Teenagers inspired to change the world


Sarah Metzel

Senior Marwa Eltahir gives her TEDx Talk to a room full of eager listeners.

We live in a world that is constantly changing. Every day we wake up, and we are offered the chance to experience, interact with, and change the world. On Saturday, November 17th, teenagers from around the DC area gathered at the Gala Theatre in Washington, D.C. to talk about their passions. AHS senior Marwa Eltahir and junior Omnia Saed were two of the eight inspirational youth speakers at the event.

This event was part of TEDxYouthDay, a series of events that took place around the world coinciding with Universal Children’s Day. These events were designed to empower youth by inspiring them to pursue their dreams. The theme of the event was “Dream Big… then Do it!”

Eltahir kicked off the event as the first student speaker with her talk entitled “Sudan: A New Nation’s Path.” Having lived in the United States for most of her life, but with Sudanese parents and relatives, Eltahir offers a unique perspective on the conflicts there. She expertly explained the background of Sudan, and proceeded to detail the split between North and South.

“Our ambition and our greed are two sides of the same coin,” Eltahir said.

According to Eltahir, Northern Sudan has historically contained the government and the power. For years, the Northerners had been exploiting the Southerners because of the multitude of oil reserves in the Southern region. Eltahir emphasized that the only way for the Southerners to emancipate themselves was to engage in a Civil War against their oppressors.

“Violence was a necessary evil for the establishment of peace,” Eltahir said.

Eltahir mentioned the need for change. Bloodshed is unnecessary when diplomacy is an available option. To make this option available, changes need to take place in the way we view our neighbors.

“We need a call to action. We need to dream it, but most importantly we need to do it,” Eltahir said.

Relating it all back to the theme of the event, Eltahir encouraged the audience to take action when it comes to pursuing their interests. Whether it’s petitioning for a social cause, or simply doing homework – action is the only way it’s ever going to get done.

After an impressive start, the TEDx event proceeded with eight of additional teenage speakers from around the D.C. area. Various relevant topics were discussed: battling stereotypes, struggles of teenage immigrants, and animal cruelty.

The closing talk was given by AHS senior Omnia Saed. Entitled “A Generation of Change,” Saed’s talk was humorous and related well to those in the audience. Saed focused on how we are often seen as the “Generation of Technology,” and even at times the “Generation of Ignorance – socially connected via social networking sites, but kept in the dark about the issues that matter most. In her presentation, Saed displayed surveys she had conducted of AHS students that revealed our ignorance about issues such as International Leaders, World Politics and Human Rights.

Motivated to expand our generation’s knowledge about what matters most, Saed took action. She started #RealTalk, an online radio run for teens, by teens. Here, teenagers can state their mind, respond to the opinions of others, and gain some perspective on the world we live in. Saed’s talk left the crowd buzzing with excitement and motivated for change.

TEDxYouth reminds us that every morning we wake up, and we are offered a chance to change the world. Will you take that chance?