Resorts have long offered presentations to their guests often on marine biology and sometimes on Maldivian culture, and some have extended these to featured guest presenters on topics as diverse as cuisine and wellness. Soneva Fushi features a distinctively rich slate of guest artists and authorities. It’s website presently features 36 upcoming special guests! But it has hit a new high water mark producing the first event TEDx event in the Maldives.
TED is the now famous conference on “Technology, Entertainment, Design” renowned for exceptionally high quality presentations (all strictly limited to 18 minutes) by some of the most renowned and talented experts and speakers in the world. The TEDx events are smaller conferences run around the world “organized by passionate individuals who seek to uncover new ideas and to share the latest research in their local areas that spark conversations in their communities.”
TEDxBaaAtoll could also be TED’s first ever TED event on a beach! Certainly first on loungers. Titled “TEDxBaaAtoll: SLOW LIFE” . “SLOW LIFE” is Soneva’s acronymic mission statement described by them as “our core purpose and stands for Sustainable – Local – Organic – Wellness Learning – Inspiring – Fun – Experiences…It is about reconnecting with oneself and the natural world.” The event synopsis describes the event as…:
- “focusing on ways to find a deeper purpose beyond the superficial: reconnecting with the earth to live in harmony with the natural environment; working hand-in-hand with communities to make the world a better place; and nurturing our physical and mental wellbeing to be the very best we can be
Here was the line-up of special speakers and subjects:
- Aishath Adnan – “I saw none, so I built one: women in the tech community”: An active advocate for women in tech, she also co-founded the non-profit organisation Women in Tech Maldives.
- Aki Allahgholi – “Time for Corals”: founded Coralive.org in 2016 to fully serve an eco-minded holistic approach to restore and protect a healthy ocean. He described the pragmatic approach to reef regeneration of experimenting in many ways and see what works.
- Akib Jahir – “Zero Mosquito, Zero Fogging”: Passionate entomologist, avid mosquito hunter pioneering the way towards an integrated method sustainable mosquito management. Described a mosquito trap to 113k mosquitos in the first month. Only 5% of food supply to predators (birds, bats, dragonflies) who eat them.
- Bruce Bromley – “Why every CFO should also be Chief Sustainability Officer” – Trustee for the Soneva Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation focused on mitigating the impacts of climate charge. Makes coherent argument that a good CFO is focused on “resource allocation” to build value for the future so that a sustainability mindset drive understanding, appreciating, and investing in all resources – financial, natural, human, social. I particularly applauded his exhortation to shift from thinking of “waste” as a “bye-product” [sic] to “waste as an asset” (and Soneva has been pioneering in this area with extensive recycling initiatives.
- Carissa Nimah – “Do Job Titles Matter”: Worked for some of the world’s top luxury brands, and is personally motivated by creativity, purpose and ethical business. “Corporate and conventional job titles have lost their meaning in today’s work places.” Couldn’t agree more. My reports would ask me what their title was and I often responded that they could call themselves the “Grand Poobah of Whatever” as far as I was concerned.
- Hussain ‘Sendi’ Rasheed – “Why Seaweed is not a weed” – Region’s first ever PADI-certified Course Director, he also pioneered many of the country’s diving standards, and is researching the benefits of using the ocean’s resources sustainably through his farming. A local diving veteran who shared his perspectives from over three decades of exploring the Maldives reefs.
- Malsa Maaz – “The human story behind the glass cabinet”: Cultural anthropologist passionate about Maldivian culture exploring the coconut culture of the Maldives. “Coconut is our national tree. The tree of life…What can you do with a coconut tree? Everything.” Also, brilliant trivia question fun fact: Dhivehi is one of the only languages in the world that doesn’t have a word for “city”, “village” or “town” (but there is a word for every single part of the coconut tree and every part of the coconut fruit). A great sales pitch for “Cultural Anthropology” – “It is an amazing feeling to know who you are. It is an amazing feeling to know where you come from.”
- Saazu Saeed – “Nothing else matters but the Ocean”: Advocate for ocean conservation and women in surfing. A colourfully immersive depiction of the feeling of the water.
- Yala Shameem – “The future of school”: Youth activist for environmental conservation and the phasing out of single-use plastics.