During a speech at Cornell College in 1962, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr stated: “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” It is with this same sentiment and spirit that I emphasize our work with multiple organizations that focus on international diplomacy.
The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Program
Recently, I had the honor to serve as a coach and judge for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Solution Pitch Competition. The YLAI Fellowship Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. government and administered by IREX. This summer 20 cohorts of YLAI fellows spent 4 weeks in 19 U.S. cities, receiving first-hand immersion into the business, cultural, and educational fabric of each host city.
The Solution Pitch Competition
The Solution Pitch Competition is a core component of their YLAI Fellowship. Its main purpose is to give the fellows the opportunity to showcase their creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit in an entirely new way. It also works to apply the knowledge they learn throughout their YLAI experience directly to their business or social enterprise. As a coach, I listened to the solution pitches from 14 YLAI fellows representing Belize, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Suriname. The objective of the solution pitch is to convince the audience that the best possible solution to a business challenge has been identified. Fellows were asked to record and submit their solution pitch in 90 seconds via video. A single winner from each of the 20 cohorts then moves on to round two of the competition. 10 finalists will then present 3-minute pitches in front of a live audience in Washington, D.C.
My participation in this was an excellent opportunity for me to show off my city, and discuss the importance of Atlanta in both the historical and continuous fight for civil and human rights while hearing business ideas from future world leaders.