The three-week virtual leadership program endeavors to “provide youth with a holistic toolkit to become effective leaders by equipping them with leadership skills and a human-centered design approach to problem-solving.”

Masters in Global Thought alum Michelle Lee (MA ’19) was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from Davis Projects for Peace, an initiative of the philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis that provides funding to grassroots projects that promote peace and address the root causes of conflict among parties.

With this grant, Lee founded Young Tech Leaders of the Middle East, a three-week virtual leadership program for conflict-affected and refugee youth from the Middle East. Lee writes:

Taking place over 8 days over 3 weeks—with optional work hours during the week—the cross-border program will be fully remote. Participants will take part in leadership skills workshops, human-centered design training sessions, and panels with leaders, founders, and entrepreneurs from around the world. Participants will also work on small group projects, tackling any real-world issue using the human-centered design framework, culminating in a presentation to a panel of judges at the end of the program. The winning team will be featured in publications such as Bite.Tech and Iraqi Innovators to create more recognition for young, aspiring technology leaders in the region.

The goal of the program is to prepare youth in the Middle East to take part in the technological revolution, with practical skills, future touchpoints for partnership, and a more innovative, collaborative, and empathetic mindset for leadership.

A number of other CGT alums will assist with the project. Sara Shah (MA ’19) will be guiding a meditation workshop at the end of the program, introducing the youth to the practice of meditation and providing a space for reflection. Sara will also be one of the mentors for the teams. Christina Luchkiw (MA ’16) will be one of the human-centered design trainers, introducing the youth to design critique and leading Prototype Feedback Day. Tiffany Batiste (MA ’19) will be one of the mentors for the teams. Idil Uner (MA ’20) will be one of the judges serving on the panel for presentation day.