intelligent optimism the other narrative keynote speech - PCRF Iftar - Dubai July 2012 by Rama Chakaki @rchakakiTuesday, March 26, 13Salaam Alaikum ladies and gentleman and ramadan mubarak to you all..I’d like to welcome you on behalf of our founder and CEO Steve Sosebee, and my fellow boardmembers to the UAE PCRF annual iftar. The UAE has shown our cause tremendous supportand for that we are eternally grateful. Over the years the UAE has hosted over ﬁfty children,delivered millions of dollars in medical care, and mobilized thousands of volunteer. I’d liketo extend a special thanks to Al Maktoum Foundation for their support this evening and lookforward to a long term partnership.id like to take 15 minutes of your valuable time to talk about Intelligent Optimism - a topic that might seem random, but if you bare with me, I will shareits relevance to ramadan, the PCRF and a healthy community.
Tuesday, March 26, 13I begin with a children’s story about happiness, illness and laughter. A court jester who’s jobis to tell jokes and provide entertainment appears in the king’s court, only to be banishedbecause the king was not happy.
Tuesday, March 26, 13he goes to search for happiness and only sees frowning, angry people and terrible news.
Tuesday, March 26, 13here I lie I have a tumor and you ask me wheres my sense of humor.. I’ve been very sick. I”mso tired of trying. I don’t feel like laughing, I just feel like crying."laughters buried deep within! laughters like a seedling waiting patiently to sprout. All ittakes is just a push to make it pop right out.. when i get sad or lonesome, or when i getdepressed, thats when i sing my loudest and dance my very best!"
Tuesday, March 26, 13The girl smiled.. then laughed..
Tuesday, March 26, 13Soon laughter leaped right out the window, growing louder as it ﬂew. It spread to everycorner. It ﬁlled up every space. Smiles popped up everywhere! Cant you feel one on yourface?Optimism is the tendency to anticipate the best possible outcome. Intelligent optimism is onegrounded in reality..It isn’t just in fairy tales..many psychology and self-help books preach it. i found over 70million pages on google.. andgoogle doesn’t lie! it is in our religion
ا654*ا ا(3210 %/."ه و ا,+*ا ا(& %$#"هTuesday, March 26, 13In the holy month is a time to reﬂect on the prophetic tradition.. rooted in intelligent optimism.prophet came at a time when the arab were waring and suffering from years of famine and indibrought change .. created a new narrative.. one of peace, love, harmony among religions, creatprosperous ummah. The prophet always smiled, greeted the young and old with peace and in tharshest times, maintained an optimistic outlook that propelled others to remain certain of chahave moved far from that reality.. "ه و ا,+*ا ا(& %$#"ه
Tuesday, March 26, 13in recent history.. the tragic events of Sep 11 divided the world and resulted in a stream ofpolitical media.. the US media embraced a defeating narrative about Arabs and muslims. Themessages were strong, the campaigns long lasting.. eventually the entire world bought into it.there was little room for other opinions on the matter..if you searched the web 5 years ago for “Arab, Muslim, Arab Children”.. the only results werenegative images and war propaganda. There was little to no room for the positive narrativeand its connection to our heritage.
9:;+( وا(+*م ا?<" >4+=0 <+"ا اوA2% BC*D #2نBCTuesday, March 26, 13our media bought into the international rhetoric and spent too much time defending ourpolitical stance, and adopting an externalized view of our situation.. it left room only forentertainment and forgetting there was another narrative.we have challenges - environment, employment, social, yet a lot of organizations addressingthem..
Tuesday, March 26, 13when it came to charities, the media elicited emotions of sadness and despair.. images thatleft viewers feeling hopeless and helpless.. the narrative was so weak, that most peopleresponded with money donations.. few volunteered their time, creativity, energy.
Tuesday, March 26, 13i imagined orphans and other children who needed help had fairy tale happy endings and allthose who helped them were super heroes.. and wanted to get others to see them this way..
plan bigTuesday, March 26, 13so i set out to change the narrative.. and found inspiration from the most successful socialenterprise in history..Mohamad PBUH did it and left us with a how-to manual through the Quran and Sunna and theprophetic tradition (al see rah).. drew inspiration from religion.. start small.. have a big vision
orient - educateTuesday, March 26, 13calls for education.. assumes everyone needs it..
reﬂectTuesday, March 26, 13reﬂect on nature.. and observe rituals in it
repeatTuesday, March 26, 13repeat rituals to conﬁrm values and remind the community of the common goal
communicate - ا(.:2لGD 0+:H Aإن اTuesday, March 26, 13use art to elevate spirits and reach the masses
celebrate & collaborateTuesday, March 26, 13observe in celebration.. reach everyone
Speak wellTuesday, March 26, 13relied on men and women of character and knowledge to speak the message..So we employed the same practices that religions.. the most successful social institutionsemployed..
Tuesday, March 26, 13and here I have to pause with gratitude to the woman who involved me in the pcrf.. ImanOdeh.. who’s looking glamours as usual will probably kill me for using it after the event.. hada vision to grow the uae chapter exponentially.. she bought into my approach.. and we set outto work...
Tuesday, March 26, 13we held countless volunteer training sessions
Tuesday, March 26, 13together and with the support of amazing volunteers in dubai.. our ﬁrst PCRF heroesemerged…
”32رH LM2N "ب “#0 ذيR(=*ل اD ٍTuesday, March 26, 13showing a digniﬁed.. powerful.. image.. being kids.. . yousef was certainly that
Tuesday, March 26, 13our children like bisan came to the uae for surgery.. but more importantly came to live theirage and show their beautiful childhood
ِ3َ2بU(W اXِ(ُوW ٍَ2تD ^]/َ2رU(َرض وَا<5`َفِ ا(4+ْ0 وَاW:َ 2وَاتِ واb( <4& اXِ> إِن ْ ْ Z ِ ِ ] ِْ ِ ْ َ ] ِ َْ ]Tuesday, March 26, 13there were moments where we forgot their disabilities..
1st DOUBLE AMPUTEE CERTIFIED SCUBA DIVER IN THE ARAB WORLDTuesday, March 26, 13some inspired thousands world wide...
Tuesday, March 26, 13khalil was featured in the christian science monitor, the national, blogs world wide.. arabia tvand many other networks.
Tuesday, March 26, 13started with 20 people and became a 400 person strong challenge
Tuesday, March 26, 13provided medical care to over 17 thousand children and spent hundreds of millions in dollarsof donated hours doing so..
Tuesday, March 26, 13Our leading hero and spokesperson is our founder and CEO, Steve Sosebee who representsthe PCRF so eloquently at events worldwide
Tuesday, March 26, 13Rap, spoken word and other artists, like Omar Offendum help us reach young audiencesworldwide through dedicating their time to our cause
Tuesday, March 26, 13Our most amazing public ﬁgures are our Patients. Here, the young Zain - ocular prosthesis isseen during an interview in Arabia TV
Tuesday, March 26, 13we involved everyone..this was not done without attention to reality.. optimism does not exclude realism.. our newfound image helped us attract many supporters, our children had teams of volunteers. thenumber of our doctors grew exponentially.. and when had sadness we dealt with itcollectively.. giving families room to grieve in dignity instead of using their images tosensationalize our messages
Tuesday, March 26, 13our work inspired others to adopt the intelligent optimistic narrative..over 9000 children from the most threatened neighborhoods in the west bank and fromrefugee camps in lebanon and jordan. Paces takes Palestinian children to competeinternationally in Australia and Sweeden.
collaborateTuesday, March 26, 13Nakhweh engages 9000 youth volunteers in blood drives, traffic management, and a rangeof other social and environmental causes.
communicateTuesday, March 26, 13A word of gratitude to my business partner who came up with the amazing tagline.. READY -AIM - INSPIRE... moving away from the “ready aim ﬁre” and laying the foundation of what theevent became.. a series of inspirations. optimistic and intelligent... 1000 attendees, andthousands of online participants from all over the world.. came together to hear stories ofpalestine, as we know it. Much credit goes to Ramzi Jaber for pulling off the amazing event;again he started as a PCRF volunteer.
وهc.d "+e(2% (*اfgdTuesday, March 26, 13and so the narrative is changing to one that is intelligent and optimistic ..we have challenges..our media is persistent on focusing on what doesnt exist or doest work..our religion compels us to do different.. tafaaalo bilk heir tajidooh
X% يc3N Bh Bb, c^N 27أTuesday, March 26, 13i leave you with a thought.. a request.. and prayer…imagine a news narrative dominated by stories of heroes, inspirations, achievements andovercoming challengesThe next time you watch TV, listen to the radio, read a magazine or see a billboard on thestreet, look for the heroes and role models.. look for the success stories of yourneighborhoods and communities.. and if theyre not there.. ask yourself, "what can I do tochange that?"May Allah support us all in changing the narrative for children in Palestine, Egypt, Iraq,Soumal, Tunis, Syria and everywhere else where children deserve fairy tale happy endings.Ramadan Kareem.