x = independently organized TED event

Theme: #TheCrossRoad

This event occurred on
September 7, 2013
10:00am - 5:00pm EEST
(UTC +3hrs)
Beirut, BA

Our speakers have different stories… they each have their own “once upon a time” and our stage is that intersecting point, that meeting of similar and sometimes very different minds.

We embrace this diversity, for only through varying opinions and disciplines can you reach a point of true discovery, where you ask the “Why” and “How” of things. This is where ideas are exchanged and become truly contagious.

Gulbenkian Theatre
Lebanese American University
Beirut, BA
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Sabine Jizi

Sabine is the Founder of Laughter Yoga in Lebanon. She got certified by the man behind the Laughter Yoga movement himself, Dr. Madan Kataria. Sabine hopes to spread this movement throughout the Middle East region to remind people to laugh in order to live in harmony. She has been doing so through conducting events for schools, universities, hospitals and corporate companies in Lebanon, Bahrain and Dubai.

George Saade

George Saadé studied Psychology at the Lebanese American University, with an aim to specialize in Cognitive Neuroscience during his graduate studies. Despite being born with a visual impairment, George did not allow his disability to hinder his ambitions. He has worked passionately to surpass his physical limitations and excel in his field. Currently, George aims to utilize his life experiences to transform the lives of other individuals who struggle with debilitating stigma and discrimination because of their disabilities. As part of his graduate studies, he aims to investigate the role of language in shaping cognition and emotion. “I never needed eyes to see — never. I simply needed vision and belief.” —Caroline Casey.

Saeed Baayoun

Under the spotlight at the age of 8, Saeed saw what he wanted. Now a business student at LAU, Saeed kept close to what he loved, improving his skills in dance and his technique. In his words, “it was like a Herculean quest” where his dance is his art, and his preferred weapon of expression.

Christine Arzoumanian

The youngest of "100 Lebanese Women Leaders", she was the first Lebanese woman to be elected internationally to represent and lead 56 Rotaract - Rotary youth clubs in 2009 within ten countries in three continents. She established her own business in the Trade Sector of Korean products at the age of 21, and strengthened her family business by building partnerships with corporate and governmental organizations. This entrepreneur and activist is also a founding member of the Society of Social Entrepreneurs, and an active supporter of many NGOs. Christine has also been an avid advocate of public health in Lebanon. She worked on localizing global health awareness campaigns focusing on asthma and cervical cancer in partnership with the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health, civil and medical societies. In 2010, she was awarded by the World Health Organization (WHO) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to tobacco control in Lebanon.

Sara Khazem

Lebanese-American Sara Khazem grew up with a camera as an extension of her arm, and she used its lens to interpret the world around her. Upon the encouragement of her high school Art teacher, Sara pursued her inquisitive and artistic side. What began as a hobby and form of expression quickly evolved into an all-consuming passion. From painting, drawing, and sculpting, she realized that photography was her true calling. This is when she decided to redeploy her skills and use them as a means of providing underprivileged communities with the power to express.

Ghassan Nassar

Ghassan has lived between the United States and Lebanon. He is a Graphic Arts student and Marine Biology research assistant, who also knows a great deal about Zoology. He works with illustration, animation, and photography. He is also currently an active communications manager at AIESEC, the largest global student-run organization.

Elie Kesrouani

Instead of a bio, Elie would like to share this with you all... "I have always imagined that people are like trees. Some trees bear their own fruit, and that is something quite natural. Some other trees try to imitate fruit that is not their own, thinking that it’s better. Some trees don’t give their fruit, fearing failure, not knowing that the fear of failure is actually failure itself. And some trees are simply fruitless, and all the trees that fail are destined to be cut down and burned by man to warm him up in winters. Yet there was a tree that made man wonder for quite some time. It was found in his graveyard in the corner of the garden. Man always wondered what that tree was for. He came after every day of labor to ask it of its purpose but that tree never answered. In time, man called it the silent tree. It never gave any fruit and its wood wouldn’t burn. Some say that it fed on the dreams of the ones buried beneath it. Some even say that it feeds on their souls. Man always asked but that tree never answered, until one day man came after a long day of labor. He was tired. He sat beneath that tree, wondering about the meaning of his life... why was he to work every day? what was his purpose? He was sad. He wanted to give meaning to his life. He wanted to express how he felt at least. And that is when the black tree gave man its fruit. That tree does exist, and there's a lot of it in Lebanon. It's called the ebony tree, and out of it the violin was made. Its fruit was not for the belly; its fruit was different. The problem was not with the tree. The problem was with man. He had to be ready. The irony is that although that tree gave birth to the only instrument that gives man a shoulder to lean on so he can play his deepest wounds as mesmerizing music, man calls it the silent tree. But there is one thing man did not realize. That tree never gave a damn about what man called it or what man thought about it.. and it never will. There are many things I'm not good at, but there is one thing I'm really good at: I know a black tree when I see one." – Elie.

Hilda Abla

Hildos started her artistic venture at the children’s art program at LAU before moving from Beirut to New York. A painter, illustrator, communications specialist, and actor, Lebanese-Armenian artist Hildos (born Hilda Abla) gained her sense of art through expressing her life struggles. Through her sense of humor, she artistically tackled taboos to illustrate the beauty of the human body: “seeing beauty in imperfection” away from the stereotypes clichéd by the media. Hildos lives between Beirut and New York City, the city she considers her muse.

George Nasr

A painter who engineers for a hobby, George is a consultant of risk management and sustainable development, and a teacher. He is Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the Lebanese University. He also served as trainer and special advisor on climate change impact and vulnerability assessment. George follows a cross-disciplinary approach to observe and understand the interaction of complex societal systems. His research focuses on sustainable development from a systems engineering perspective. George’s work covers many topics including hydrology, engineering, climatology, biology, and economics, in social and political contexts.

Hady Sy

A man of action revolutionizing the art of perception. This ambitious artist started by creating the “International Festival of Fashion Photography”, which began in 1989, and has collaborated with the world’s most glamorous names including Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and the one and only, Karl Lagerfeld, as well as world renowned magazines like Vogue France and Harpers Bazaar US, to name a few. Hady also collaborates with the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and heads the artistic direction of the book and exhibition celebrating 40 years of Yves Saint Laurent. While in New York, Hady was a first-hand witness of the happenings and aftermath of September 11, 2001. It was then that Hady sought out to express his message of humanity, one of peace and tolerance through his exhibitions “In God We Trust” and “Not for Sale.” Hady is back to his childhood home, Beirut, after being offered an art residency by the Lebanese Ministry of Culture to set up his latest installation “One Blood.”

Jade Saab

Heading a team of HR professionals and entrepreneurs, Jade works to provide jobseekers with a smooth transition into the workforce. He is the Director and cofounder of the new online job platform, Achieve, which eases and enhances the job-seeking experience. Through practice, Jade has drawn connections between how our surroundings influence the people we become, and how these same surroundings can be as limiting as they may be helpful for growth. Jade continues to look into what takes us from understanding who we are to becoming who we want to be.

Mohamad Hodeib

As an artist, Mohamad fuses multiple disciplines producing a rich concept of art experimentation and political expression. Having studied Political Science/International Affairs at LAU, Mohamad spends his mornings behind a desk as a research assistant. Later, he is “el walad”, a committed art activist in the Lebanese downstream cultural movement. Since 2009, he has conducted socially-conscious art projects, contributed to the formation of several collectives, and outspokenly advocated the “Root of Change”. He was the front man of Lebanese rock band “Wled el Balad”, a founding member of “el Yafta” literary club for socially-conscious writers, and an active contributor to the “Naked Wagon Community” and “the Resident Refugees movement”.

Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher was appointed Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Lebanese Republic in August 2011. Tom was born in Kent, and studied at Harvey Grammar School (Folkestone) and Oxford University (Hertford College), graduating with a First class degree in Modern History. He has an MA in Modern History, and is a Senior Associate Member of St Anthony's College for International Studies, Oxford. Tom enjoys political history, cricket (Strollers CC), and mountains, and is the co-founder of 2020 (a progressive think tank). Tom was awarded the Companion of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 2011 New Year's Honours, for services to the Prime Minister.

Organizing team


Beirut, Lebanon