Shifting My Perspective: From TEDx Speaker to TEDx Volunteer

TEDxBeirutSalon 7 at Minus 5 was organized on November 28, 2013 and attended by almost 200 people. The venue for the salon, set in a film production house, inspired our theme: Shifting Perspectives.
The event featured a Q&A session with members of the mountaineer Team Lebanon, and a Live Performance by Brazilian rhythms band Segundo Bloco. See our all event photos on Facebook or on Flickr.

By Marj Henningsen
December 24, 2013

I easily related to the theme of shifting perspectives, especially since joining the volunteer team for TEDxBeirut this year. In November 2012 I was a speaker in the main event. I was so inspired by my experience as a speaker that I decided this year to devote some time and energy to helping the next round of TEDxBeirut to be as successful as the last.

After almost 30 years in education, it’s exhilarating to work side by side with so many dedicated young people in Lebanon who really care about their fellow citizens and who really want to give something special to their community, which is also my community these past 13 years. I discovered that a common aspect in both perspectives is a shared goal of creating a reflective, enjoyable, and fulfilling experience for the attendees and for our fellow volunteers. In fact it’s all about giving.

I was proud to see Peter Mouracade, one of my fellow speakers from 2012 (watch his talk), giving back with some of his colleagues from Team Lebanon. They took the stage sharing their latest mountain climbing achievements. The photos and stories they shared were intriguing and left me wanting to hear even more about their experience. For example, how did their perspectives shift when they encountered some serious obstacles to their goals?

I loved the talk by Raghava KK who advocates for actively engaging children with multiple perspectives from an early age. Anyone who saw my own TEDx talk would know how completely I agree with him! He also said that art and creativity are essential tools in developing empathy—imagining yourself in someone else’s shoes. What an insightful perspective! As adults perhaps we are more free (although it doesn’t have to be this way!) to make our own choice to not only imagine ourselves in someone else’s shoes, but actually walk a day or two in them—in my case, by becoming a TEDxBeirut volunteer.

I am certain that there is always a lot to learn and gain from shifting to another perspective, but it’s equally true that shifting perspective also opens up a lot more opportunity to give! 

Watch the talks screened at TEDxBeirutSalon 7 and join the online conversation:
1. Rory Sutherland: Perspective is everything
2. Raghava KK: Shake up your story