A World Economic Forum initiative
The Global Shapers Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, is an ecosystem of extraordinary people in their 20s and early 30s, launched in 2011 in response to the absence of young peoples' voices in global decision-making. Shapers are exceptional in their potential, their achievements and their drive to make a contribution to their communities through projects.
We are diverse in demographics, geographical areas, and sectors, but united by a common desire to shape the future and build a more peaceful and inclusive world. Shapers run non-profits, work in the medical field, are creatives, and much more. Members of the Shapers community possess an entrepreneurial spirit, leadership potential, and a desire to improve the state of the New York. The community is non-political, self-selected, and self-organized around issues facing the globe.
Shapers are organized in a network of local hubs based in major cities around the world, including New York.
One of the primary focus areas of the New York Hub leadership team has been to build a strong culture of accountability, anchored by each hub member to the shared expectations of ourselves and one another. This enables us to live by Shaper values.
As a starting point, we hosted a workshop on ‘Radical Candor’ led by 2017-2018 curator Maria Wang-Faulkner. Radical Candor is a framework that advises sharing of feedback both from a place of kindness and care, as well as directness and honesty. Reinforced through workshops
at monthly meetings and within project teams, we are building a culture of radical candor that allows us to effectively work together.
We’re also putting processes that hold hub members accountable to participating regularly in hub meetings, and contributing to project teams. We’re still learning how best to do this in a way that’s fair and transparent to everyone, and getting better at it with time. The goal is to build a shared hub culture with sustainable processes that are resilient to changes in personalities and leadership styles of subsequent curatorship teams.
New York Hub
Global Shapers are organized in a network of local hubs based in major cities around the world, including New York. New York is one of the most established and diverse hubs in the network.
Because New York has such a dense population of amazing people, there are two New York hubs. The hubs organize a range of local events and opportunities for Shapers and design projects and activities that generate a positive impact within New York. In May of 2016, the two hubs merged operations, and now collaborate frequently and meet together.
Our Hub meets officially once a month, with other social events as well. We also work together on broader initiatives with other hubs from around the world.
How we Shape
After testing multiple methods, we found the hub was most responsive to change theory and the Lean Startup approach by Eric Ries. New York City Shapers quickly pitch and launch small- to medium-sized projects, concentrating our efforts, and maximizing our
Impact. Shapers pitch their project in front of the hub using a format (found in the appendix). If enough Shapers show interest, the project is accepted into the incubation phase, and a project committee member will collaborate with the project lead to develop the project further, determining desired outcomes and feasibility. Depending on the size of the project, we expect the team to launch the project within 4-6 months.
During these months the project committee member assigned to the project will act as a trusted advisor and help problem-solve through any issues. We don’t require our projects to repeat or scale, but we are always open to these possibilities. For example, the Syrian Youth Empowerment initiative is an annual project and the Climate Brain Trust is in its third cycle and is scaling to 5 cities.
Moving forward, the Project Committee will be hosting incubation workshops hosted by Shapers to help empower each other to deliver greater impact and further the understanding of local issues in our community.
Past, Ongoing, and Future Projects
This is how we serve the New York community.
Syrian Youth Empowerment
Project Lead: George Batah
What and why: Syrian Youth Empowerment (SYE) is an initiative to support the higher education of Syrian high school students by offering mentorship, along with free TOEFL and SAT classes, to secure scholarships in universities in the United States.
Results/Impact: Global Shapers helped developing the mentorship curriculum, fundraising strategy and provided pro-bono legal assistance to kick-off the process of registering SYE as 501(c)(3). Additionally, Shapers reviewed and provided feedback for 20+ essays for Syrian and refugee students..
SYE Project Success! 10 shapers have helped secure over $3.564 Million of scholarships for 10 Syrian Students coming mostly but not exclusively to America.
Admission and full scholarships came from: MIT(2), Cornell, Brown, George Washington, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Denver, West Virginia University, Lafayette College, University of British Columbia(Canada), Bard (Germany), Jacobs (Germany), Bennington, Western Reserve, University of Oklahoma, Cambridge (UK).
Next Steps: Obtaining the legal status, expanding strategically to countries other than the US (Canada, Australia and some countries in Europe are our top choices for expansion), ramp up fundraising and continue engaging Shapers in the applications review process.
Art & Life Immersion
Giving NYC youth access to career advancement and support for the arts and culture industries locally.
An ongoing partnership with the Brooklyn Museum Teen
program and the Culture LP that co-produces programs
to provide NYC youth with free access, exposure, and
support to build valuable insight for college, and life skills
that most school curriculums overlook.
We Write: Communities Creating Diverse Children’s Books
Harnessing the power of new book creation technology and our diverse backgrounds as Shapers, we will work to author, illustrate and publish diverse children’s books for speakers of underserved language groups in NYC.
Shape and Share
Project Manager: Jehane Akiki
Problem: With the future of work becoming more uncertain and disrupted by technology, the future of education has to change to teach skills that are becoming more necessary for today and the future. Unfortunately, a lot of the underserved communities in the world are stuck doing the routine work that will become obsolete because of machines and have greater risk of being left behind and falling into the skills gap because they have smaller chance of learning and applying skills that are becoming increasingly in demand.
Solution/Concept: This project aims to develop a design thinking workshop to help underserved Black Lives Matter youth learn some of the crucial competencies of the 21st century to create projects that solve real problems faced in their communities. Design thinking is a powerful framework to teach such relevant skills in an engaging, student-centered manner by working on real-life team projects that also help the community.
Next Steps: This is a new project that has just started. Details on results once completed.
Avenues for Justice
Project Lead: Georges Clement
What and why: Avenues for Justice is an alternative to incarceration nonprofit with centers in East Harlem and the Lower East Side. Kids (mostly high school age) come to AFJ every weekday to check in and engage in various programs, including tutoring and drug and mental health counseling.
Results/Impact: 5 Shapers have volunteered with Avenues for Justice, delivering fantastic workshops which inspired over 80 kids -- a particular highlight was a global shaper (Isaac Stonefish) who hosted workshops about China, including a cooking class with traditional Chinese cuisine.
Fundraising and in-kind donations in 2017 were put toward renovations and equipment for a brand new computer lab in the Lower East Side center.
Next Steps: The project has been completed.
Climate Change Brain Trust
Project Lead: Neil Yeoh
What and why: A new, interactive one-day program bringing 10 NYC climate-tackling startups to a roundtable of experienced academic and business leaders to address their challenges. Organised by the World Economic Forum Global Shapers New York Hub in partnership with Echoing Green.
The four objectives of the NYC Climate Braintrust were to:
New Home, New York
Project Lead: Omar O. Abboud
What and why: NHNY is a website dedicated to helping recently arrived refugees and immigrants with the information, tools, and services necessary to start their lives in New York State. The site contains valuable guides on the benefits system & medical care relevant to immigrants, refugees, and their case workers.
Results/Impact: Our guides were adopted by volunteers affiliated with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) in New York State, one of only seven authorized refugee resettlement agencies in the country. Volunteers have used NHNY to assist refugee families with navigating the public benefits system, seeking legal recourse and fair hearings, and filling out important documentation such as Medicaid recertification.
Next Steps: Expand the website to include guides on more topics -- such as medical care -- and work with legal aid organizations to proliferate the guides we’ve already written more widely.
Project Lead: Frank Fredericks
What and why: Diversity is about more than tokenism. It's about accomplishing together what cannot be done alone. We wanted to analyze public bodies such as the US Congress and Fortune500 CEOs at the intersection of race and gender, comparing the breakdown to that of the general public. What we found was astonishing. Find it HERE!
Next Steps: We will be sharing the findings and inviting others to collect publicly available data for further analysis and comment. We also will be sharing the How-to Guide with other Global Shaper Hubs so that they can replicate the process.
New York Shapers
We are Global Shapers.
To become a New York Global Shaper you need to apply through the hub's own application process.
We are not currently accepting applications for the NYC Hub of Global Shapers.
Applications are currently CLOSED. Check back in October for an update!
The New York City Hub welcomes young people to apply to be a part of a group of like-minded individuals with a desire to change the state of the world, and New York City. You must reside or work in/near NYC, be under the age of 30 (i.e., date of birth must not be before November 1, 1989), and have a concrete idea for how you want to make a change in the region. Your idea might make its way as a project that the hub collectively backs – or you can join existing projects if you think your interests and skills align.
Rules and expectations – first 6 months!
All new Shapers are in a probationary period and must demonstrate the following values
What is the NYC Hub like?
We have monthly meetings where we talk about how we’re progressing on our projects, support each other as we navigate our own personal/professional lives, and meet up in socials to learn about small businesses around NYC or just have fun. Check out our Instagram for more recent updates on life with the hub.
Remember we are a project based hub. Expect to be on a project or leading a project.
There is a 6 month probation period and you're expected to deliver.