The British University in Dubai organises its fourth TEDx Talk event

Diversity matters

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD) organized its fourth TEDx Talk at the Radisson RED Hotel in Silicon Oasis with the theme ‘Diversity matters’. Six speakers representing staff and students discussed various issues surrounding diversity, sharing their personal experiences and unique perspectives.

Professor Abdullah Alshamsi, BUiD’s Vice Chancellor, welcomed the audience and said, “We are very proud to organise our fourth TEDxTheBritishUniversityinDubai. We at BUiD believe strongly in disseminating knowledge and we share the same goals as the TED organisation of spreading worthy ideas. We hope that through this event we are able to challenge conventional thinking and inspire change.”

With this fourth event, BUiD continues its commitment to playing a meaningful role by engaging the local community and wider society with thought-provoking ideas.

Our first speaker Ma Althea Retig, a student in the BSc Computer Science- AI, talked about herself as being a Third Culture Kid (TCK). She highlighted the challenge of losing touch with cultural roots, notably through a language mix-up.  In her talk, she encouraged TCKs to nurture their roots and embrace their unique composition in the diverse garden of life.

In her talk, ‘Unveiling the Mosaic of Education’, Dr Nahia Mourad, Assistant Professor at The Faculty of Engineering and IT, encouraged students to understand their minds and potential to choose their education and career paths based on their capabilities and interests, rather than following the crowd or latest trends.

Sara Al-Dbaisi, a student in the Bachelor of Law programme, discussed how the root of gender discrimination lies within a household because parents tend to prioritize their son’s well-being and education over their daughters.

In her talk ‘Why Discrimination Is an Inside Job’, Dr Ashmiza Mohamed Ismail, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Business and Law, shared her personal quest on how she was trapped in a state of internalised discrimination and the struggles she went through. She talked about the power of perspective and reframing thoughts, one that brought her out of the pity mindset and allowed her to prevail.

Drawing from her personal experiences as a cross-cultural individual with parents from diverse backgrounds, our student on the BSc Computer Science- AI, Vanessa Robinson Fernando’s talk ‘Culture Acceptance or Illusion? A Call to Shift Mind-sets underscores the challenges faced by those with multiple cultural identities, such as identity crises and societal pressures to conform.

Professor Christopher Hill, Professor at The Faculty of Education, concluded the event with his talk ‘Identity: an accident of place or a constructed space?’ Where he talked about our sense of identity and how it can stem from an attachment to a place, a label we have been given, a notion of what we should be. Over time, our identity becomes the thing we do, rather than the person we are. He argued that we need from time to time should try and step outside of these constraints and try to change our story.

The British University in Dubai is one of the region’s leading research-based universities not only providing world-class education for the past 20 years but also servicing the community through its commitment to training and research. BUiD is keen to contribute to the knowledge-based economy of the UAE and by organising events like TEDx, BUiD highlights the importance of sharing ideas and knowledge.

TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives.

TEDx is a programme of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks videos and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection.