The program recently expanded its reach to eight countries
bringing together Afghan, Algerian, Egyptian, Jordanian, Moroccan, Pakistani, Palestinian
and Tunisian students. They were selected from more
than 7,000 applicants who submitted ideas about how to “Make Tomorrow Better”
in their respective communities by either creating a new business or launching
a new community initiative to meet local needs. The ideas were posted on each
During the program, the students gained a broad understanding of American business practices through an accelerated, four-week curriculum at the Kelley School of Business. They worked in teams to develop business plans and presented their ideas first to a group of venture capital leaders in Indiana, then at the State Department before heading to their final destination: Atlanta.
There, the students enjoyed attractions such
as the World of
‘You Can Make a Difference’
For the students’ picture with Kent, all eight flags stood side-by-side at the company’s headquarters, showcasing the program’s commitment to cross-cultural exchange. A fervid champion of youth entrepreneurship, Kent spoke enthusiastically about the students’ future as tomorrow’s business and community leaders.
“I believe there’s never been a better time to be attending university and preparing for the world beyond,” he said. “And I can’t wait to see what great things you and your generation accomplish in the years ahead.”
It’s a future one student from Morocco is ready to lead.
Nada Berrada says she hopes to “organize social ventures for students willing
to help rural Moroccan communities.” And Berrada won’t stop there. She says she
wants to become a
Berrada hopes to inspire her country, like Kent inspired her. She says Kent’s repeated emphasis on “’multiculturalism’ and bringing cultures together” resonated with her. “It is very obvious we live in a world that is diverse and the only way to transform or to make sure this diversity becomes a strength is to accept it and learn from it,” she says. “Multiculturalism is an incredible source of wealth and knowledge of difference that creates a tremendous change.”
One Afghan student echoed the learned importance of
multiculturalism. Javid Rasooly said he is thankful the program expanded this
year to include Afghan students. “For me personally, I came to meet people, to
learn from people, to be exposed to other cultures and to other societies,” he added.
Following his speech, Kent opened the floor for questions and spoke about obtaining and sustaining success. He advised the future leaders to create small moments of happiness for others, to cherish relationships, to fuse cultures, and, lastly, to follow their instincts.
“You can and will make a real difference, so stay in touch
with each other… and with
Never Eat Alone
Drawing on lessons learned throughout his life and 30-year
“Like you, I was given the great gift of meeting and befriending wonderful people from distant lands and all walks of life,” Kent told the students.
He offered four key pieces of advice:
1. Never eat alone. Maintain and build your relationships, and always be open to meeting new people and learning from them. Personal connections are invaluable.
3. Develop an abiding respect for cash. Keep some on you at all times. Touch it and feel it and know it’s real. Never let money become an abstraction.
4. Learn something new every day. You’re either growing… or you’re losing ground. There’s no standing still.
“Remember also that this is your start-up phase – your chance to be a great agent for positive change,” Kent concluded. “Chances are, you won’t start out perfectly, but don’t see your missteps as mistakes. Instead, they’re opportunities for learning new perspectives.”