Khaterah Parwani

Original article written for TEDxKEA, available here

A Lifetime Battle to Fight for The Right to Freedom and Independence

Violence against women is a major hindrance to the development of our societies. Whilst measures and organisations are in place to attempt to overcome this problem, many focus on helping the victims and not on nipping the problem at the bud; namely men who indulge in acts of violence against their spouses. Add context to this within the frame of the society in which we live in, here in Denmark, and you will find that violence against women of ethnicities other than Danish tends to be both more common and harder to uproot.

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Khaterah Parwani is the vice-chair, legal adviser and ambassador of the Exit Circle, an organisation that engages victims of physical violence, social control, bullying and radicalism in a dialogue. A victim of violence herself, both in childhood and adulthood, Parwani has spent the last few years channelling all her time and energy into helping those deprived of the rights to freedom and independence, using her background in law and a deep-seeded passion to make a difference in the lives of others.

Parwani’s work also focuses on the brothers and fathers involved in the circle of violence and social control. Understanding the underlying social circumstances that explain why, for example, the percentage of uneducated or unemployed men with Muslim backgrounds is as high as it is represents a key point of focus for Parwani: “It is harder to become integrated or accepted in Denmark when you are a brown man with a Muslim name than when you are a woman. A lot of these men feel marginalised.” Similarly, over and above violence and the need to understand why it happens, Parwani is of the opinion that it is more important to comprehend and work at disrupting mechanisms of social control and cultural radicalisation amongst minority societies.

An ardent debater and orator, Parwani has represented her views across numerous media such as The BBC, Der Spiegel, TV2 news, DR1 and Radio 24/7.

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Denmark’s First University TEDx Inspires & Educates

Original Article for The Local Denmark, available here

 

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Technology, Entertainment, Design; TED – an acronym that many readers are no doubt familiar with. Founded in 1984, the TED brand operates on the maxim “ideas worth sharing” and usually consists of elaborate, well -prepared talks that are often filmed and unleashed to an eager online public. A powerful communication platform, it has branched off into numerous worldwide franchises operating under the TEDx banner, with the “X” denoting events that fit under the TED umbrella but are independently organized.
Paradigm shifts
TEDx KEA, Scandinavia’s first ever university TEDx franchise, brought a wave of inspiration and knowledge to the city on Thursday at the Nørrebro campus of the Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA).
Featuring a main event at the adjacent Empire cinema and a live stream inside the campus (and to a worldwide audience) TEDx KEA ‘Emerge’ aimed to unite businesses and local leaders in the fight for a better tomorrow, provoked and emboldened by the up and coming talent of our generation.
Within this frame, speakers ranging from industry heavyweights such as author and serial entrepreneur Lars Tvede to Syrian refugee and women’s rights activist Noura Bittar Søborg gave TED talks that touched on a broad spectrum of topics. The latter received a standing ovation at the end of a compelling talk that told the epic tale of a struggle against violence in a war-torn nation, proposing a change to the status quo with verve and indefatigable emotion.
Others took a less serious, albeit compelling form – as was the case with sports marketing guru Stefan Pflug, who decried the short attention spans of internet-based information consumption. From fashion psychology (Manou Messman) to the need for a better understanding of social entrepreneurship (Lars Hulgård), each of the ten talks given during the course of the day told a personal story that merged with a call to arms within various subject material, asking questions of the manner in which we as a society operate.
More to come
For franchise holder Doug Costello and a massive crew involved in everything from speaker scouting to live stream recording and rhetorical training, the day represented the culmination of many months of hard work and a learning experience for future events of the same kind under the TEDx KEA banner.
The ten talks from the day will be edited and put online at some point, in itself a demanding task, but one that prolongs its longevity as a source of knowledge and inspiration for years to come.

Final Speaker Announcement: Manou Messman

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Original article written for TEDxKEA, available here

TEDx KEA has spoken of numerous ideas, which embrace an ethos that wishes to push the boundaries of innovation and creativity to a higher level. The final speaker that we are thrilled to announce is an incredible woman who, like many of the other distinguished speakers, has fought tooth and nail to end up where she is today. Similarly, a significant part of her beliefs is challenging the established notions by which we currently live.

For as long as she can remember, Manou has had an unshakeable fascination with fashion; specifically in how and with what intent people dress the way that we do. Despite a dominance of the fashion industry, dictating the social narrative, Manou has witnessed that many of those working within it are shockingly unaware of the needs of their consumers.

“Outfits are first and foremost a means of expressing oneself. There is an underlying psychology of complex individual needs at play that is not being addressed by those with the power of controlling the fashion industry,” Manou says.

Seeking a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanics of getting dressed in the morning, Manou excelled in a Masters of Communication and Psychology from Roskilde University, specialising in fashion psychology.

Bitten by the fires of the entrepreneurial drive, Manou is leaving the safety net of her job at the Ministry of Finance, pursuing her dream of building a business that educates the fashion industry to the true needs of this generation.

“There is a difference between what is produced by the fashion industry and the needs of individual consumers within it”.

A large part of this is due to the industry itself, so intent on pushing boundaries; with new lines and new styles coming out faster than we can try them on. This innovation for the sake of it leaves little time to acquire the capacity to understand the fundamental needs of the people that they serve.

“Many of them […] lack a broader understanding of the complex psychological demands that their customers have, and are unaware of how to address them.”

What follows is, in many cases, production simply for the sake of it, with very little long term vision. For this reason, many associate fashion with allegories of unsustainable practice and a lack for concern for the broader problems of mankind. Things need to change.

Revolutionising the fashion industry in this manner is no small task. But Manou doesn’t buckle under the pressure of facing the impossible.

A loving mother to Nomi and Alba, children born under exceptionally difficult circumstances due to pregnancy complications, Manou has overcome many a struggle to get to where she is. Coldly informed by doctors that she could not bear children, Manou refused the words “it’s not possible”. She laboured through several long, hard months and successfully conceived two healthy children, a boy and a girl. With her family happily settled in a small town not too far from Roskilde, Manou is now ready for the next big challenge of her life.

It is time to re-think the fashion industry, and the time to redefine what is normal. It is time for a new generation to emerge.

See you on December 11th.

Speaker Announcement: Natasha Friis Saxberg

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Interconnectedness, globalisation, movement – all of these are buzzwords of our millennium and a focal point within the TEDxKEA narrative. Humanity took its time getting to where we are today, yet we still have a long way to go. The process of innovation, however, can and needs to be quicker and more effective, according to Natasha Friis Saxberg.

A globetrotter and a tech-frontrunner, Natasha has lived on three continents and has been exposed to many different cultures throughout her lifetime. Pursuing meaning on a global and human level rather than merely a local one has therefore become a mantra for her.

Natasha kicked off her career working within the art and craft industry, showing entrepreneurial guile to open her first business at the tender age of 18. Her talent and understanding of the industry paved the way for early success as a garment designer – but an economic recession had other plans for her. Forced to abandon her business and devoid of a strong academic foundation to fall back on at the time, Natasha’s instincts led her to pursue an education as a systems engineer in 1997.

Natasha saw huge potential in the Internet in its early years, which “back then was about establishing servers and networks; making sure that people could communicate”. The young systems engineer rose quickly through the ranks – swiftly ascending to the position of operations manager for the Danish rail company, DSB S-Tog.

Operationalizing information technology within a company such as DSB, whose clientele is extremely diverse, was not without its challenges, and neither was being a forerunner for the arguments in favour of providing Internet services to commuters. Her ideas, whilst impressive, were too premature for many of her bosses and colleagues. Natasha left the company with her wits about her and valuable experience in the bag, whilst her efforts would soon prove to be instrumental in bringing the personalised Internet communication experience that Danish transportation companies are renowned for today.

Since then, she has gone from strength to strength and is now the anchor of the increasingly popular television show “Tech and the City”, based in bustling New York. She has also authored several books, and plays leading advisory roles in various capacities within the tech industry.

Currently an industry icon with a knack for trendspotting and tech-savvy swag, crafted from years of hard and passionate work within the digital sector, Natasha feels that we need to go back to our roots when it comes to innovation:

“If you only innovate based on the symptoms of a need, as opposed to the actual need, it will take a long time before we optimise humanity”. Building on this, Natasha’s speech will focus on the creation of value in society, based on an anthropological approach to understanding human needs, rather than merely through changes to what is already being done.

Brace yourselves for a talk from one of the most talented professionals within the tech sector, an exceptionally creative individual with a doctorate from the school of real-life experiences. Natasha Friis Saxberg will motivate you to perceive the world in a different light, by focusing on the future through visionary thinking, as opposed to creating incremental change by reproducing the past.