TED Community » Walid Al-Saqaf

About Me

Fluency in writing, reading, and speaking: English, Arabi
Positions Held:
- Assistant Researcher at the Media and Communication Department of Orebro University, Sweden (May-September 2009)
- Senior Reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Washington DC, USA (March-August 2005)
- Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of Yemen Times (June 1999-March 2005), Sanaa – Yemen
- Secretary Editor for Yemen Times (March 1999 – June 1999), Sanaa – Yemen
- Assistant Editor and IT Dep. manager for Yemen Times (August 98, March 99), Sanaa - Yemen
- I also write occasionally for other newspapers such as the Dubai-based Gulf News

• Currently pursuing a Licentiate (post-Master) degree at Örebro University in Sweden in the field of media studies and communication with an emphasis on ICT and globalization.
• Master Degree in Global Journalism from Örebro University, Sweden.
• Bachelor Degree in the field of Computer Engineering from the Middle East University, Ankara, Turkey (1993-1998)

Practical skills and experience includes:
- Management, leadership roles in the media and civil society, experience in information communication technology, software development –especially in the online domain-, organizing international events

Major activities attended abroad:
• Beirut, Lebanon (October 1998): Workshop on Information Technology for News Media by Jemstone
• Amman, Jordan (February 2000): Information Training for Seminar Coverage organized by CFD
• Oxford, UK (February 2000): Seminar on the Freedom of the Press by the British Council
• The Hague, Netherlands (March 2000): Press Delegation for the 2nd World Water Forum
• Ottawa & Montreal, Canada (March 2000): Workshop by CIDA on Information in Yemen
• Washington, DC, USA (April 2000): World Bank Journalist Training Workshop
• Dubai, UAE (Jan 2002): Seminar on Press Freedom in Developing Countries by Dubai Press Club
• Berlin, Germany (January 2002): Information visit and meeting German parliamentarians
• Salzburg, Austria (March 2002): Seminar on organized by the renowned Salzburg Seminar.
• Kuwait City, Kuwait (October 2002): Guest visitor to the Ministry of Information.
• Athens, Greece (March ‘03): Participated in conference about EU monetary policies in ME & N Africa
• Brussels, Belgium (July 2003): Seminar on EU Trade Policies (preparing Cancun)
• Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (October 2003): Participated in Tourism Exchange 2003 & OIC Expo.
• Amman, Jordan (December 2003): Participated in a workshop on media and law.
• Genova, Italy (January 2004): Representative of Yemen's delegation at the International conference "Children of the Mediterranean".
• Seoul, S. Korea (January 2004): Represented Yemen in the "Good Governance for a World in Crisis" Summit held during January 25-29 2004.
• Brussels, Belgium (April 2004): Participated in the European Union’s Visitors Program as a guest of the European Commission.
• Istanbul, Turkey (May 2004): Participated in the 57th World Newspapers Congress and 11th Editors Forum arranged by the World Association of Newspapers.
• Tokyo, Japan (June 2004): Was invited by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and represented Yemen’s independent media in meetings and roundtable discussions.
• Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (August 2004): Participated in the Malaysia International Visitors Program on behalf of Yemen and participated in roundtable discussions and meetings with Media people to explore potential cooperation.
• Beirut, Lebanon (September 2004): Participated on behalf of Yemen in the ‘Role of the Civil Society in Reform in the Arab World’ seminar held by the UNDP and Lebanese Transparency Association.
• Abu Dhabi, UAE (September 2004): Participated through teleconferencing in a workshop dedicated to reforms in the media in the Middle East and North Africa region.
• New York City, USA (September 2004): Participated on behalf of Arab civil society in the preparatory meeting on “Forum of the Future” organized by the US department of State and the UN.
• Toulouse, France (November 2004): Covered the official handover of new airbus A330 to Yemenia.
• Rabat, Morocco (December 2004): Participated in the Civil Society Forum for the Future meeting
• Washington DC (December 2004): Attended the 4th World Summit on Global Peace and Good Governance.
• Washington DC (March 2005): Participated in an international press fellowship in association with the Wall Street Journal.
• Saint Petersburg, Florida, USA (June 2005): Participated in a Poynter Institute workshop on print journalism and media development
• New York City, USA (June 2005): Participated in Headquarters meeting

Member Picture

TEDCRED 500+ TED FellowAssociateTEDx Organizer

More About Me

I'm passionate about

Promoting Freedom of Expression, Democracy, particularly through creative technological innovations.

An idea worth spreading

Give people in developing countries the means to liberate themselves from oppression. Those tools need not to be only materialistic, but could be in the form of training, education, communicating their messages across and even moral encouragement. One way to do that for countries suffering from Internet censorship of political content is by providing them the means to bypass this censorship and supporting initiatives -home-grown ones in particular- to spread the word about such solutions and allow experts to train and education people in the country to use those tools.
Furthermore, the most crucial way to get to know what people need is through 'communication'. This key word is of vital importance because only then will we understand what they need and not impose solutions that may not work for -or may not be needed by- them.
Bridging the digital divide between the North and South should be a priority for those who could make a difference. It is such a noble cause!

Talk to me about

Internet, Freedom, Middle East, Journalism, Arab Spring, Global Journalism, TEDx, Living in Sweden as a foreigner

People don't know that I'm good at

Online Trading (manual)
Programming in MT4 (metaquotes language) to write automating trading robots (I even participated in championships in the past :))

My TED Story

As a journalist with a background in computer software development, I started developing an online news aggregator for my own country Yemen, which named YemnePortal.net. The moment the website went live, my life changed in many ways. I became more attached to online journalism, more aware of the vast potentials of the Internet in delivering news, and subject to government scrutiny for the content on my website.
Upon the blocking of YemenPortal.net by the Yemeni government, I moved in full thrust to developing circumvention solutions to bypass Internet censorship, the latest being alkasir (currently in its 1.2.0 version). I introduced a concept I like to call 'split-tunneling' to save bandwidth while still serving the purpose of allowing people to visit blocked content with ease.
I am currently involved in activism to support freedom of expression online as well as doing research (PhD) on Internet censorship overall.
TED is definitely going to make my journey ever more excitin


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