x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Small Stories. Big Issues.

This event occurred on
April 8, 2017
6:00pm - 9:00pm +04
(UTC +4hrs)
Abu Dhabi, Abū Z̧aby
United Arab Emirates

This year we present 9 stories from across the globe offering thought-provoking questions, diverse perspectives, and, above all, impactful ideas. We believe in providing a platform for creating dialogue and asking questions that are meant to be shared, and we are honoured to welcome you to the third edition of TEDxNYUAD.

We have speakers from the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Armenia, The Netherlands, Canada, and the United States. They will be sharing their experiences, observations, ideas and research that have shaped the way they look at the world around them.

Through our theme, we emphasize the beauty of small stories, big issues and how personal experiences provide a new outlook by which to observe larger concepts and address major issues that concern our world today.

You will be hearing talks that might challenge your thoughts about being a global leader, terrorism and self-sacrifice, , and how profanity and make-up can provide a means of empowerment. You will hear a first-hand account of what it is like to live through the effects of the Boko Haram insurgency, and the challenges of growing up being racially discriminated in the United States. Our speakers will be addressing concerns such as the divide between those who use and those who create technology, how Armenian superstitions have an effect on gender inequality, and how minority languages – like Shona in Zimbabwe – are rapidly dying.

Conference Center A6 building
New York University Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island Campus
Saadiyat Island
Abu Dhabi, Abū Z̧aby
United Arab Emirates
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Anna Serobyan

Economist and Political Scientist
Anna Serobyan is a senior at NYU Abu Dhabi, double majoring in Economics and Political Science. Anna is originally from Yerevan, Armenia. Prior to coming to NYU she has spent a year in the US as an exchange student and finalist of the Future Leaders Exchange Program. As an undergraduate student Anna has been actively involved with and has led many Student Interest Groups including Model UN, Business and Finance Club, Net Impact and Attitude Dance Society. In her current thesis paper Anna is studying the aftermath of Syrian refugee crisis and is assessing the effect of immigration on European elections and voter preferences. She is a passionate advocate of refugee rights and as a member of No Lost Generation initiative, works towards creating educational and exchange opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers.

Brooke Hopkins

Computer Scientist
Brooke Hopkins is a technologist, designer and maker. As a female computer scientist, she is passionate about creating greater diversity in the tech world. She has taught programming classes to women and refugees in Berlin, Germany, and leads the Women in STEM organization of NYU Abu Dhabi. Based her experiences, she will explore how cultural and personal beliefs are embedded in technology. How does the world view of a few engineers manifest itself in code and final products? How do we design for billions of unique people in the world? There is a growing divide between those who use, and those who create technology, but Brooke believes there is a way to take advantage of the openness and equality that technology has always promised.

Emeka Nwadike

Recreational Assistant, NYUAD Athletic Department
Emeka currently works as a Recreational Assistant as a Contract Staff of SERCO at NYUAD’s Athletic Department. He is from Imo State in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria. He was, however, raised Kano State in the Northern part of Nigeria where he and his family lived through the negative effects of the Boko Haram insurgency. His TED talk traces his personal experience growing up as a child with minimal resources at his disposal and the sacrifices he’s had to make for his other siblings. With his talk, he hopes to inform the public that success depends solely not on the wealth of your family but on your choice in making the right decisions for a better future.

Jocelyn Bélanger

Jocelyn Bélanger is a professor of psychology at New York University Abu Dhabi. His current research focuses on the psychology of radicalization and de-radicalization. Specifically, Dr. Bélanger seeks to understand why, and under which circumstances, individuals are willing to sacrifice their lives for a cause and how these motivational forces can be redirected in a constructive direction, paving the way to conciliation, conflict resolution, and harmony in intergroup relations.

Mariam AlHarmoodi

Dedicating as much as an hour a day, Mariam's connection to makeup is particularly devotional so much so that there has not been a single day in 6 years where she stepped out of the confines of her home "unmasked". In her talk, Mariam confronts the double standards that initially salvaged her self-confidence, but have now condemned her for being too heavy-handed with her brush strokes.

Nghiem Huynh

Economist and Mathematician
Nghiem Huynh is a Vietnamese junior, majoring in Economics and Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science. Before NYUAD, He spent two years in UWC Red Cross Nordic (UWCRCN), where he learned how to speak proper English and to appreciate education as a force to unite people across different cultures. At NYUAD, he finds his calling in Economics, where he can combine his love for Mathematics with his passion for understanding others. When he is not busy thinking about economic models or marveling at the beauty of mathematics, Nghiem enjoys playing badminton and drinking tea. Through sharing his experience at UWCRCN in his talk, Nghiem would like to introduce a different way in which we can think about cursing in an international community.

Tamu Al-Islam

Senior Director of Inclusion and Equity at NYU Abu Dhabi
Tamu Al-Islam is currently the Senior Director of Inclusion and Equity at NYU Abu Dhabi, where she has also previously led global mobility, employee relations, and immigration teams, and helped develop HR since 2009. She is a former Deputy Director of the NYUAD Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Scholars Program, and was previously senior director of the Office of the President of New York University in the United States. Her career at NYU in New York and Abu Dhabi spans more than 25 years, including experience leading HR, academic administration, professional development, and many university initiatives. In 2004, she was awarded NYU’s Distinguished Administrator Award for her professionalism, expertise, and service. In her private life, Tamu has led workshops and served as an advocate for various social and cultural development issues at international conferences in Nigeria, Turkey, England, Spain, Jamaica, the U.S., and India. She holds a BA in Liberal Studies and an MA in educational leaders

Vongai Mambo

The notion of belonging has always been complex for Vongai because even though she was born in Zimbabwe, over the past fifteen years she has called various countries and cultures home. This exposure to an amazing heterogeneity of people has made her into a passionate advocate for the encouragement and acceptance of difference. Vongai is bilingual in Shona and English and has dabbled in other languages such as Spanish and French. Her TEDx talk will channel her interest in linguistics and diversity by exploring how the spread of English as a dominant language is threatening the unique variety of native tongues around the world.

Willem Cant

Historian and Political Scientist
Willem James Cant is a sophomore at NYUAD, studying History and Political Science with a minor in Arabic Language. He is from the Netherlands and the United States of America. His talk, titled the Importance of Being a (G)local Leader, will examine notions of global leadership and the importance of being a local leader with a global outlook. Willem will take us on a journey through his past experiences as a student in Swaziland and his travels across the world. He hopes to scrutinize the impact of globalization on current International Affairs whilst exploring how this has shaped his own identity.

Organizing team


Brooklyn, NY, United States

El Hassan