“At the end, I want to stress… You, you can save someone’s life. You can save someone loved’s life.”

In honor of the International Restart a Heart Day, let us recall a great presentation by Jules Olsthoorn - Resuscitation A Basic Skill For All, from PechaKucha Night Maastricht Vol. 27th. Jules discusses Keep the Heartbeat Going, an organization dedicated to educating the public about CPR. The first six minutes after a heart attack is a crucial time, and it is imperative that one knows how to resuscitate a loved one should they ever be put in such a situation. A medical student in Maastricht, Jules spends most of his time at Taskforce QRS Maastricht, an organisation that promotes and facilitates resuscitation education in the Netherlands.

"How many gems of scientific discovery are out there, published in articles, that we don’t know about?"

One of the goals of scientific research should be the improvement of the human reality. But have we created a world in which the journey from discovery to society is so exhausting that it deters academics from embarking on it? And if so, can we do something about it?

In "From Science to Society: A Field full of Landmines" from PechaKucha Night Maastricht Vol. 31, Bart Knols discusses how scientists need to better communicate with those who are outside their field in order to contribute to society's development.

"It is so important that as a student you go out of your comfort zone, out of the faculty, out of your student house - because its the only way to connect to the city."

What is 'cinema' all about and how can 'a cinema' canbe a natural intersection for informal learning and entertainment, for art and science, for students and city?

In "The Magic Lantern" from PechaKucha Night Maastricht Vol. 31David Deprez addresses these questions. As an artistic director of Lumière Cinema Maastricht, David plans to involve students in the programming and using films in their academic curricula at Maasstricht University. 






A beautiful testimonial by PechaKucha presenter Sonia Kar 

So it began! The moment had come for me to take the stage. Rodrigo, one of the enthusiastic hosts of the evening, had started giving a grand introduction about what I was going to speak about in the next 6 minutes and 40 seconds on PechaKucha Maastricht Vol 31, being held at the prestigious Sint Janskerk. What would I say? Would I be able to keep pace with the 20 seconds timer on each slide or would I just make a mess of it? Would I be able to convey my story effectively?

Actually all these questions crossed my mind some two months ago when I heard about PechaKucha 20X20 presentation format using picture slides. Bit intimidating that one has to convey adequately in 20 slides with a 20 sec/slide speed, but the concept was so terrific that I had to give it a try. My application as a guest speaker took some screening considering PechaKucha was celebrating the 40th anniversary of Maastricht University. However I handled the screening questions with the same passion as I would be doing while speaking (I in fact felt I was already on stage). To my joy, I was informed that the very talented PechaKucha team had selected me.

Next came the daunting task of preparing the slides – setting my story right, hunting for the appropriate pictures for the slides. That actually was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Though it called for some iterations, lots of “gentle” reminders and patience from PechaKucha team members especially Zhen (thank you for bearing with all the stupid questions which came your way). However, the issues were faced when I thought of practising. Just two days left for the event, I was making a mess. I remember the first time I practised – the entire 20 slides (each with 20 seconds) were over and I had not finished half of my story! I was always gifted with this art of talking a lot and not being precise. That would definitely be put to the test now. So then came the phase of cutting it short and making it just fit within 20 seconds. The next time I practised, I finished the story when I was in slide 10! The pressure of finishing the story was high so I missed mentioning half of the points which I had to. With some iterations I was ultimately there.

On the D-day, when we reached Sint Janskerk - it was a packed house. The stage was set and rows of chairs were placed perfectly surrounding the stage. There were at least 300 people. I was trying to find familiar faces (as that would boost my confidence– human psychology as talking to known people is less of a stress than addressing unknown people) but there were hardly any. Then came the reassuring words from my husband – “You have spoken at a gathering of 100 people before. Speaking to 100 people and 300 people will feel the same”. Feeling a bit relaxed by his remark, I went and chose a comfortable spot.

What I loved the most was the concept of starting with the programme at 20:20. All the speakers were outstanding, the topics and their stories were thought-provoking. There were a lot of ideas and energies which were brought in. The audience (I being a part of it too) was completely enlightened and very enthusiastic. The more I watched the speakers, the more tensed I became. It was already intimidating to match the standards set by the speakers. But I was banking on the audience, if I falter or forget something they will clap and cheer me for that too :)

Then came my turn. Rodrigo announced my name and yes, I was on stage. What was playing in my mind in the first two seconds – “Wow, that’s a lot of people looking at me, how do I engage with them? Oops, watch your posture, where are your hands, oh no, I have a microphone, what were the first lines?  Ah forget it, just be yourself”.  (Yeah, mind is faster than light, all this I thought in two seconds)

And that’s what happened for the next 6 minutes 40 seconds – I was myself. I spoke about how we had come up with HomeHandi, an online platform which connects passionate cooks to food lovers like us and provides healthy home cooked food options. The most interesting part of the talk was when I started speaking about our learnings. I could feel an immediate connection with the audience. The one on how we could empower most of the cooks who were women homemakers by boosting their self-confidence and making them financially independent was appreciated by everyone. By the time I spoke about how we realised that people from various cultures unite or bond together over food, I was completely at ease. “Food is a universal language and we see it as an enabler to connect people from various countries i.e. expats, students and locals together. That is exactly what we saw happening in our flagship event – International Food Festival held in Maastricht. Why not make Maastricht city as one of the pioneers in forming a culturally inclusive community?” While saying all this,  it really did not hit me that I was at this grand location or event. I felt as if it was a normal chit-chat which I was having with a group of friends of mine (PechaKucha actually signifies chit-chat).  I spoke without any inhibitions and my passion controlled my speech. I enjoyed thoroughly those 6 minutes and 40 seconds which came my way.

At the end of the event I was approached by many familiar faces – familiar as I had seen them from the podium so now they were no more unfamiliar to me. I felt that PechaKucha gave me that platform to bring out the confidence in me, helped me to approach and interact with so many people, gave me the opportunity to enlighten myself. The informal way of story-telling with pictures is something very unique and very heart warming. Thank you PechaKucha for my 6 minutes and 40 seconds :)


By Sonia Kar, HomeHandi

"The reason I went back to Kabul … is I felt something was changing, something was very different, and I wanted to see it with my own eyes."

In Being Young in Kabul from PechaKucha Night Maastricht Vol. 30Samina Ansari tells us that in March 2015, a woman was stoned and burned to death in the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan. That's when Ansari decided to return to her birth country after 20 years of absence. One year later, she wants to share her experiences and observations: Kabul is more than what you see in the news.


"The world is abundant. If you’re willing to take leftovers, you can get nearly everything. Just ask for it."

In Monkeys Go Green from PechaKucha Night Maastricht Vol. 30Roos Derks shares on her urban gardening projects. Starting off on a polluted and neglected old rubber factory terrain, Derks brings us to the political and cultural center of the Mandril in Maastricht. Guided by insights from Social Permaculture, she shows why these type of projects are surprisingly doable, important, and a lot of fun.

The Craftsmanship of the Kufiya

"Too many times, we make judgements on people and situations without knowing anything about them... I decided to do a photography project, which is focusing on people, not the conflict, not the violence."

In The Craftsmanship of the Kufiya from PechaKucha Night Maastricht  Vol. 29, photographer Brian Megens tells the story about his photography project ‘The Other Side of Palestine’. In this project he focuses on life and the people of the West Bank. He made several stories throughout the country. During his stay in Palestine, Brian got intrigued with the kufiya, known in the West as the ‘Arafat scarf’. In his presentation, ‘The Craftsmanship of the Kufiya’ Brian will tell us more about this traditional Arabic product that won his admiration.

“Stereotypes harm dignity, but the truth of the matter is that stereotypes sell”

What is your image of Africa? A poor, conflict-ridden, hot continent with beautiful sunsets and wild animals, or a hub for innovations and the second fastest growing economy?

By day Faten Aggad works as Africa programme manager at the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM). By night she studies journalism and is a travel writer. In Every 60 seconds in Africa… from PechaKucha Night Maastricht Volume 29, she will challenge you to look at Western media headlines through a different lens.

“This picture has been taken 10 of 15 minutes after a vacuum bomb has been executed in the capital. This man is walking with his dog near the bomb and he says ‘I will live my life’.”

People can show extreme resilience under extraordinary situations. In A light in the Dark from PechaKucha Night Maastricht’s event at MSM, Speaker Mohammed Mahdi shows Yemeni people in their daily lives. He is impressed to see how they manage to progress under extreme situations which could be categorized as extremely hard life.

“We live in a global village but it turns out that all houses in the global village look the same, and I was kind of bothered with that.”

In An Affordable Alternative to Retail Chain Art from PechaKucha Night Maastricht’27th volume, presenter Tom Luyten discusses one of his biggest issues when it comes to home decoration. Bothered by the fact that we live in a world full of living rooms with the same picture hanging above the couch, he created an alternative. Watch as Tom tells us how to create art that is both unique and affordable, without settling for lesser quality and still provide the artist with a sufficient compensation.