Perhaps the highlight of the day was Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa's mid-day keynote address. Mutawa talked about THE 99, a comic book series, which Forbes identified as 'One of the Top 20 Trends Sweeping the Globe'. Addressing a packed Spangler Auditorium, Mutawa, a psychologist-turned-social entrepreneur who was recently praised by President Obama for creating the first group of superheroes born of an Islamic archetype, discussed his journey as an entrepreneur and the concept behind his work. His presentation was filled with puns and witty jokes, frequently causing the audience to break into laughter.
The show-stopper of day one is Naif Al-Mutawa, a bearded, bespectacled clinical psychologist and creator of The 99, a comic book project that showcases enlightened Muslim values in the guise of superheroes. They are shortly about to interact, thanks to some cross-cultural co-operation between publishers, with DC Comics’ Justice League of America in an ultimate act of pop culture détente. Al-Mutawa’s talk is fast-moving, touching and witty (he describes recently manning a food stall advertising 'Free Falafel', only for an earnest would-be protester to ask him: 'Who’s Falafel?') He gets an ovation and his talk is among the first to be made available from this conference on the TED website.
Carol Solomon, Independent College Programs
I was so pleased with the visit of Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa. (The auditorium) was filled to capacity and then some with students... In my view the event was a great success.
AJC (American Jewish Community)
Al-Mutawa is indefatigable–a whirlwind of energy, jokes and self-deprecating remarks. He passes comfortably between worlds, speaking as easily before a conference in Kuwait as on a TED stage.
Sumayyah Meehan, Muslim Media Network
All the characters in 'The 99' are the epitome of kindness, generosity, wisdom and honesty, which are core Islamic values. Al-Mutawa uses 'The 99' to spread a message of peace that the world really needs to hear.
Everything went just as planned. We were all very pleased. Attendance was great. Thank you!