NewThink Theater: Infecting Jordan with the virus of positive action [with VIDEO]

14/3/2010

Here’s something that keeps Jordan interesting: there is always someone or some group initiating something. Regional politics might be depressing. Local politics too. The economy is not doing great. There are setbacks, deterioration, and the “I don’t care” attitude all around us. But at the same time, someone is launching a new initiative.. startup.. band.. exhibition.. website..

One of these initiatives that I have been really excited about recently is the NewThink Theater, initiated by Maher Kaddoura, one of the most energetic and positive people I’ve ever met. He is known by many in Jordan for how his family’s personal loss set him onto the path of social acton. He started the highly successful Hikmat Road Safety initiative, which has, so far, succeeded in effecting real change in the safety of Jordan’s roads, especially at school crossings, contributing to the impressive reduction of road fatalities in Jordan over the past year.

But Maher didn’t stop there. An entrepreneur by nature, he started thinking bigger. Why not infect the whole country with a virus! A virus that turns Jordan from the Land of Talk to a Land of Action. A virus that counters the illness of “can’t be done”, “play it safe” and “not my problem”.

The result was the NewThink Theater. A stage and an event. Inspiration. Information. Entertainment. Networking. A pretty powerful formula that combines several elements from the inspiring talks of the now famous TED Talks, the power of networking at successful global conferences and a good dose of artistic entertainment to keep everything moving and colorful.

The ‘beta test’ was a few months ago with a limited audience in a hotel ballroom, complete with bad sound and presentations running for too long (like mine for example :-) . Maher told the audience straight to the faces: “today we’re here to screw up, so bear with us. We’re testing things”.

But, boy, has the NewThink Theater developed when the time came for the official launch, held last month at the Al Hussein Cultural Center in Ras Al Ein. On stage was an amazing mix of Jordanian talent, humor, entrepreneurship and initiative. The theater was buzzing with energy.

The surprise of the evening was Sanaa Abdo. She’s a company trainer I’ve never heard of before. She just exploded with energy and passion on the stage delivering an amazing performance about her idea of Zero Budget Happiness. It’s a sermon many of us in Jordan need to hear.

Even if you missed the NewThink Theater last month, here is the good news. The virus will be spread online too. NewThink’s videos are now available on Ikbis (I spent the weekend uploading them all!).

For a taste of the videos, I am including Sanaa’s video below. But there is much more on Ikbis, including a great interview of Ghassan Nuqul, JoBedu T-shirts, Wael Liddawi singing for Hashem restaurant, Mustapha Tabbaa’s predictions of Jordan 2030 and more.

Check out the videos. Spread the virus. Tell your friends!

5 Comments

  1. Tamar says:

    The man is an opportunist who has been trying to use his money to impose himself as a spokesperson of Jordan’s social activists. He invites accomplished activists then gives them lectures on how to be accomplished activists. Then takes lots of photos, then claims their successes are somehow related to his initiatives. People such as this guy don’t create, they just takes credit. It’s a new and annoying phenomena. In the past, government ministers took credit for things they had no control over and hand contributed nothing to. But now we have private citizens with lots of money playing this annoying game.

  2. Dalia says:

    sounds good – the Jordanian community could used a bout of infectious positivity.. I’ll check out the videos on Ikbis..

    just a quick note to let you know that for some reason, I can’t watch videos on your blog posts through my reader.. this is not the first time..

  3. Nadeen says:

    Im absolutely ecstatic with all the cool stuff popping around Jordan recently. There is no doubt in my mind that this new positive attitude will catch on and take Jordan by storm. What an wonderful post this is. Thank you for sharing Ahmad :)

  4. مجهولٌ says:

    interesting. liked her positivity. and the idea of newthink is definitely nice.

    she contradicts with what a TEDtalk is trying to teach:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/srikumar_rao_plug_into_your_hard_wired_happiness.html

    and i thought i heard somethins about past and future; isn’t that Sri Sri Ravashankar? or maybe others beliefs’?

    anyway, good talk.. hmmm maybe average talk.. in TEDtalk ratings “OK”

  5. Anon says:

    Nuqul guys are one of the very few doing some real service back to their community, and most of the time it is not PR stunts, I salute them for that.
    Though one note is that many of their loyal and old timers are feeling injustice, as after their split and handing over the buisness to two guys, they kept the old timers salary the same and hired new cool guys for salaries more than the old staff. Imagine a 12-15 yrs exp getting as much as a 2-4 years chick whose most qualifications are her tattoo and nostril ring.

    All nice talk and initiative, but seriously, what is the use? What is the use of the hundred Irada,Ijaza,Reyada,Mawareed,tadeem,reyada, etc etc etc……
    Show us the accomplishments and their impact on the local community.

    A nice competition or lucture by the center of enternpurership, fund,ejabi,energy,ICT is a waste of money

    It is just the old same game, a bunch of big fished controlling everything, never letting the small fish take any chance. Anyone talking on how to fix our regulations and streamlining everything? Of course not, because everyone got someone to pull them a string here and there.
    Just thinking about how much this little gather cost? Could have made some few kids happy instead. Jordan is not ready for real development and not interested too.

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