When we started to prepare for this event, we didn’t know how essential its theme would be for our community and the whole world. TEDxATU’s initial theme was “Hope and Responsibility”, an in-person event concerning social hope and social responsibility, but then we were hit by one of the biggest plot twists of our time; a pandemic.

Event Poster | Design: Javier Jaén ©

By discussing desires, aspirations, and visions of society, we also bring the issue of each person’s mutual co-existence as a member of a particular society into the light. This desirable living condition has different exigencies, but the most important ones are “Development” and “Happiness”: Development and happiness are vital factors of a satisfactory life. They are rooted deep inside every human being. However, we can’t ignore that the surrounding environment and society’s conditions and qualifications can affect them.

Now, we believe that the development of a society is more of a matter of the “inside” than something heavily dependent on our outside set-up and that it needs the effort of each member of the aforementioned society to strive for personal development.; this effort itself needs a belief to be fostered inside people: To believe in “Social Responsibility”. The kind of responsibility that each member feels to be necessary concerning the other members and makes an effort to act upon it.

And to meet this belief, we need “Hope”, specifically, hope for amelioration. It is hope which gives birth to responsibility, and responsibility itself, makes way for development, and it is that which results in welfare and a society favorable to the majority.

We changed our theme to “Hope and Responsibility, Lockdown Edition”. The two survival methods of this challenging time. We leaned on each other through hardships and struggled to make this event possibly the best it can be during these stressful times. Not to give hope but to remind each other what we can look forward to and therefore be hopeful about. To remind each other that by being more responsible, we can save lives and make the world seem more promising for all.

Our Teaser

Though it might not be apparent at first glance, our speakers’ talks are all tied together with a string of hope and responsibility. A collection of 8 speakers, including leaders, teachers, and activists who not only were hopeful, but they pursued it and then created hope for others. They stayed responsible and advised others to do so well.

The audience watched us from home | Photo: Adel Montazeri

To ensure our team’s and speakers’ health while Tehran was infested with Covid-19, we decided to pre-record TEDxATU talks. To keep the event lively and fresh, we decided TEDxATU must be hosted live.

Despite TEDxATU, we were only the fourth TEDx event in Iran to be held online. Fortunately, we were able to organize a well-put-together event that was not only informative, full of great ideas, but also a cushion of hope for the comfort of our TEDxers. We were able to receive great feedback from participants who enjoyed our event.

TEDxATU started with Mohsen Iraji’s talk. A passionate, memorable, loving, and intelligent Physics and Astronomy Teacher who has worked on many brilliant projects in the Khwarizmi Awards, published many scientific articles.

His talk titled “Physics and Beyond” touches upon his own story of coming across his field of interest and the educational system.

Our next talk was given by Dr. Mostapha Kalami Heris, founder and CEO of the biggest virtual learning platform in Iran, Faradars. He talked about a problem close to almost every nation’s heart, education. His talk titled “Learning skills and skill learning”, shone a light on education nowadays.

One of my favorite talks was Mehran Davari’s with “Geography of Hope”. Mehran Davari completed his graduate studies in Iaasc and founded the Tehran Platform. With his innovative and urban-friendly ideas, he talked about his current project, ‘Masir-e Zendegi”, which translates into the Path of Life.

Ramin Rabii | Photo: Amir Azizi

Ramin Rabii is a known face when it comes to financing. It might come to people’s surprise to see a man as successful as Ramin, being the CEO of Turquoise Partners, believes in miracles. In his talk, “70th Minute”, he reminds us of an old football match between Iran and Australia, which resulted in Iran miraculously scoring a goal at the 70th minute and therefore getting into the world cup after 20 years! A talk not only about a miracle but also about hope and how it comes to be.

Next up, we had Dr. AmirHossein Takian with his informative talk on “Hopes and Fears of Public Health in Pandemic”. Dr. Takian is a health policy scholar, and his concern was people’s mentality when confronting an unknown death-threatening virus. His talk was a necessity for our event and a must-watch.

Our next speaker was Afsaneh Ehsani, an ecotourism activist who shared her concerns about the collective interest going against individual interest. Her talk, “House Number 138”, follows her experience of renovating an old historic house located at Qazvin.

Esmaeil Azarinejad is a children’s literature advocate and also a cleric. He travels from a village to another to popularize the habit of reading. The narrative used in his talk “The Darkness Around” is the same narrative he uses while story-telling. That’s what makes it so humane and close to our hearts.

Dr. Alinaghi Mashayekhi | Photo: Amir Azizi

Last but not least, Dr. Alinaghi Mashayekhi talked about “The Root of Hope”. Dr. Mashayekhi is a well-known professor who finished his studies and research and returned to Iran to return to his country. His reputation in Academia is a testimony to his intelligence and his extraordinary contributions. In his talk, he talks about the root of hope, love.

TEDxATU would have been impossible if it wasn’t for the fantastic sponsors that supported us in our journey through hope and responsibility.

Perhaps the essential inquiry when organizing an event is a streaming platform and a proper studio. I would like to thank Aparat.com here for their undeniable and unforgettable support. Aparat.com is the biggest video sharing website in Iran and, without a doubt, the best platform for our event.

Homa Hotel Group were great hosts to our speakers that traveled far to attend. Thank you for your support, your welcoming arms, and hospitality. With the generous help of Homa Hotel Group, we can take a step for our community.​

With the event being held online, the visual aspects of TEDxATU were one of the essential assets of it. For that, I would like to thank Kebrit Studio. They kept us with their creativity, art, and, most importantly, their support.

Siavash and I, Behind the scenes of the live event | Photo: Amir Azizi

Thankfully, with our host, Siavash Saffarianpour, we got to insert liveliness and the enthusiasm that usually comes with an in-person event quite easily and bring life to TEDxATU.

I would like to thank our brilliant team, especially Ghazal, my patient and enthusiast co-organizer, to make the process of organizing this event easier than I could have ever imagined. I should mention Erfan, Amir, Ala, and Ali; thank you for being a part of an experience I won’t ever forget.

Recording Day | Photo: Studio Kebrit

All in all, thank you! As we approach the end of a year unlike any other, I would like to appreciate the little moments we felt hope and in the hope to stay in our happy place, we were responsible for our lives and everyone else’s. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to spread the ideas that were worth spreading.

Education & Technology Enthusiast