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Bridging the gap.

"Once you surround yourself with the right people you will succeed," said Lana al Resheed, a Kuwaiti entrepreneur, from the TEDx Muscat Women podium prompting a murmur of agreement in the audience.

All the nine panelists who spoke on 'Building Bridges' at the TEDx Muscat Women conference held at Sheraton Oman Hotel on Saturday had an inspirational statement or two for the audience to take away. The nine panelists included H H Sayyida Mayya al Said, H H Sayyida Basma al Said, H H Sheikha Noora al Khalifa, Dalal Darwish, Lana al Resheed, Kami Lamki, Nisreen Ahmed Jaffer, Samiha al Shibani and Olympian Rohini Rau.

For Lana, who dabbled with success in telecom, the hotel industry and is now spearheading the PR team at Wataniya Airways, it's all about leaving behind an impactful legacy where it counts the most -- family and underprivileged human beings. "I reached success and didn't feel satisfied," said Lana, who at the peak of her success ventured into philanthropy and humanitarian work. She started bridging the gap by connecting charity networks and patrons who could fund humanitarian work. In the spirit of 'ideas worth spreading' that is the underlying principle of TEDx globally, she left the audience with yet anot-her powerful statement: "We're talking of bridges; you yourself are a bridge."

H H Sayyida Mayya, who is also a life coach at Whispers of Serenity clinic, spoke about how the choices we make as human beings can act as a bridge in itself. She added a personal touch by drawing from her background and the circumstances of her birth where she was born into two cultures. It was her choice to bridge the two diverse cultures that she was born into and it was also her choice to select which aspect of these cultures she wan-ted to highlight in her life. "It was not my choice to be born to a Omani father and French mother. But it was my choice to learn the four languages that shape me today."

Bridging laughter and medicine is an age-old idea that Hippocrates himself had spoken about as a positive technique that accelerates the process of healing. This is what Dr Rohini is doing in hospitals in Chennai where she and her team dress up as clowns while treating paediatric patients. Dr Rohini talked about medical clowning, which incorporates laughter therapy and performing arts into medicine to treat patients. It serves as a distraction tool by inducing a good and positive mood in the patient and diverting their attention from painful injections etc. "I am not a professional clown but I use laughter as a therapy in healing," said the young doctor who popped on a clown nose in between her talk.

If breaking gender bias and stereotypes that Kami spoke on resonated with the women in the audience, so did Samiha's educative bit on her skin condition ichthyosis. She motivated people to look beyond established perceptions of beauty.

The speakers understood the responsibility that comes with the TEDx platform and that's why they came prepared to leave an impact. They used innovative and fun techniques to rehearse for the same. In a light hearted chat at the press conference before the event, H H Sayyida Basma who was sassy and humorous in her address spoke about how she would record an idea whenever it would dawn even if it was at odd hours. While some practised in front of mirrors or at airports, or even talked to themselves, Nisreen rehearsed in empty conference halls at work.

At the end of the day, each session connected with participants through a combination of live storytelling and thought-provoking subject matter.

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Publication:The Week (Muscat, Oman)
Date:Nov 8, 2017
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