YES Programs



Egyptian YES Alumna Selected as Official Reporter for TEDxYouth Leadership Conference

Fatma Younis At Tedx Youth Conference Alexandria November 2011

I’m Fatma Younis, YES Alumni 08-09 from Egypt. I participated in TEDxYouth@Alexandria. First let me introduce what’s TEDx. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TEDx, x = independently organized event, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. TEDx organizers across the globe hosted events for (and by) young people on November 19th. These events varied widely in size, format and theme, but they share a common vision: inspiring curiosity, igniting new ideas, empowering young leaders.

It started when a friend of mine told me about TEDxYouth and that I should apply. I was excited and eager to see those inspiring young people. My experience with TEDxYouth influenced me deeply. It’s amazing to see that youth can achieve what elders might not be able to achieve; they have the ambition and the desire for a happy peaceful world.They need only one chance to express themselves, to speak out and to achieve some of their dreams. TEDxYouth @Alexandria was the prefect chance for them. Some inspirational kids, teens, and adults shared their experiences, thoughts and dreams on that day.

As for my role, I was vice of Head of Media committee, and I was official reporter of the event. I was hosted in a TV show, where I talked about the event and the role of youth in Egypt. My role was contacting newspaper, magazines, TVs, radios and telling them about the event. Also, getting media sponsors and having deals with them. I was tweeting all day long.

November 19th, the first TEDxYouth@Alexandria, was far more than a normal day. It was a day full of enthusiasm and hope, and it was part of the TEDxYouthDay global movement. As a TEDxYouth@Alexandria team member, I arrived with the rest of our organizing crew at 8 AM, and all of us were smiling and full of energy. Around me were eyes shining with ambition and dreams for the day.

Our theme this year was “YOUth LEAD.” This theme was created with the thought that young people can achieve what elders are not always able to achieve, because young people possess the desire for a happy, peaceful world. TEDxYouth@Alexandria gave young people the chance to express themselves, and to speak out their dreams and how they hope to achieve them.

Before the event started, the excitement among the speakers and attendees was buzzing throughout the room. The program began, and it was amazing. Some of the speakers were particularly memorable to me:

1. Tarek Zidan presented one of the most entertaining ideas that I heard that day. He described the concept of “Kidzania” — a city of young people living an adult life, where kids take on adult-like roles in their own workplace, and receive payment through a currency called “Kidzu.”

2. The Asdaa Team is a group of deaf and hard-of-hearing youth between the ages of 7 and 16. They explained, “We hear with our eyes and talk with our hands. We believe that the success of one of us in our deaf community is a success for the whole community.” The Asdaa Team leads unique initiatives focused on enriching members of the deaf community’s lives. They work together as a team.

3. Thirteen-year-old Ahmed Nabil talked about “A flu worth catching.” This flu he was referring to was simply the concept of being happy. “Smile, sing songs that you like, and make new friends,” he emphasized. He believes that the key to happiness is to believe in a better future and to be thankful. 

4. Dr. Fadel Soliman, Director of the Cairo-based Bridges Foundation, stated that racism was the first sin in human history. He went on to discuss issues around race, color, and religion.

During the breaks, we got the chance to talk to the speakers, which we really enjoyed.

At the end of the day, the attendees divided into small groups for an activity called “Make a Difference.” Each group of attendees wrote down their shared dreams, hopes, and ambitions, after which one representative from the group presented their collective thoughts. This activity let us see that our dreams are achievable — all we need to do is keep working towards our dreams!


Photo courtesy Fatma Younis