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Jordanian entrepreneur invited to world’s leading idea exchange festival

By Camille Dupire - Jun 27,2018 - Last updated at Jun 27,2018

Attendees of the Aspen Ideas Festival take part in a group session in Aspen, Colorado (Photo courtesy of the Aspen Institute/Riccardo Savi)

AMMAN — “In sharing stories, we connect, as people, as a community, and as a world,” said Jordanian entrepreneur Dina Saoudi, as she took part in the Aspen Ideas Festival, one of the world’s leading public events held in Aspen, Colorado.

Organised by the Aspen Institute in partnership with The Atlantic, the Aspen Ideas Festival gathers leaders from around the globe who present and discuss ideas that both “shape lives and challenge our times,” according to its website.

An entrepreneur and a mother of two, Saoudi was recently invited to take part in the global event, where she shared her personal journey as the co-founder of Seven Circles and its philantropic branch Seven’s World.

Between June 21 and 30, Saoudi was among some 3,000 participants who participated in lectures, debates and one-on-one interviews on a wide variety of subjects such as health, science, the economy, geopolitics, among many others.

“The energy here is incredible. Leaders from all around the world are sharing ideas on how to make our world kinder,” Saoudi told The Jordan Times, stressing “ideas coming forward here are bringing innovative, creative and breakthrough solutions to solve the world’s biggest problems”.

Bringing together some 450 presenters in around 400 sessions, the 10-day annual festival aims to “create a stimulating and invigorating convocation that links some of the foremost thinkers with civically-minded leaders in business, the arts, politics, sciences, humanities, and philanthropy, who share ideas, raise challenging questions, and inspire thought to action”, the organisers stated.

Public officials such as British politician and head of the International Rescue Committee David Milliband, famous actor Rene Auberjonois and CEO of the American Cancer Society Gary Reedy were among the hundreds of invitees who provided insights into the many questions citizens of the world struggle with nowadays.

 “As a person bustling with ideas, I sometimes refrain from sharing them because I worry about overwhelming the listener or losing focus on what I am working on. However, I learned here that ideas matter and that even if I don’t end up implementing them and someone who heard me ends up doing that — then the world benefits.”

Encouraging everyone to share their ideas and for other people to “steal” them, she said “we are all in this together, so anyone who makes a constructive idea a reality ends up building a kinder world, which is our collective goal”. 

“I don’t believe that the idea generator and the implementer necessarily have to be the same person. Rather, I think we should all share, be open and trust that all will happen as it is meant to,” she concluded.

The entrepreneur was nominated to take part in the event by Emile Cubeisy, managing director of Silicon Badia, one of the largest venture capital in Jordan.

Alongside the festival, the Young Adult Forum was established, welcoming youth between the ages of 14-24 for “an interactive and inspiring” gathering including presentations, small group discussions, performances and panels under the theme “Amplifying Youth Voice”.

Giving them a chance to engage with other youth and world-class speakers from the Aspen Ideas Festival stage, the event explores “big questions while empowering youth to build relationships and network with one another as well as with known advocates who have turned their passions into purpose”, according to the organisers. 

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