Sunday, March 06, 2011

TED 2011: Wadah Khanfar, Director General of Al Jazeera

This review was written by Nina Khosla.

Score: 9 balloons

Wadah Khanfar, the head of Al Jazeera, seemed to be a polarizing talk - many believed that his perspective was illuminating and Al Jazeera had played a crucial role in the extraordinary events taking place in the Middle East; and many others that the talk was a token attempt by TED to incorporate something, anything, about these world-changing events, and that the role of Al Jazeera was not particularly central to precipitating the occasion.

I personally fall somewhere in the middle: was Al Jazeera the thing that sparked a thousand revolutions? Absolutely not. Still, Al Jazeera sat with the cameras on, and embraced a new generation that, as Khanfar emphasized multiple times, effused a new set of "global values." According to Khanfar, this new generation created these revolutions, and sculpted a new view of the world to inspire their countrymen. Khanfar seemed to be enthralled with the word "connected," but not in the way we find ourselves captivated by this word in the west. This is a society that needs to present this new view of the world so that individuals can understand that they are not alone, but part of a movement of others embracing a new view of society. Al Jazeera took this and captured it on camera, sharing and perpetuating this view.

 See the Guide to TED Talks 2011.

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