TED speaker Omar Ahmad died this morning of a heart attack in San Carlos, California, where he was the Mayor. A Mayor with a very open line to his constituents. In December 2009, when he pitched us what would become his short talk for TED University at TED2010, his suggested title was: “How to effectively lobby elected officials and move them on issues you care about.” Now, coming from an elected official, it could have been a quip, a wisecrack, a provocation — but it was in fact an invitation: an invitation to get involved, to learn about the political system and about raising issues properly, to “add weight to your views” in the eyes of politicians. In other words, Omar wanted everybody to contribute to a better polity.
Omar was close to completing a TED Book titled Citizen Advocate: How to Get Government to Move Mountains and Change the World just before his passing. We hope to release that work soon.
He will be badly missed.