The Up-close and Personal After-event: It all Starts with Empathy

Following TEDxAmsterdamWomen 2016 as a great success, the after-event morning panel continued warm claps and inspiring talks among thirty attendees and two speakers, “Diplomat of technology" Mariéme Jamme and Dr. Jan Ihan Kizilhan at the graceful Andaz Prinsengracht Hotel atelier. Anna Natali Swanson hosted the panel.

Bringing dignity and belongingness back to traumatized refugees

Dr. Kizilhan shared his psychological journal about treating women and children who suffered trauma after violence, war and other severe experiences. When asked which efforts should be taken to treat refugees, Dr. Kizilhan mentioned that bringing them back their dignity and sense of belongingness to society is key. 

“That is the reason why I am working on the project. We brought 1,100 women and children who were held hostage by IS, to Germany for medical treatment. During their treatment, they have shown a strong interest in learning, working and integrating themselves (in)to local society.” 

Three concepts to facilitate refugee treatment 

Dr. Kizilhan exposed three key concepts to better treat traumatized refugees: 1. efficient emergency preparation, 2. well-educated doctors and NGOs, and 3. professional caretakers in the refugee center. 

“It is not just about money, but more about human empathy.” When asked, how normal citizens can contribute to refugee treatment, Dr. Kizilhan said: “We have to keep talking about it. Let the governments know. They are humans too. We have to keep talking on platforms like TEDxAmsterdamWomen because we know that we have good arguments to talk about.”

“All organizations came to me because Africa has something to offer now”

Mariéme Jamme launched IAMTHECODE, a global movement to support girls and women through creative learning and code training in STEAD (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Design), starting from Africa.

“In 2009, the image of Africa was so negative that young people, as well as multinational organizations, did not want to go there. That has now changed. There are so many entrepreneurial hubs being created in all over Africa.” Mariéme answered, when asked how she gained support from renowned companions such as Google, Ernest and Young and HSBC.

“Carry our empathy hat everywhere. Start from your community”

Mariéme unveiled her expectations of seeing more women on the board team in the next 10 years, especially in the field of technology and innovation. She shared a story of her community in the southeast of England that left every audience in deep contemplation.

“I live in one of the richest counties in southeast England where I am the only black woman. One morning I sat in the Starbucks coding and found strange eyes from other ladies. Their routine every morning is to spend 11 pounds on a coffee and a muffin, waiting for their kids to finish school. I was shocked and then sad. In Africa, nowadays, a young woman can code in four languages, but these ladies don’t even want to work! What will happen many years later? We have to help these ladies. They don’t know how much they can learn during that period of time.”

Mariéme started to organize workshops in that Starbucks every morning to incorporate some creative learning time for these ladies. The talk finished with a simple story, while the audience remained silent for seconds, ending the panel with warm cheers.

Text by: Jiaying Li