Technologist: Young Global Leadership of Paramount Importance

By Onel Harrison, 2019 Luce 24 Under 24 Award Recipient

New York, N.Y. Leadership, as exemplified by action-oriented and impact-driven young people across the world who strive to better humanity, is critically important. Our world has more problems than people willing to create solutions. It is the leaders among us who take up the mantle to mobilize people and leverage resources to solve problems.

Today, we face problems that have persisted across generational boundaries as well as those that have arisen since the turn of the 21st century. Young Global Leadership involves bringing to bear the novel ideas, high energy, creativity, and talents of young leaders to challenge the status quo and effect positive social change. Worldwide, these social innovators and entrepreneurs zealously work to solve new problems and courageously revisit existing solutions with fresh perspectives.

13735549_604688186364643_1940945884302522440_oCODE2040 recruits high performing Black and Latinx software engineering interns
to top tech companies, demonstrating to the tech industry that highly skilled
Black and Latinx technologists are not as rare as they are often made out to be.

The digital divide is one such problem that accompanied the progress and prosperity often associated with the rise of digital technology. It is characterized by an imbalance of information communications technology (ICT) access, use, or impact among distinct groups defined by social, geographical, or other criteria. The adoption and creation of ICT are correlated with positive economic effects, including but not limited to: direct job creation, GDP growth, the development of new services and industries, and business innovation.

However, in many developing countries, these economic effects have primarily come from the adoption of ICT created in developed nations rather than from the adoption and creation of local technologies. This is problematic because these global solutions don’t address the specific and unique issues in any particular region, and so it’s important to have local people creating their own solutions.

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Additionally, if technologies are primarily procured from outside a region, it means there is little
focus on developing the talents of local technologists. The digital divide among countries and
groups is a problem that cannot be ignored in a time when ICT is a major driver of economic
growth and development.

We also cannot overlook the problem as ICT skills empower people to be self-sufficient and transform their own communities for the better. Nicholas Kee, a Jamaican computer programmer and serial entrepreneur, is an example of a young leader who is dedicating his time and talents to tackle the digital divide between the Caribbean and the developed world.

23675013_1952128548337604_915895118384903538_oNext Gen Creators was co-founded by Nicholas Kee, a Jamaican computer
programmer and serial entrepreneur dedicated to tackling the digital divide.

In 2015, Nicholas co-founded Next Gen Creators, a non-profit that creates a platform for
fostering rising tech and entrepreneurship talent in the Caribbean. The organization also aims to
empower Caribbean technologists and entrepreneurs to create solutions to problems in their
communities.

To date, Next Gen Creators has secured tens of corporate partnerships and have impacted thousands of Caribbean residents. Next Gen Creators demonstrates why Young Global Leadership is critical; Nicholas and his team of young leaders identified a gargantuan problem that recently emerged, and are employing their creativity and resourcefulness to create a brighter future for the Caribbean through a sustainable and scalable initiative.

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Intractable social issues such as racism, and geo-politics, play their role in limiting access to science and technology by people of color, as well as in developing nations. This poses its own challenges in terms of stymying poverty alleviation efforts and economic growth and development. Innovation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are significant contributors to the economic growth and development of a country, placing STEM careers among the most demanded and highly compensated.

However, access to careers in STEM has been challenging for underrepresented racial groups–Blacks and Hispanics, most notably. Women also face similar issues of limited access.

In 2012, Laura Weidman Powers and Tristan Walker founded CODE2040, a non-profit that’s “activating, connecting, and mobilizing the largest racial equity community in tech to dismantle the structural barriers that prevent the full participation and leadership of Black and Latinx technologists in the innovation economy.”

Every summer since its founding, CODE2040 has recruited high performing Black and Latinx software engineering interns to top tech companies, demonstrating to the tech industry that highly skilled Black and Latinx technologists are not as rare as they are often made out to be.

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CODE2040 got its name as its founders looked to the future and realized that America’s population in 2040 is projected to be majority black and brown, all while keeping in mind that people from these groups are presently being excluded from the tech industry–an industry known for its widespread impact, creating individual wealth, and building products that empower people. Laura and Tristan, two young American leaders, founded CODE2040 to prevent a bleak future in which such a large group of Americans is excluded from the innovation economy.

All things considered, one thing is clear: Young Global Leadership is of paramount importance. While the preceding examples highlighted young leaders who formed nonprofits to address national and regional problems at the intersection of technology and society, Young Global Leadership can take many forms. Some young leaders are civic hackers, social innovators, entrepreneurs, champions of the underrepresented, or highly connected members of diverse networks to list a few.

We need Young Global Leadership and all that comes with it: the audacity of young leaders to challenge the status quo with fresh ideas, their commitment to positive social change, and their persistence in trying to create a better world.

Onel Harrison
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Onel, graduated from Monroe College, New Rochelle, N.Y., is passionate about the digital technology and its role in uplifting the community. With a Bachelors of Science in Computer Information Systems, Onel has done much research on the connections between technology and social problems. He believes Young Global Leadership is of paramount importance, to challenge the status quo with fresh ideas, to positively change and create a better world. Onel serves as webmaster and social media coordinator for The American Caribbean Maritime Foundation.

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Ticket Reservations
Ticket(s) in advance are available at $48 each, tax-deductible and may be paid online via: http://tiny.cc/SummerSoiree2019 (or TEXT “Luce24” to 91999). Checks payable to The J. Luce Foundation may be sent to 540 Main St. #418, New York, N.Y. 10044. If you are unable to attend, please consider donating a ticket to sponsor one of our Young Global Leaders.

About The J. Luce Foundation
The Mission of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation, Inc. (www.LuceFoundation.org) is to support young global leadership impacting positive social change, particularly in the fields of the Arts, Education and Orphan Care. Related charities include Orphans International Worldwide (OIW) and The New York Global Leaders Lions Club, both founded by Jim Luce, born July 24, 1959. 

See:
 July 24th, J. Luce Foundations 20th Annual Summer Soirée (7/19)
‘Luce 24 Under 24’ Summer Soirée Set for July 24 at the China Institute (6/19)
J. Luce Foundation Announces First ‘Luce 24 Under 24’ Awards (5/19)
J. Luce Leadership Team Lauded by Forbes, Gates, Ford Foundation (9/18)

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Pui I Chang
Recent graduate at Baruch College received her B.A. in corporate communications. Originally from Hong Kong, driven by creativity, passion and a strong interest in cultural studies.

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