December 9: TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. TEDx events unleash fresh ideas from local communities. The first ever TEDxIBA was organized by The Media & Communication’s Society of IBA; “The Road Less Traveled” with the designated theme of the conference, which was a nod to the great poet Robert Frost’s iconic words. The G&T Auditorium was jam-packed with an exhilarating energy radiating from participants awaiting to experience a journey of revolutionary ideas and exceptional life experiences from local speakers. The lineup comprised of an interesting mix of people including a fitness guru, a fashion designer, a digital marketer, a lawyer, a psychologist, a prisoner of war, a socialist singer, and an environmental activist.

Deepak Perwani, Chairperson of Fashion Pakistan Council, took over the floor as an opening speaker to inspire the audience with his striking and impactful demeanor. He confidently went on to say that fashion in today’s day and age is a very valuable and weighty industry and gone are the days when it was considered trivial. ‘In the last 10 years Pakistan has gone through leaps and bounds and Pakistan is now making over Rs. 7000 Crore from this industry alone’, affirmed Perwani. He concluded his talk with encouraging words, which met a thundering applause, ‘Not even my father believed that I could become a fashion designer, but I proved him wrong’.

The next speaker, Nargis Lateef, shared her journey of a unique social enterprise, Gul Bahao (flow the flowers), that uses garbage to create houses, water reservoirs, fodder for livestock, and instant compost. Inspired by James Watt’s steam engine, Nargis Lateef stood by her ideology that the next industrial revolution would come through simple and affordable technologies that address the problem of waste management. She believed that the world as we know it, no longer favors the conventional; hence it falls on dynamic thinkers, and doers - the movers and shakers of a society—to step forward and set odd defying precedence.


The conference kept the audience engaged with musical breaks in between which consisted of some brilliant performances by talented individuals. Also, staying true to the theme of the conference, a beautiful piece of poetry was performed by two girls. With the next person, Fatima Zara Mallick, stepping on stage, TEDxIBA succeeded in becoming a platform for odd-defying Pakistanis, to come forth and share their stories, to inspire the audience, and to eventually bring about momentous positive change through their alternative choices. Fatima Zara Mallick, CEO at FZM Boutique Fitness and Fashion and Branding Consultant, shared how most of us are on a constant quest for physical perfection. She insisted on breaking the stereotypes of obsession with certain body types by challenging conventionally held notions and perceptions.

One of the most impactful speakers of the night and the CEO of Kashf Foundation, Sadaffe Abid, expressed her unease in life when she realized that her work was not making a difference. It all started when she joined a start-up giving micro loans to women. When she became a social entrepreneur, she thought that 100s of women would reach out to their organization, but the reality was on the contrary. ‘I realized that women underestimated themselves’, insisted the brain box of Kashf Foundation, Abid. She explained the metamorphosis in her journey where slowly women started coming forward making the first sustainable micro finance company, Kashf Foundation, a successful company serving over 300,000 plus women.

Nida Khan, Clinical Psychologist, spoke about the realities of depression and the different mediums of enabling us to connect more expressively and deeply. She skillfully whipped up her talk around music and art, imparting ideas worth spreading with her intellectual discourse. She did true justice to her topic ‘5 minutes of happiness’. The final and the most awaited talk by Jibran Nasir, Lawyer and Activist, was truly the most heartfelt and one of a kind discussion, which sparked intense emotions. He read a thought provoking letter for the children of our nation, as he remembered the martyrs of the APS tragedy.

Tokens of appreciation were handed out to each and every speaker by the organizing team members of TEDx IBA. This was followed by an exuberant musical performance by the band Nishtar Park, earning them a big round of applause. The TEDx IBA ended with people walking out with minds racing and a rebirth of ideas.