Last Saturday, May 7 I was one of the lucky attendees of TedxAlAin which took place at the Municipality Theatre in Al Ain. When I first heard about the event I was immediately intrigued. I’ve never been to Al Ain, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. As soon as the bus pulled in to the city I knew I was in for a great experience. I was taken aback by the aesthetics of the city – in complete contrast to the fast paced lifestyle of cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Al Ain is scenic, green and relaxed. This beauty was a recurring theme in TedxAlAin. Speakers highlighted the significance of Al Ain in the UAE, and drew attention to what it could offer to the rest of the country.

Following on other independently-organized TED events, the notable speakers at TedxAlAin included: H.E. Mohammed Al Fahim, former CEO and honorary chairman of the Al Fahim Group, H.E. Mohammed Al Neyadi, Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Performance Management Sector with the Al Ain City Municipality, Ross Bradley, Senior Advisor at Mubadala and Strata CEO, as well as many others.

The event kicked off with a few inspiring words from one of the main organizers Sajjad Kamal, followed by a hilariously upbeat intro from MC Aida Al Busaidy.

The first few speeches focused on how far the UAE and Al Ain have come in the last 50 years. Pictures highlighted the transformation of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi from a desert with one school, attended by barefoot students, into the hub of business and technology that it is today.

Other themes covered were the importance of Emiratization, as highlighted by the non-Emirati speakers, and the forthcoming plans to increase Emiratis specializing in fields such as aerospace, technology, as well as other areas.

The event was a huge success and drew a diverse crowd from across sectors, bringing people together from across the Emirates to network and come up with creative ideas for the benefit of both Al Ain and the rest of the country.

As an expat, I felt a great surge of inspiration, seeing the pride that Emiratis have in Al Ain and the UAE, and how the community really comes together through events such as TedxAlAin to show off their amazing culture. Not only that, but the event really opened my eyes to the different exciting projects and plans ahead for the UAE. There are TED events happening all over the UAE, and I advise anyone and everyone to participate – you’ll leave inspired and with a fresh perspective on the efforts and ideas that are being implemented around you.