The Inside Out Project (via 18% Grey Facebook Page)

TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design) is a non-profit dedicated to Ideas Worth Spreading. Since its inception in 1984, TED has showcased thousands of inspirational talks from an array of innovative speakers. Some of my own favorites include Simon Sinek‘s talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” and spoken word poet Sarah Kay‘s “If I Should have a Daughter.”

TED pushes the envelope of innovation constantly through its speakers, fellows, and its conferences. The TEDx initiative, which was created in this same spirit, is “designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.” In Pakistan, there have already been a number of independently organized TEDx events, and this past Friday was TEDx Karachi.

(Via TEDx Karachi) Noori Performing at the Event

The speakers ranged from cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan to motivational speaker Sarmad Tariq. Journalist & filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, who is a TED Senior Fellow, told me last week, “TEDx Karachi is an opportunity for the city to showcase it’s finest in these bleak times- there are so many Pakistanis making the impossible possible that we need to appreciate them & learn from them.”

The initiative also launched “Inside Out,” a large-scale participatory art project initiated by a French street artist “that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of art work,” noted the Express Tribune. The images, taken by seven Karachi photographers, aim to expose the persecution of minorities in Pakistan and foster dialogue on the issue. Photographer Ameera Durrani told Express, “We come from a place that perceives people based on their religion and ethnicity. This creates divide, when essentially we all are the same.”

I missed the live feed of the event, but I anxiously await the TEDx videos of the talks. Congratulations to the organizers for pulling off an incredible event, and for truly encapsulating the potential of Pakistan in the program.  If you have stories or images you’d like to share from TEDx Karachi, post them in the comments section (or you can email them to us at And, while I completely embrace TEDx and all that it does, this Cafe Pyala round-up still made me laugh out loud.