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Talent: A Long-Term Bet on Human Ingenuity

Main Stage


  • Humanity is undergoing times of deep contrast, as highlighted by Eric Braverman. While people are living in unprecedented levels of prosperity, there are also great challenges, not least climate change and economic disparity. Eight of the 20 most economically-unequal countries in the world are in Latin America, and it is possible that, by 2050, 17 million people will become displaced due to climate change. There is no magic bullet to solve these challenges, but long-term investment is critical to achieving actual transformative effects. 
  • Just last week Schmidt Futures launched Rise, aimed at supporting 15-17 year olds around the world who are talented, need opportunity, and want to help others. The initiative seeks to help those extremely talented people around the world who are often overlooked by the system in which they live in. Its global winners will be supported for life, including accessing college scholarships and investment opportunities. Braverman considers it true that one good idea can change the world; therefore, youth with a dream to help their communities need to be supported to make their dream become reality. 

“Youth need to know how important they are to building a better present and future,” Juan Sebastián Arango Cárdenas

  • As stated by Juan Sebastian Arango Cárdenas, out of the 50 million people in Colombia, 12.7 million are between the ages of 14 and 28, making up 27% of the population. Youth is a central part of the president’s development program, prompting the government to implement an ecosystem of policy, agenda, programs, and initiatives for youth under the national strategy Sacúdete, which is managed by First Lady María Juiana Ruiz and means “shake yourself” in Spanish. This training program provides opportunities in education, employment, and entrepreneurship and aims to close the social and economic gaps experienced by young Colombians. Its goal is to reach more than 9,000 people by the end of 2020, and 400,000 by 2022.
  • Further commenting on the potential of young people, Arango mentioned that youth should be helped to participate in their community and develop the appropriate decision-making tools, since they are key to building both a better present and future. However, for youth to believe in themselves, we need to not only believe in them first, but encourage them through substantial action and commitments. The Colombian government is looking to create a whole ecosystem of opportunities, in which they will engage the public, private, academic, multilateral, and philanthropic sectors. 
  • Braverman reiterated the importance of sticking with youth over the long term, in order to truly see them prosper. He closed by mentioning that in a time where risk is seen everywhere, it should not only be something that’s mitigated, but also taken—and taken for people. In this sense, Rise will be taking a chance and investing in people. 

“We are in a time of contrast. There are people living in levels of prosperity unparalleled in human history. And at the same time, we have terrible challenges as a planet—climate change, and the list goes on,” Eric Braverman

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • There is an abundance of talent and good intentions in today’s youth, which can greatly benefit all of society. However, the younger generation needs to be instilled with trust and empowerment in order to be able to achieve their full potential and make a difference for their communities.
  • When it comes to social projects, long-term and repeated investment is key to achieving sustainable and truly impactful effects.


Session Speakers