Pakistan: Fourth TEDx in Islamabad emphasizes dignity and inclusion for all

As one of the oldest humanitarian organizations in the world, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been on the front lines of major humanitarian emergencies for 160 years. Lessons learned from the past encourage us to hope for a different future; a future where the rights and dignity of every person is respected, regardless of their geographical location, physical abilities, economic status or whether they are online or offline.

For the fourth consecutive year in 2022, the ICRC in Pakistan partnered with TEDxIslamabad to host four inspirational presenters to speak on how the future is shaped in the present. The series was entitled "The Future We Want". Each of the speakers is associated with key areas in which the ICRC serves vulnerable communities including social inclusion of people with disabilities, psychosocial and mental health services, knowledge transfer and developing an evidence base, and maintaining respect and dignity in the cyberspace.

The first talk of this TEDx event was presented by Rabail Pirzada, a woman of extraordinary strength and grit, who spoke about the beauty of this world as she, a person with a visual disability, experiences it. Rabail is the chief coordinator at Pakistan Foundation Fighting Blindness (PFFB). She lost her sight in an accident at the age of 12 and continued her education to build a successful career as an advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities, particularly blind or visually impaired people.

Ahmed Waqas Waheed, executive director of the Roads initiative and assistant professor at the Department of Governance and Public Policy in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Science and Technology, spoke about how the language we use creates the reality we experience. He stressed upon the diversity of voices and allowing people to talk about themselves in the way they want to, leading to fair conversations particularly about the Global South.

Ali Ilyas, a psychotherapist, trainer and consultant in organizational development, spoke about how the reality of death influences life. Ali believes that by acknowledging the uncomfortable truth of having limited time in this world, our actions in the present can help shape a better future. In his work, he has found great value in an existential approach to working with psychological concerns.

Sahar Habib Ghazi delivered an eye-opening talk on cyberbullying, sharing her own experiences as a teenager and their influence throughout her life. With 18 years of newsroom experience, Sahar is currently a senior editor at VICE World News and board member for Media Matters for Democracy. She runs a parenting community on Instagram called 2030Mama. Drawing on her experience as a person on the internet, a journalist and a parent, she shared 11 truths to stay kind and brave online.