Last week I had an amazing opportunity as a judge to be part of the first-ever UAE - Israel Youth Hackathon, bringing dozens of young talented people together, collaborating and working on educational and social projects that would create a thriving Youth community across Abraham Accords countries.
This experience once again made me think of my own experience and reflect on why I believe that the best investment each of us can make today is in the youth.
I consider myself as a product of an incredible support system available to me throughout my adolescence. I spent my teens years in Russia, in Siberia, where seemingly the opportunities for a talented kid were limited. From age fourteen I was able to be part of regional, national and international conferences to present my researches and papers, leadership forums to communicate with peers and meet my role models.
Among contributors - Russian and UK universities’ funds for talented students, U.S. State Department’s Fulbright program, Clinton Global Initiative-U, AIESEC International and the list goes on. To become a beneficiary of any support grant/program I had to face fierce competition, sleepless nights, while pushing myself hard to become better and don’t get despair with multiple rejection letters - in the end, it made me stronger.
Looking back - I am feeling instantly grateful for every organization that has ever provided me with an opportunity to grow (through the torture of the already mentioned competitive process), and none of those organizations (not sure whether it is a good thing or a missed opportunity) has come back to me asking for support, payback. It has been me over the years chasing programs and offering mentorship, financial support to their current students.
By investing our time and money in such programs we won’t see instant ROI, even instant gratification but we will know that we are investing in future and its leaders.