This past November over 400 guests gathered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to attend i2 Institute for Imagination and Ingenuity’s inaugural kick-off event.
Created to cultivate an ecosystem of innovation in the Middle East, the event attracted a crowd of established entrepreneurs, technologists, academics, artists, inventors, and investors from the world over as well as eight distinguished speakers representing MIT Media Lab, Pixar/Walt Disney Studios, and PopTech, and other major organizations.
Born from the leadership of founder and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Dr. Hayat Sindi, the project faced considerable challenges in its infancy. “When people tell me things are impossible it just gives me energy,” says Sindi who, against all odds, left Saudi Arabia as a teen to later earn her PhD in biotechnology and study at several institutions including MIT and Harvard.
The Institute “envisions a world in which the only barrier to an innovator’s success is the quality of his or her ideas” and has even set up a fellowship program to support young innovators in the Middle East.
As Sindi puts it, “When you give to society in whatever form, without you realizing, you become a star who can guide someone else a better life.”