sudanese, subjects that often have created misperceptions about the war in the country, economic insecurity and government repression of public expression.
 
“We touched the identity issue that’s critical to Sudan and the Sudanese people,” he says. Speakers from all walks of life shared their ideas: artists, businessmen, school teachers and marketing executives.
 
TEDx Khartoum became a movement for social change in the hands of Dafa-Alla and a large team of volunteers who helped with production.

“It was a huge success that inspired the whole community …” he says. “We started with a hundred volunteers, and now we have over 7,000 who are volunteering for TEDx Khartoum and they’re [now] part of the community of ideas worth spreading.
 
A New Sudan is born on TEDx Khartoum
 
“We had an amazing youth speaker, a student at the university,“ Dafa-Alla said of his second production. The speaker name was Wafa Elamin. “She spoke about the importance of positive thinking to Sudan and the Sudanese in order to change our situation in Sudan. “
 
Elemin’s TEDx talk was so successful she was invited to represent the youth of Sudan at a UN meeting in Doha where she spoke about Youth Can Be The Change and met Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
 
“Conventional wisdom tells you that Sudan is a place of negativity, war, famine, poverty and all the negative stuff,” said Dafa-Alla, “but we deeply believe that our community has lots of positive stuff that we have to share with the international community.”
 
Because of Sudan’s new presence on the global platform that is TEDx,  Dafa-Alla was recently in Washington to share his recent activities at TEDx Khartoum and other social volunteer activities he has spearheaded.
 
Taking his Sudan to the United States

The TEDx conference has became a movement worldwide and Daffa-Alla was invited to give a TEDx talk at Sidney Harman Hall at The George Washington University. The audience of more than a thousand people included 50 speakers. “Businessmen, congressmen, the ambassador of South Sudan ... lots of people came and shared their great ideas,” he says.

During his presentation, Dafa-Alla shared the story of “Our Sudan,” a 12-minute film inspired by a TEDx Khartoum lecture given in May 2012 by Sudan political scientist and democracy advocate Tariq Hilal. Dafa-Alla worked as executive producer on the film.

Hilal's lecture recalls the narrative of older generations of Sudan who inherited the relative prosperity of colonial times and calls on Sudan’s next generations to dream a new dream.

Dafa-Alla said the spirit of the dream portrayed in Hilal's film was embodied by the "nafeer" movement, which brought out hundreds of Sudanese volunteers last August, to provide aid to more than 300,000 neighbors displaced by a flash flood that took the lives of 50 people. Dafa-Alla was one of the movement’s organizers.
 
“It was an amazing experience that all the community came together, and they helped where the government was paralyzed," he says. "I shared these stories and I was so happy that, you know, it was well received by the attendees.
 
He received a standing ovation at the Washington show. “It was really fascinating how lovely the TEDx mid-Atlantic community is here in Washington.”

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid