Ian-Khanby Ian Khan

Being one of the privileged speakers at TEDx Wilmington 2016, I am deeply honored to have been chosen to speak about my topic.

As I gather myself from being selected to speak at TEDx Wilmington and start distilling my talk, I have also begun to think deeply about my life experiences and what shapes us as people.

With a history that goes back to 3000 BCE, I was born in one of the most beautiful places on earth—Kashmir, a region that was cherished by sages, saints, kings and mystics… a region poets called, “a piece of heaven on earth,” because of its sheer beauty and attraction. My people are happy, kind, considerate and known to be simple, passionate hard workers. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the region got invaded by countless number of conquerors, starting from Alexander the Great to the Mughals. But alas, good things do not last forever. Yet another turmoil boiled and India and Pakistan, two divided nuclear powers, wanted an equal share of the region. What follows next is a tale of destruction, devastation and the deaths of over 50,000 innocent Kashmiri people.

As I think more about the opportunity at TEDx and to tell my story from the context of a human toll that wars have, I also want to speak about what happens when “hell breaks loose in heaven.” Even learning to put the talk together and to learn the format of TEDx and really do a stellar job at it, I have sought help from my wife, who is now helping me realize the sheer power and transformative effect of my TEDx talk, not on the broader world, but first off, on me.

I am also working with a speaker coach to help distil my thoughts in a clear and precise manner so that I can deliver my talk in a clear, concise and powerful way to audiences. As I prepare for 10 minutes on the TEDx platform, I am starting a journey of knowing myself better more than anything else. I am hoping I can inspire attendees to look at life in a different way.

This series of blogs captures the firsthand reactions of the speakers who were selected (from a field of more than 100 applicants) to give talks at the TEDxWilmington Conference on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at the World Cafe Live at the Queen. Tickets are on sale here.