Half a year has come and gone since our team leader, Phil Michaels, fatefully wandered into the office of student government where I sat perched over a crisp edition of that evening’s New York Times, a steaming cup of coffee wrapped comfortably between my fingers. His eyes were burning with a unique ambition; his voice carried by an almost spiritual impetus that was unlike anything I have ever heard. His presence immediately commanded my attention like iron to a magnet.
Phil spoke of a competition known as the “Hult Prize,” a start-up accelerator for social entrepreneurship, the world’s largest student movement for social good. He told us that the challenge proposed by President Bill Clinton was to educate ten million children in urban slums by 2020.
To me, the Hult Prize was a foreign concept. I was in the business of speech and debate, politics, and economics - not pitching business ideas to rapacious sharks. Nonetheless, my interest was piqued. When he spoke of the unfortunate state of children in urban slums, it connected with me sentimentally. My mind--against my will--began to paint vivid portraits of impoverished children crouched beneath the wingspan of the scorching sun. I suddenly found myself in a state of deep contemplation that disconnected me from my surroundings. Phil’s voice began to fade into indiscernible mumbles. I was calmly struck by an epiphany that would alter the course of my life forever and lead me toward a newfound path of social entrepreneurship and philanthropy. It’s almost as if the universe herself conspired to connect our paths at that precise moment in time. This realization to me was surreal and borderline indescribable. More importantly, I knew that this could be an opportunity for me to make a positive impact on the world. An opportunity to alleviate the suffering of man - to leave an imprint that could change the course of history. I thought about the children and their mothers. I thought about my personal obligation to the brotherhood of man. At that moment, I knew we would change the world.
“If you can create a real business, the beginning of a prototype, you can change the world” - Muhammad Yunus