I’m lucky because my wonderful friends hook me up with guys like Salman Ahmad (thank you, Syd). Salman is a UN Ambassador, he’s pal of Peter Gabriel, and he’s literally a rock star.
Next time I find myself uttering some complaint — a typical Yuppie lament — I will think of Salman Ahmad and how he is helping to draw awareness and raise relief funds for the 20 million+ people in Pakistan impacted by the flooding there. Traffic “ruining” your life and making you late to Pilates? Couldn’t book a spin bike? No Thai Basil at Fairway? Did TIVO ‘forget’ to record “Glee?”
Salman is the founder of Pakistan’s biggest rock group, Juneen. They’ve sold 25 million records. He should be sipping an umbrella drink somewhere. But he’s first and foremost, a humanitarian. He’s a UN Ambassador. He was one of the first signatories of the Charter For Compassion, which a year ago, won the prestigious TEDPrize. Twelve months later, The Charter For Compassion is the center of a live, global discussion that was held this week, called TEDPrize@UN.
Salman was there, singing an acoustic version of a song he wrote and recorded with Peter Gabriel, sharing his talents as he does, to fix something really wrong: the people of Pakistan have experienced serious devastation because of the flooding over the summer. You’ve heard of stuff going on in Hati? Oh yeah, it’s happening in Pakistan in a seriously major way, too. He and his wife, Dr. Samina Ahmad, started the Global Wellness Initiative and have worked ‘round the clock to raise awareness about what’s going on over there. Maybe you haven’t heard of it because Pakistan is not exactly on the North American border. But it matters on so many levels.
This week’s event was curated by Chris Anderson and speakers included Charter founder Karen Armstrong, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Chautauqua Institute’s Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, American Public Radio’s Krista Tippet and Google’s resident “Jolly Good Fellow” Chade-Meng Tan. Rainn Wilson narrated the Charter for Compassion’s year recap video. And Salman performed his new Peter Gabriel collaboration: Open Your Eyes (which is on sale at iTunes; proceeds to help flood victims in Pakistan). TEDPrize@UN today was all about sparking stimulating conversations about compassion’s role within religion, society, politics, and commerce.
Have a look and a listen. And buy the song for a buck or so and maybe help someone out over there in Pakistan. It’ll make you less grumpy that about being stuck in traffic.