TEDxLUMS 2018 - #Breaking Stereotypes

Saturday, April 7, 2018

On a fine Saturday morning, over 300 people from different parts of the country arrived at Lahore University of Management Sciences to attend the TEDxLUMS 2018. Nearly 4500 people also watched the event live on the Facebook page.

TEDxLUMS has been taking place since 2014. This year, the LUMS MBA Entrepreneurship Executive Club, returned after a year’s hiatus with something bigger and better than before. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Breaking Stereotypes’. In accordance with the theme, the event invited many renowned people to share their inspirational tales of fighting the odds and breaking stereotypes. Quratulain Babur, the curator of TEDxLUMS, opened the event with her welcome note. She thanked all those who worked hard to make the event a success and introduced the audience to the theme.

The first speaker at the event was Idea Croron Ka’s Nabeel Qadeer. As an entrepreneur, he spoke on the mindset that makes a successful entrepreneur. IDEA (Impact, Discussion, Energy and Awareness), according to him, is the formula that one must follow to learn innovation. He also shared his journey, from multiple rejections, to the epitome of success; the journey to successfully bring his ‘Idea Croron Ka’ to life.

Next up was the charming Zainab Qayoom aka ZQ. ZQ had prepared a full speech, but she told the audience how her friends told her it just didn’t seem like her. So, she decided to “wing it” and be candid and realistic. She wanted to show people Zainab as herself, and not the famous ZQ. Zainab’s story, full of ups and downs, narrated by her in her typical witty fashion, left the entire audience laughing profoundly and breaking in applause throughout.

Sa’ad Mohamed, the mountaineer who was all over the news recently, when he abandoned his journey to summit Mount Everest, to save a fellow Pakistani climber, was the next speaker at TEDxLUMS. He indulged the audience with his deep passion for mountaineering, and his interesting story of how he became a mountaineer. He shared ‘Things not to do on Everest’, which included ‘not to forget ACHAAR!’ Other instructions included ‘not to leave your nose uncovered’; ‘not to miss the view of Kala Pathar’; and ‘never to look down’. He ended with his message to us; “Go out there, find your niche, and get on with it!”

The next speaker was truly inspiring, particularly for the young students of the university. Raj Kumar, the first Pakistani to win the Emerging Young Leaders Award, arrived at the event and left the audience in awe, with the story of his journey from Tharparkar to US. Belonging from one of Pakistan’s most isolated and least-developed region, he shared his trip from the sand dunes of Thar to the skyline of the US. The audience was extremely impressed by the multitude of social projects he has successfully carried out and is still working on. Raj, (who is still looking for his Simran) says he has returned to Thar to give back to his community. He implored all of us to do the same; perhaps our efforts can carry children from remote rural areas to new heights of LUMS and Harvard, much like Raj himself.

Author and activist Tanzila Khan was the next speaker to grace the stage. Born with a disability, Tanzila did not let anything stop her, and went on to break every stereotype associated with herself. Her talk challenged the mindset of most people regarding disability. Tanzila refused to be a passive recipient of aid and pity; she wanted to be famous and successful based on her passion and achievements, not disability. So, she set off on an exemplary journey, where she crosses new barriers every day. She wanted the audience and the general public to understand disability itself, and the very concept of ‘inclusion’ associated with it. She also introduced us to her start-up, where her team customises everyday products for disabled people, according to their specific needs.

Curator of Lahore’s famous International Banned Books Week, the social scientist and activist Raza Naeem was one of the speakers at TEDxLUMS. His biography is laden with tales of passion; he described his attempts to scale higher mountains each day because he gets a kick out of living dangerously. Raza made references of Iqbal and Habib Jalib during his talk, enlightening the audience with their mesmerising poetry as well as deeper implications. His dramatic reading of Jalib’s Dastoor bewitched the audience.

The renowned professor of NUST and the biggest name in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Pakistan, Dr. Yasar Ayaz was invited by the organisers. He was the last speaker of the day. Dr. Yasar highlighted the endless and mind-boggling potential and opportunities that come with artificial intelligence. He elaborated upon two of his own products using AI. One of these was a wheelchair with an attached headset; the headset is meant to receive instructions from the individual’s brain to guide its navigation. The product is under work in the RISE Lab at NUST.

The event was lit up with amazing performances from artists with special music skills. These performances included the “All Girls Band from Nescafé Basement”. Their rendition of Coldplay’s Fix You was unlike any other cover. The phenomenal duo, Ali & Muneeb captivated the audience with their instrumental performance of Khamaj. The Music Society of LUMS graced the stage as well; with the young Rafay exhibiting some enchanting vocals which held the audience in silent awe throughout his songs.

Thus, another chapter of TEDxLUMS was efficiently executed at the university. The audience had nothing but praise for the inspiring speakers as well as the hard-working organising committee. The event was widely covered on social media, especially on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram under the hashtag #TEDxLUMS. Here is some of the feedback from the audience:

All of this was not possible without the constant hard-work of the extremely talented LUMS students. This event is a signature event of the LUMS Entrepreneurship Executive Club which is led by final year MBA students. However, we saw major participation from Undergraduate students, MS students and if course EMBA students. This was a team effort which made this event a magnanimous success. Without the participation of the following people, this monumental event could not have taken place.

MBA 2018 students

  • Ravia Saqib: Speakers and Program
  • Rafia Ilyas & Ahsan Sajjad: Venue and Spaces
  • Muhammad Bilal: Audience and Experience
  • Muhammad Taha & Omer Abdurehman Khan: Marketing & Communication
  • Talha Munir: Coverage
  • Taha Hussain: Sponsors
  • Saad Zahid: Volunteers and Logistics
  • Waleed Yazdani: President LEEC

Speakers & Program 

  • Danish Khan Freshman
  • Wajeeha Amir Freshman
  • Saman Zahid Sophomore
  • Zobia Akhtar Sophomore
  • Amna Afzal Sophomore
  • Komal Ghazanfar Junior
  • Mahnoor Shahid Freshman
  • Zama Bilal Freshman
  • Talha Rehan Freshman
  • Ali Jalaluddin  Freshman

Venue, Logistics & Audience Experience

  • Arooba Ghazal Freshman
  • Hina Zahid Alumnus
  • Ahsan Zaheer Senior
  • Saima Ashraf Senior
  • Sania Kashif Senior
  • Muhammad Shaharyar Junior
  • Fatima Khan  Sophomore
  • Hamdia Uzair Sophomore
  • Abdur Raffey Tariq Freshman
  • Fatima Haider Naqvi Freshman
  • Haseeb ur Rehman Zahid Freshman
  • Israa Shahid Freshman
  • Marium Mazhar Freshman
  • Muhammad Tuaha Freshman
  • Mustafa Najam Siddiqi Freshman
  • Nayha Bano Khan Freshman
  • Rimal Butt Freshman
  • Sakeena Areej Freshman
  • Taha Farhan Allawala Freshman
  • Hiba Khurshid Assistant Manager
  • Zahra Jaleel Qureshi QEC (Quality Enhancement Cell) Officer
  • Fatima Jamil Junior
  • Umar Ashfaq Freshman

Marketing & Communications

  • Tuba Waseem Sophomore
  • Shayan Tariq Sophomore
  • Syed Farhad Ahmed Freshman
  • Aaesha Shehzad Junior
  • Mahnoor Farooq Freshman
  • Muhammad Yasir Noor Senior 
  • Abdul Maroof  (Design) MS
  • Talal Shoukat (Design) MS
  • Media & Coverage Arooba Ghazal Junior
  • Ahmed Hussain Junior
  • Urooj Fatima Freshman
  • Muhammad Waqar Majeed Sophomore
  • Muhammad Ibtasam Shafique Senior

Special thanks to our sponsors PepsiCo for their support and the SDSB External Relations Office for their vision: Ayesha Khurshid, Quratulain Babur and Ayesha Zafar Ali

For pictures and videos of the event, stay connected with us:
TEDxLUMS Website
TEDxLUMS Facebook
TEDxLUMS Twitter
TEDxLUMS Instagram