E47: How to Become A Licensee for A TEDx Event at Your City and The Inspirational Story for Birth of TEDx in Baghdad & Erbil – Part 1 – Interview with Yahay Alabdeli

Yahay Alabdeli

(The Founder and Licensee of TEDx Baghdad and TEDx Erbil)

Yahay Al Abdeli on Be Efficeint Tv with Ahmed Al Kiremli (1)

What’s is the Difference Between TED and TEDx? How to Become A licensee for TEDx in a Specific City? Do you Need to Pay any Fee to become a Licensee for TEDx in your City?  TEDx Events are Free or Paid events?

The Main struggles to bring TEDx to Iraq? and the Inspiring Story of Yahay Al Abdeli and the Birth of TEDx Baghdad and Erbil

Video Interview

With English and Arabic Subtitle



TEDxBaghdad is initiated by Yahay Alabdeli, an Iraqi refugee who lives in Amsterdam. His life story is an impressive one. Both sad and optimistic. At the first meeting of the project group for TEDxBaghdad Yahay tells us about his life.

Start of Iran-Iraq War Yahay Alabdeli moved from Iraq in 1979, when he was only 4 years old. His family lost everything in just a few hours. Yahay tells: “My mother picked me up from school. We saw soldiers in the streets. They took everything, including my father. My father, a businessman, was supposed to have a meeting on the ECONOMIC future of Iraq. This meeting was supposed to take half an hour. It became 6 months. They took him to prison. They left my mother, my brother (who was 1 year old) and me (4 years) behind. They told my mother to go to her parents. So we did.”

“One evening two men came to the door. They said to my mother that she needed to prepare her two kids for a trip. They wanted to take us to our father in prison, because boys are supposed to stay with their father. Girls stay with their mother. My mother said: “Come back tomorrow. I’ll prepare their bags.” The same second she took a taxi with us in the evening, with no luggage, to Kuwait. We stayed there for a year. Then we heard about my father’s whereabouts.”

Out of prison

“When my father got out of prison, they took him to the border between Iraq and Iran. He got three options. They said: “If you go right, there are landmines. If you go left there’s the Iraqi war and straight ahead there’s Iran.” He walked for three days. Without water or food. Plus, he carried his mother of 90 years old. After a day people couldn’t wear their clothes, because they felt so heavy. And my father had his mother to carry. Incredible. For me it’s a great story on how you can make it, stand up again and be a human again,” says Yahay.


“So, we didn’t know about my father for almost a year. Eventually, we met him in Syria. We became a family again and we moved to Sweden. That’s where I grew up. I lived there for about 18 years. My family and friends live there. I have a Swedish nationality. We lived in a small village of 4.000 people. If I changed my t-shirt, everyone would know! We were the only foreign family.” “Since about ten years I live in The Netherlands. Love brought me here.”

Websites & Social Media Links











Interview Questions

  • What’s your background before TEDx?
  • When did you leave Iraq, what’s your family story of emigration and what did you study and work in Europe?
  • Please define TED events? And who founded TED?
  • What’s is the difference between TED and TEDx?
  • How did you get introduced to TEDx events?
  • Why you decided to bring TEDx to Iraq and you didn’t have any experience in organizing events plus right you are from Baghdad but you left it when you are 4 years old?
  • How did you see Baghdad when you came back as you lived only 4 years in it so I assume that you don’t remember anything about it, and how do you see it now, do you see any hope in building it again?
  • What were your main struggles to bring TEDx to Iraq?
  • How can someone apply to be the licensee for TEDx in a specific city?
  • Do you need to pay any fee to be a licensee for a TEDx event?
  • What are the requirements from TEDx to run a successful event?
  • What are TEDx rules?
  • How TED training for TEDx licensees works?
  • Is a TEDx events are free or paid events?
  • How the TEDx licensee MAKES MONEY FROM an event?
  • How TED licensor MAKES MONEY FROM any TEDx event?
  • How much each TEDx Event cost you as licensee approximately?
  • Why there are so many different FORMS of TEDx events like TEDx woman, TEDx youth, TEDx kids, TEDx eductation and so on? And what are the other different types of events?
  • How TED MANAGEMENT measures your success as licensee?
  • What are the CRITERIA that you use to pick speakers for a TEDx event?
  • How long the talk should be and what are the elements that make a great TED talk?
  • What is your Advice to any future TED Speaker?
  • Tell us more about your other projects that you are currently working on or planning for the future?
  • What’s your daily life and work routine looks like? 
  • What are your other hobbies?
  • Who are your top 3 mentors?
  • The most important factors for success in 3 words?
  • What are the Top 3 apps that you use on your smart phone?
  • What are the habits that you are trying to develop to stay efficient?
  • What are your top 3 favorite books?
  • What are the top 3 people that you are inspired by? 
  • What makes you really happy?
  • How people can contact you?