Volunteering at TEDxBerlinSalon “Democracy” 2017

Trying out a new blog post format (inspired by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad) with numbered lists.

Beginning

  1. I already bought the ticket 2 weeks before the event for EUR 41.30. After getting the tickets from Eventbrite, naturally, I followed their Twitter & Facebook Pages.
  2. A few days later I saw this post on Facebook where they were looking for more volunteers.
  3. On the application form, they asked “Why” and mentioned about I’ve always loved volunteering and since I’m traveling the world and happen to be in Berlin, I’d like to help out and meet with other volunteers and professionals.
  4. Submitted the form and to my surprise, a few hours later on the same day, someone from the TEDxBerlin Team reached out with follow-up questions about what I do for a living and how many languages I spoke.
  5. Told her I worked 100% remotely which allows me to travel anywhere around the world anytime I want and I’ve volunteered for my residential association back home helping them build their security infrastructure. Also added a little fun fact where I once hosted a documentary for UNICEF.
  6. She was intrigued about my world travels and honored to have Berlin in ‘my world map’, so they wanted me in! They were also surprised and grateful that I previously bought a ticket and still wanted to volunteer. I managed to get the ticket transferred to a fellow Roamer, Jessica Fradono.

Middle

  1. Volunteers had to be there by 2 pm and I arrived 1.5 hours earlier. Obviously, the front entrance was still locked, but I eventually figured out entering through the back door.
  2. Quickly found the main stage with all the production crew working to set everything up. Nobody was there yet and nothing yet on the volunteers Whatsapp group, so I went around the stage area and took some behind the scene photos.
  3. So at around 2 pm, all the volunteers gathered and we were given assignments. I was assigned for ‘crowd control’ for section F-Links (F-Left). All I had to do was make sure everyone was seated in the appropriate sections and getting them to sit side by side and filling any gaps (sitzen sich nebeneinander, bitte). Though since my section was not within the camera view and filling the gaps was not critical.
  4. Also, volunteers got VIP bracelets which meant we could get unlimited free food and drinks from the cafe downstairs, but I was so caught up in the talks and my assignment that I didn’t take advantage of that. Only had 2 drinks, before and during the talks.
  5. The talks went longer than expected, but that was totally fine. All the speakers were amazing. I was especially moved by Toni Lane Casserly talking about the Bitnation and a future where government competes for citizens instead of the other way round.

End

  1. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see how things work behind the scenes. Also grateful to have met (though only briefly) cool new people.
  2. Interestingly, our volunteering team lead, also got into TEDxBerlin with just an email saying how she just got out of a job and had a lot of free time to help.
  3. Anything is possible if you just ask. It all started with a simple email. When you ask, there’s a 50/50 chance. If you don’t ask, there’s 0% chance!

Asad Zulfahri at TEDxBerlinSalon Democracy

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