Sixteen Fellows from six countries will be gathering in Jerusalem for the PresenTense Global Summer Institute’s fifth summer fellowship program. The Global Summer Institute trains social entrepreneurs in the latest technology and business practices to launch ventures that upgrade the operating system of the Jewish people and benefit the world at large.
This cohort is the most diverse group so far and includes fellows from Argentina, Uruguay, Hungary, and Russia, in addition to the US and Israel. Chosen through a highly competitive application process, the Summer Fellows aim to reshape the fields of social justice, philanthropy, education, environmental protection, and the arts.
Flo Low, head of the Institute’s steering committee, comments, “This is an extremely exciting year for the Global Institute. The fellows are a truly global cohort, and I’m excited to watch their innovative ventures develop over the summer, and to participate in the unique dialogue made possible by convening this exceptional group in Jerusalem.”
The Institute focuses on building communal support around fellows by pairing them up with mentors and coaches – local professionals from the fields of business, hi-tech, education, and more, who can help them shape their ventures. And, the program is centered around a tested curriculum of venture development, which includes skillbuilding sessions, case studies, and workshops.
Laura Gaspar, from Budapest, Hungary, is building a game for elementary school children that aims to represent the basics of Jewish life through the adventures of a boy called Rafi. “I have worked as a madricha [youth group leader] in my community, and have seen the potential of online games for community building and informal education. For a long time I had been thinking about developing educational software for Jewish children and was very excited to hear about this opportunity to spend six weeks with other international innovators.”
Ricardo Szyfer, an engineering student from Montevideo, Uruguay, is similarly enthusiastic about the diversity of this summer’s fellows. “What motivates me… is the fact that I will join people who will give me new perspectives about things, and who seek to work together to create a synergy generated from brainstorming and planning with people from different backgrounds.” His project is focused on creating a web platform to solve local communal problems by matching people with resources such as time, money or materials, to innovators who have ideas and drive to take action.
“This cohort of fellows is one of the most diverse and accomplished group of Fellows to date,” relates Shelby Zitelman, co-coordinator of the Institute. “With a wide representation of geography, venture stage, professional experience and area of focus, I am looking forward to seeing the Fellows’ development and collaboration over the next six weeks, and the global impact they will continue to inspire.”