Mogadishu Rising: 3rd Annual TEDx Event

iftineducation.com – Lido Beach in Mogadishu, the 3rd annual TEDx event is a symbol that Mogadishu is well on it’s way to recovery. It’s only fitting that this year’s theme was “Mogadishu Rising”.
Like previous years, TEDxMogadishu was streamed live on the internet from the capital of Somalia. This year over 30,000 people tuned in from every corner of the globe to watch speakers share their ideas and experiences in fields ranging from journalism to martial arts.

Social media users effectively used the hashtags “#tedxmogadishu” and “#mogadishurising” to carry the message through social media.

This year’s speakers include Abdulfatah Ahmed, an architect dedicated to rebuilding Mogadishu, a city left unrecognizable by the ravages of war. His talk was focused on how Mogadishu’s unique history and culture made it one of Africa’s most beautiful cities and shared his vision for a ‘new Mogadishu”.

Another notable speaker was Zahra Qorane. Zahra uses her smart phone to catalogue the progress Mogadishu has made through photos and shares them with the world through social media. She began taking photos to combat the negative image that Mogadishu has received through mainstream media.

“The world knows Mogadishu as ‘the world’s most dangerous city, but I wanted to show that Mogadishu is the most beautiful city in the world.”

Hiiraan Online’s own Dalmar Gure spoke about the power of new media and the role younger Somali’s will play in the digital era.

TedX is independently organized from TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design). Since it’s inception, it’s been held in over 150 countries; some of which are facing political instability. Nate Mook, a Tedx co-organizer, has worked in some of the most challenging places: Tripoli in 2012, as well as Baghdad in 2011, and 2012. He said that TEDxMogadishu is easily the most difficult in terms of security and also in terms of basic organizational reasons.

“You can’t easily move around in Mogadishu, which makes meeting with and rehearsing speakers problematic. There’s very little technical infrastructure, so electricity, internet connectivity, and finding technical equipment can be big hurdles.” said Nate Mook in an interview with Hiiraan Online.

In terms of security, TEDxMogadishu developed a comprehensive three-tier security system comprised of private, local and national security. On the day of the event, movement in the area was severely restricted to ensure the safety of the participants. The security risk was compounded by some of the high-profile guests in attendance such as UN Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay; Somali Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir; and Minister of Public Works, Nadifo Mohamed Osman.

Nate repeatedly emphasized that “Keeping everyone safe was our #1 priority”.

Despite the difficulty in organizing the event, it was a full house with over 250 people in attendance. Mr. Mook said that kind of reception is what makes the long hours for him and the volunteer team worthwhile.

Compared to previous years, the security and technical situation has improved. The event was live-streamed without any hiccups and it was the first time the event was held in a central part of the city, right on Lido Beach. The organizers chose to host it at Lido this year to send the message that Mogadishu is indeed rising and prove that normalcy is returning to Somalia’s capital.