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!