Double-winged youth of Turkey’s YGA
There are certain places that give you warmth, energy and happiness. That is how I can describe our meeting with the family of the Young Guru Academy (YGA), which took place two weeks ago at a conference jam-packed with more than 2,300 people.
Business people, men and women of science, executives who had climbed the steps to the top in their positions in Turkey have rushed to meet with high school and university students, to share their experiences and to contribute to education for double-winged youth.
“Double-winged youth” is a term you should become acquainted with, since it is what I have heard most often from Sinan Yaman. Yaman left Unilever while he was an executive responsible for the innovation team of 22 countries. His mother was a teacher and his father was a judge. Yaman left his career when he could not stand the person he was becoming to dedicate himself to education.
He is the founder and first president of YGA. Yaman and his friends and volunteers have been working on the project for double-winged youth. But what does this mean? One wing a young person has is made up of conscientious dreams. The youth chosen to be a part of the project must have a conscience. There is no place in the YGA for those who crush others to achieve their aims or whose only dreams are about making more money.
The other wing is made up of talent and qualifications. The aim is to have a productive generation of youth who are open to learn. But the YGA’s mission does not end there. The end goal is to have these double-winged youth fly together. In other words, there is no place for those who are only after personal success or who refuse teamwork.
More than 50 thousand students apply each year to the YGA and only 50 of them are selected through five phases of interviews. They receive mentorship from YGA dream partners who are academics and top executives with international experience, including Nobel Laureate Professor Aziz Sancar, Faruk Eczacıbaşı, Ali Koç, Doğan Cüceloğlu and Begümhan Doğan Faralyalı, among others. They internalize their learning while they volunteer for more than five thousand hours on the YGA’s social innovation projects. In the framework of the strategic partnership conducted with YGA partners like Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke and University of California Berkeley, students come from these universities to work in the field together with YGA students.
Science migration to Anatolia
YGA’s project “science migration to Anatolia” targets children who are not familiar with science and aims to acquaint them in the field.
YGA graduates have prepared a science kit for this endeavor named “Twin.” They have called it Twin because one belongs to the supporter and the other is given free of charge to children in need.
Twin has been funded with the support of 924 people who have gathered 181 thousand Turkish Liras in two months’ time. YGA graduates have created resources thanks to the innovations they have developed on renewable energy and technology. These innovations have turned into enterprises with the same mentality as startups.
These innovations aim to provide 40 percent of income by 2020. YGA’s funding comes from crowdfunding, with more than 20 thousand individual supporters and more than 50 international companies who are strategic dream partners.