Approximately 300 people from across Pakistan attended TEDxIslamabad 2016: Breaking Barriers, an event featuring speeches about women’s empowerment. The event was funded by the American Embassy and Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network and was part of the TEDx program, which is designed to help communities, organizations, and individuals spark conversation and connection.
American Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Jonathan Pratt welcomed participants in a video message, stating, “Today’s event should remind us all that communities and countries need the full participation of women in all aspects of society to develop completely. When a woman or a girl is held back from achieving her full potential, her family, community, and country are also held back. And while there is no doubt that women worldwide have made great strides toward equality over the past few decades, there is still plenty of room for growth.”
An audience including entrepreneurs, scientists, students, writers, musicians, and politicians listened to speeches by individuals such as Ayesha Shayed, who gave a presentation on “connecting and believing,” and Noor Aftab, who spoke about breaking barriers to achieve career success.
The event was organized by Ahsan Mukhtar, an alumnus of the American government’s International Visitor Leadership Program, and by Senior TEDx Ambassador and Acumen Fellow Saad Hamid.
“We received over 3,000 applications and choosing just 300 attendees out of those wasn’t an easy task,” Mukhtar said. “But we have tried to make sure that we get to have the most diverse audience, which is why we have attendees touching all major cities of Pakistan, including Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Swat, and even beyond.”
TEDxIslamabad was established in 2010 and has produced more than 15 events featuring 50 thought-provoking TEDTalks by thought leaders from all over Pakistan and beyond.