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The JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP) program honors ten outstanding young people under the age of 40 each year. These individuals exemplify the spirit of the JCI Mission and provide extraordinary service to their communities. Whether through service, innovation, determination or revolutionary thinking, these young active citizens create positive impacts on a local and global level. These ten young active citizens will be honored during the 2018 JCI World Congress.

Narrowing the 2018 JCI TOYP top twenty finalists to the final ten honorees will be done not only by the final judging panel, comprised of representatives of select partner organizations and the JCI President, but also by a public popular online vote.

Below you can view the 20 finalists' biographies and accomplishments by clicking on their photo. The public online vote will calculate the number of likes each individual receives. Vote for a finalist by clicking on their photo to view their individual page and then clicking "Like."
Dima Al-Naeb
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Dima Al-Naeb
Academic Leadership
and/or Accomplishment
Cornel Amariei
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Cornel Amariei
Scientific and/or
Technological Development
Ganjavkhlan Chadraabal
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Ganjavkhlan Chadraabal
Contribution to Children, World
Peace, and/or Human Rights
Martin Güemes
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Martin Güemes
Political, Legal, and/or
Governmental Affairs
Tiffini Hein
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Tiffini Hein
Business, Economic, and/or
Entrepreneurial Accomplishment
Richard Javad Heydarian
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Richard Javad Heydarian
Political, Legal, and/or
Governmental Affairs
Melissa Johns
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Melissa Johns
Contribution to Children, World
Peace, and/or Human Rights
Alp Koksal
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Alp Koksal
Humanitarian and/or
Voluntary Leadership
Emilia Lahti
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Emilia Lahti
Contribution to Children, World
Peace, and/or Human Rights
Kamal Lamichhane
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Kamal Lamichhane
Academic Leadership
and/or Accomplishment
Dean Lomax
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Dean Lomax
Scientific and/or
Technological Development
Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil
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Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil
Academic Leadership
and/or Accomplishment
Ronivin Pagtakhan
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Ronivin Pagtakhan
Humanitarian and/or
Voluntary Leadership
Dana Reizniece-Ozola
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Dana Reizniece-Ozola
Political, Legal, and/or
Governmental Affairs
Maria Ritola
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Maria Ritola
Scientific and/or
Technological Development
Analía Salgueiro
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Analía Salgueiro
Contribution to Children, World
Peace, and/or Human Rights
Azzam Sheikh Alsouq
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Azzam Sheikh Alsouq
Humanitarian and/or
Voluntary Leadership
Koji Takahama
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Koji Takahama
Contribution to Children, World
Peace, and/or Human Rights
Mustafa Unal
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Mustafa Unal
Medical Innovation

Jacinta Uramah
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Jacinta Uramah
Business, Economic, and/or
Entrepreneurial Accomplishment
Dr. Dima Al-Naeb
JCI Syria
Academic Leadership and/or Accomplishment

As the only female student in her Ph.D. General Surgery program, Dr. Dima Al-Naeb worked extra hard to demonstrate her capacity to fellow students and professors, taking advanced learning programs while also completing up to 15 surgeries each day. During her studies, she realized that her home region of the Middle East and North Africa, like other developing countries, lacks medical attention beyond a cure, not considering the patients' comfort.

When the Syrian War broke out in 2011, Dr. Al-Naeb's workload grew as the number of doctors decreased and war injuries increased, but she never forgot her drive to improving the patients' quality of life and care, not only saving them. In Aleppo, then considered the most dangerous city in the world, without stable internet, no access to educational references, and trauma affecting everyone around her from patients to friends and family, she continued to pursue and obtain her Ph.D. at Aleppo University Hospital. Her persistence led her to becoming the first female Syrian citizen to obtain a PhD in General Surgery on quality of life.

Dr. Al-Naeb uses her expertise as doctor to saves lives and serves as a humanitarian who supports the medical needs of those suffering from the war in her community and country as a Public Health Associate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Dr. Al-Naeb's dedication to the patient's experience has proved to be an asset during the war, allowing her to remain focused on care while working under immense pressure during the crisis.
Cornel Amariei
JCI Romania
Scientific and/or Technological Development

Cornel Amariei was born into a family who managed several personal handicaps, forcing them to use creativity and innovation in everyday life. A bright mind from a very young age, Amariei began programming at 7 years old and earned his first medal in an international robotics competition by the time he was 14.

Once Amariei reached secondary school, he was already working on many innovative projects and cultivating communities for other adolescents interested in engineering and robotics throughout Romania. In university, Amariei fostered his creativity alongside computer science and engineering studies by playing music, writing a book and running his companies. He developed one of his main achievements during his second year at university—an invention described as glasses for the blind. lumen is a blind-assisting system that helps the visually impaired to navigate. Combining 3D sensors and advanced electric skin impulse devices, the system maps the environment in front of its user and informs the brain through electrical impulses. Testing proved the device useful indoors for the visually impaired, and further development of the 3D sensors is continuing to enable the device to also be useful outdoors.

Always combining his scientific knowledge and creativity, Amariei continued to work on e-mobility projects and other inventions before founding an innovation group. Within 18 months, the group gained international recognition and had applied for over 30 patents. Inspired by his parents and driven by his belief that innovation projects will be the vehicle of the future, Amariei continues to develop inventions that enhance mobility of people with disabilities, allowing them to access a full life with fewer obstacles.
Ganjavkhlan Chadraabal
JCI Mongolia
Contribution to Children, World Peace, and/or Human Rights

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that denies freedom to 20.9 million people around the world, many of whom either come from Mongolia or are sent to Mongolia and forced to work. While the Mongolian government does not meet the minimum standards to eliminate trafficking, this issue directly affects people of all kinds across the country.

It was upon meeting a man whose only daughter was a victim of human trafficking that led Ganjavkhlan Chadraabal to dedicate himself to ending human trafficking, which has been considered a silent cancer in Mongolia. First serving as a volunteer at the national center against violence, he soon began organizing grassroots projects, utilizing social media and grabbing the attention of traditional news outlets to bring about awareness and effect change. In 2013, Chadraabal launched the NGO Lantuun Dohio to fight against human trafficking and child abuse.

Recognizing that the fight against human trafficking was disproportionately led by women, Lantuun Dohio ignited the 100 Guys Against Human Trafficking campaign to engage and inspire men to act against human trafficking. To provide a longer-term solution, Chadraabal opened Magic Mongolia to be a safe haven for vulnerable children in need of protection from abuse, neglect and exploitation, giving them shelter and professional support.

Since its founding, Lantuun Dohio has conducted over 30 projects of various scales to prevent crime and combat human trafficking in Mongolia. Chadraabal has not only raised awareness about this pervasive yet silent issue but also saved the lives of vulnerable children who may have fallen victim to human trafficking.
Martin Güemes
JCI Argentina
Political, Legal, and/or Governmental Affairs

As the world becomes more interconnected, governments and citizens must transform the way they connect. In the City of Salta, Argentina, Martin Güemes is implementing a plan to reduce the digital gap and modernize local government.

He launched a mobile app allowing citizens to participate in the administrative process by attaching documents and images to raise concerns and offer solutions to government officials. Güemes ensured the app was adaptable for visually impaired citizens, allowing marginalized groups to participate in community issues and government solutions. Virtual Line is another app that facilitates citizen interaction with government offices, allowing them to check their mobile devices to see wait times prior to arrival. Leveraging technology adds value people's time, making their interaction with the government efficient and giving them back the hours they used to lose waiting in government lines.

Ensuring this kind of disruption to traditional practices continues, Güemes has implemented courses teaching 8000 people how to use this technology and collaborated with local universities to further educate public employees. He has worked hard to install antennas throughout Salta to provide citizens free, accessible internet in town squares, especially for those without internet access at home. After only one year in public office and thanks to his pioneering modernization plan, the City of Salta was selected as a Smart City of 2016 along with Miraflores, Peru, Paraguay Central and Medellin, Colombia.

Güemes is driving the City of Salta to be an example of how local governments can leverage technology to disrupt how they work for and with their community to advance as a city a region.
Tiffini Hein
JCI South Africa
Business, Economic and/or Entrepreneurial Accomplishment

South Africa faces a high number of road accidents, claiming the lives of school children walking to and from school each year. As a 23-year-old mother, Tiffini Hein became motivated to find a solution for this devasting challenge.

Hein wanted to create a safer way to transport children home from school while also uplifting women through employment opportunities. Thus, Cool Kids Cab was created—a personalized transportation service that provides a safe environment for children in transit and gives parents complete peace of mind. Starting with only one car and driver, Hein has since expanded her fleet to an operation of 30 seven-seater vehicles with an all-female staff of 40 drivers. Each team member is extensively trained in childcare, car seat installation, advanced driving skills and hijack prevention. Differentiating Cool Kids Cab from other transit options in the South African market, the vehicles are specially fitted with state-of-the-art technology that enables hands free communication, live tracking and on-board cameras so parents can easily monitor their children's rides.

Cool Kids Cab has further expanded to allow small groups of women to provide safe transportation in townships, providing access for even more women to earn profits and sustain their families, despite the underdeveloped infrastructure of their community. Cool Kids Cab has provided a safe and sustainable mode of transportation for young students attending 150 different schools and achieved 5 million injury-free kilometers of driving, all while empowering women and effectively engaging them in the economy.
Richard Javad Heydarian
JCI Philippines
Political, Legal, and/or Governmental Affairs

In an increasingly interconnected world, geopolitics can be complicated and national issues can be difficult for the public to understand. The Philippines is no exception, where change can be perceived as negative, leadership can be influenced by corruption and regional disputes are complex. Richard Javad Heydarian has used his writing skills to address the growing need for the public to understand the changing landscape of political thinking.

As a leading global expert on security issues across Asia, it has been said that, "Heydarian has few peers when it comes to bringing us to an understanding of… the most geopolitically dynamic part of the globe." Along with writing renowned publications including How Capitalism Failed the Arab World and most recently The Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt Against Elite Democracy, Heydarian serves as a non-partisan policy advisor and socially-engaged scholar to explore the most pressing political and socio-economic challenges of our time. As an academic and global affairs expert, he has authored close to 1000 articles and is regularly interviewed by leading media outlets such as BBC, Bloomberg and CNBC. Through these regular media appearances, he regularly uses his platform to create an informed citizenry and raise consciousness about key challenges facing the Philippines and the broader region with constructive dialogue on how to move forward.

With each article, publication and appearance, Heydarian serves to achieve his broader mission of inspiring a new generation of leaders to push the boundaries of positive and lasting change for a better Philippines and a better world.
Melissa Johns
JCI United Kingdom
Contribution to Children, World Peace, and/or Human Rights

Despite being born with only one arm, from a young age Melissa Johns was driven to be an actor. After years of hiding her physical form and feeling shame, she realized that her disability provided a unique platform to increase the representation of disabled people both on screen and stage. Overcoming many barriers to succeed in her chosen field, Johns has dedicated herself as an ambassador for individuals just like her.

Johns has worked both in TV and theatre, but it was after working in a children's ward at The Royal Free hospital school in London that she discovered her ability to relate to and encourage young who are people facing the same self-doubt she once did. This discovery led her to launch the Quite Frankly Theater and co-found the TripleC organization that uses theater- and drama-based workshops to create diverse opportunities for young performers. Committed to creating impact, the message she conveys throughout her workshops is for young people to never hide what makes them different, because it is their differences that make them unique.

Acting as a role model and mentor, Johns has shown that having a disability is not a disadvantage. Dedicated to overcoming the taboo of being disabled and in the limelight, she has started conversations and utilized her experiences to be a community advocate for equality. Johns' efforts inspire others with disabilities to focus on their unique values and together break down barriers to ensure equal opportunities for actors of all abilities.
Alp Koksal
JCI Turkey
Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership

As an adolescent, Alp Koksal had the opportunity to study in both Turkey and the United States for his high school and undergraduate education. This unique multicultural exposure to vastly different educational models revealed to him that how academic systems are organized and run has a greater effect on what motivates students and impacts their career than what is taught in the classroom.

Koksal began examining how to best educate students and empower them to secure successful careers as a doctoral researcher and education advocate. His research uncovered that technology and widespread access to mobile phones and internet access combined are an opportunity to transform the education model, provide more open and equal access to knowledge and better prepare people for future jobs. Leveraging these opportunities, Koksal left his job as a traditional educator, lecturer and researcher because he believed that working at a top university would not create the most impact in his community. Dedicated to developing a platform that brings world-class education into everyone's hands, Koksal is the director of Khan Academy TR, an online learning platform that provides world-class education to anyone, anywhere—for free. While the Khan Academy platform is available around the world with content in 36 languages, it is the largest free online resource in Turkey, providing content for lifelong learning as well as one third of the digital content used in all K12 schools across the country.

Driven by the belief that the current educational system doesn't adequately prepare students, Koksal's innovative approach to education and learning advocates for solutions for youth and adults alike that match education with a changing economy.
Emilia Lahti
JCI Finland
Contribution to Children, World Peace, and/or Human Rights

Interpersonal violence is one of the most pervasive yet under-recognized human rights issues in the world. In 2010, Emilia Lahti became one of the hundreds of millions who have experienced violence from an intimate partner. In the aftermath of her trauma, she experienced how society silently shames and places blame on survivors, rendering them weak and damaged. That fear of shame leads many to remain silent about their experience, enabling violence to continue—Lahti faced this fear to not only share her story but to shine a light on interpersonal violence. She has now become an outspoken peace activist for compassion and nonviolence.

In 2013, Lahti began pioneering research on the Finish construct "sisu," described as determination in the face of adversity. She soon founded the nonprofit Sisu Not Silence, which aims to change the narrative around interpersonal violence by highlighting the strength, courage and wisdom of overcomers. Instead of the term survivor, Lahti uses the word overcomer to highlight the power of language and stories to help render the positive change we need.

To promote the cause, Lahti organized a 50-day cycling campaign across the length of New Zealand. During the journey, 15 events united communities to foster a future with zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. Her campaign has been featured in global media reaching over 2 million views.

Lahti is forming a paradigm shift in how we collectively speak about overcomers of interpersonal violence and sexual abuse, setting in motion a powerful chain of events that changed her life and are changing people's mindsets and actions globally.
Kamal Lamichhane
JCI Nepal
Academic Leadership and/or Accomplishment

Education and economic empowerment are at the forefront of sustainable development, however persons with disabilities are not often considered in solutions. Dr. Kamal Lamichhane experienced this first hand, having been born with visual impairments and deprived of receiving an education until the age of 12.

Once able to attend school, Dr. Lamichhane realized his teachers and peers had not faced such obstacles, and his community needed to better understand social welfare and the rights of people with disabilities, which he has carried with him ever since. As a university student, he had the opportunity to participate in a competitive training program in Japan, revealing to him the country's disability-friendly infrastructure. His captivation by the great divide between the access he found in Nepal versus Japan encouraged him to delve deeper into the intersection of disability studies, education and economic empowerment, ultimately becoming the first blind person in Nepal to obtain a doctorate degree.

He has since continued to work in the academic field, using his personal experience and a vast array of empirical works to invalidate myths and assumptions about persons with disabilities, encouraging investment into disability issues. He currently works toward educational development that is inclusive of people with disabilities across all levels of education. He also served as an expert in important meetings that drafted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the main aim of ensuring disability was including in the SDGs.

Dr. Lamichhane's brings to light how the world can foster social inclusion and ensure disabled people are actively involved in education, economies and global sustainable development.
Dean Lomax
JCI United Kingdom
Scientific and/or Technological Development

Dean Lomax has understood the transformative power of science since he was young. He collected fossils as a child, sparking his scientific interests. However, growing up in a small suburban town in the United Kingdom where many people and teachers dismissed his aspirations, Lomax found that opportunities to pursue science and specifically paleontology were extremely limited.

After completing high school, unlike many of his classmates, he continued with a less traditional career progression by choosing hands-on experience over the pursuit of higher education. Lomax fundraised in order to capitalize on an opportunity to start his career with a four-month excavation expedition in the United States of America, followed by a second expedition one year later. During these excavations, he focused on exhibition, research and fieldwork and even had the opportunity to participate in excavating tyrannosaur bones. He additionally volunteered with local museums during this period, which resulted in his rediscovery of an entire collection of more than 12,000 unexamined fossils.

Now at the age of 28, Lomax has been working in the paleontology field for almost 10 years, achieving in a short period what many would consider a lifetime of achievements. Understanding the value of self-teaching, Lomax has since focused much of his work on educating the public and inspiring others to become passionate about scientific fields.

From writing books and publishing articles, to giving radio interviews and guest lectures, Lomax aims to make careers in the sciences accessible to a far wider audience. He has become an ambassador for paleontology, making the study the planet's history newly exciting for generations of young people.
Dr. Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil
JCI Turkey
Academic Leadership and/or Accomplishment

As a young girl, Dr. Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil was inspired by how the stars light the night sky and dreamt of becoming a scientist who could uncover the mysteries of the universe. Dr. Mutlu-Pakdil faced obstacles as a first-generation university graduate and Muslim woman, she was driven by her passion to become an astrophysicist.

As a Ph.D. student, Dr. Mutlu-Pakdil focuses on super-massive black holes and peculiar ringed galaxies. Her research has led to discovering an extremely rare galaxy with a unique circular structure, which is now commonly referred to as Burçin's Galaxy. Her work has provided the first description of a double ringed elliptical galaxy that challenges current theories and assumptions about how the universe works and how galaxies start and evolve. Her dedicated research and thirst to uncover the deepest mysteries of the galaxy combines theory and modeling to develop a comprehensive picture of the formation, evolution, and present-day characteristics of galaxies. Her investigation into dwarf-like galaxies has given insight into the larger structure of the universe, as they are linked to the Big Bang, as well as dark matter and dark energy.

While unquestionably contributing new and valuable research in her field, Dr. Mutlu-Pakdil hopes that other women, other minorities and other faithful people face fewer obstacles than she has. She actively serves organizations that are working to improve the climate for women and minorities in science. Dr. Mutlu-Pakdil gives back to the community by providing impactful education programs that make science more accessible to everyone.
Ronivin Pagtakhan
JCI Philippines
Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership

Over the past decade, cases of HIV have increased dramatically across the Philippines, one of the few countries with a rising incidence of the disease. However, those living with HIV often have no knowledge about the disease and find that there is no counseling available, thus often making them feel they must keep their status hidden from their family and friends due to stigma.

Serving as a nurse and educator Ronivin "Vinn" Pagtakhan, does what he can in his daily life to help people by taking to twitter to answer health questions and providing compassionate answers to these people who were seeking honest and accessible health advice. Noticing that many of the questions he would receive were about HIV and sexually transmitted infections, Pagtakhan founded the organization LoveYourself.

LoveYourself's aim is to open self-sustaining resource centers for youth and LGBT communities that offer education and counseling. These centers try to serve as a model community by creating safe environments that embrace and nurture an individual's self-worth. LoveYourself centers provide a vital service to local communities, seeing over 120 clients daily and contributing 17% of the nation's newly diagnosed HIV reports. The organization bridges gaps in the HIV continuum of care by scaling up HIV testing, linking those diagnosed with treatment and counseling, and creating a community that has led to reduced loss of life.

Pagtakhan empowers LGBT persons, youth and the general public to recognize their own value and self-worth, take care of their health and well-being, and in the process, join in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Dana Reizniece-Ozola
JCI Latvia
Political, Legal, and/or Governmental Affairs

While the European Union is comprised of over 500 million inhabitants, the small Eastern European Nation of Latvia has a population of only 2 million. Though Latvia is a relatively small nation, they often serve as a model for development, empowerment and tolerance for the region.

Much of this can be attributed to the exemplary work of individuals like Dana Reizniece-Ozola, who served three terms in the Latvian Parliament before becoming the Minister of Economics in 2014 at only 33 years old. Under her leadership, Latvia has taken significant action to implement reforms, diminish corruption, and improve the management of state-owned enterprises. This work led to Latvia's membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Two years later, as Minister of Finance, Reizniece-Ozola overcame political pressure to lead very ambitious mid-term tax reforms that increases the state revenues, decreases economic inequality and ensures business competition. During her time as the Minister of Finance, Latvia has maintained one of the lowest debt levels in the European Union and experienced a budget surplus for the first time in 25 years. Giving credit to her exemplary record, in 2017 she was recognized as Finance Minister of the Year in Europe.

Reizniece-Ozola is viewed by her peers as holding a strict fiscal stance and also contributing to positive economic results for Latvia with an ambitious structural reform program. Leading by example, she continues to shape economic reform and development within Latvia and across the region.
Maria Ritola
JCI Finland
Scientific and/or Technological Development

As the world rapidly changes, so must the creative and innovative solutions to the challenges we face. Driven by a sense of curiosity and a passion for finding solutions, Maria Ritola believes technology is the solution to enabling large-scale transformations in the world.

There are 3000 research papers published daily, providing a massive opportunity to accelerate scientific findings, yet we don't have the capacity to efficiently understand and manage this enormous data mass. Ritola took matters into her own hands by inventing Iris.ai, an artificial intelligence science assistant that reads over 80 million available research papers, helping its users find the necessary information from different disciplines without needing to know exact keywords. This AI assistant takes on the role of a researcher by generating new hypotheses based on related data across multiple disciplines. Iris.ai saves researchers more than 75% of the resources and time required to conduct research surveys by reducing a 100-day process down to 25 days. Iria.ai is being used free of charge by over 190,000 researchers and scientists worldwide.

While Ritola understands the great value artificial intelligence provides, she also believes there should be dialogue among experts from academia, business, governments and civil society to explore how technology can be ethically used to provide valuable economic and social impact. Her invention is making research and scientific development as efficient as possible, which leads to her ultimate goal of using Artificial Intelligence and other innovative technologies to tackle our major global challenges like global warming and curing fatal diseases.
Analía Salgueiro
JCI Argentina
Contribution to Children, World Peace and/or Human Rights

As a psychologist, Analía Salgueiro has consistently paired her profession with a passion to treat children, especially those from marginalized communities with serious psychopathologies.

In 2008, she founded the Psychological Attention Center named "Thinking to Recreate" providing psychosocial treatment to vulnerable children and adolescents. Believing that a community must come together for healing, Salgueiro works with families and neighborhood networks to coordinate reflection spaces that provide peer-led support to groups throughout the community, such as women, educators and vulnerable children.

Salgueiro works tirelessly to support and treat children and adolescents who have faced sexual assault, struggled with substance use and acute grief. Turning her efforts toward natural disaster response, in 2013, she applied grief psychology to children suffering from shock and acute grief following flooding in La Plata. Following the disaster, she prepared schools and teachers to adequately support the community's children. As president of Hora de Obrar Foundation, she committed to developing and delivering emergency and disaster training in vulnerable communities. Due to her spreading notoriety on disaster response, Salguiero was invited to work in Paraguay and Uruguay following natural disasters and was then also selected to train on disaster policy and practice in Taiwan.

Salguiero has trained and developed teams of professionals within the community who share the same passion and ability to provide healthy solutions to children and adolescents. "We are not born alone, we do not grow alone and if we are lucky, we do not die alone," she said. Just as much as vulnerable youth require tenderness and support, so do those who seek to serve them.
Azzam Sheikh Alsouq
JCI Syria
Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership

When the Syrian Crisis began in 2011, Azzam Sheik Alsouq and his friends noticed garbage being dumped in the streets due to a lack of municipal services. Sheik Alsouq was quickly drawn to supporting his community and worked with his friends to develop community-based initiatives to clean their neighborhood streets.

Sheik Alsouq began to volunteer, serving as a nurse treating war injuries and quickly joined the Syrian Red Crescent. Supporting the crisis situation gave him a first-hand look at the overcrowded shelters and the major gaps facing displaced persons.

In 2015, Sheik Alsouq coordinated the first outreach volunteer group in his home city of Homs with UNICEF. 100 community representatives from different groups joined the outreach team who focused on gaining and spreading skills including mobilization, community-based initiatives, interview and communication skills, facilitating awareness sessions and organizing recreational events. After working as a Life Skills Trainer for the Danish Refugee Council and implementing 40 community-based initiatives, Sheik Alsouq shifted his work from his home town to other areas across Syria. He has provided emergency health response in five camps for refugees and internally displaced persons inhabited by 130,000 individuals. Since then, he has founded the Health Working Group for Refugees in Syria, which coordinates the health response from national and international agencies.

Led by his belief that we live our life when we live for others, Sheik Alsouq has never let his own status as an internally displaced person get in the way of serving others in need. His greater purpose to reach the most vulnerable groups drives him to create positive impact in his community.
Koji Takahama
JCI Japan
Contribution to Children, World Peace, and/or Human Rights

Having access to technology and global connectedness are widely understood as being vital to accelerating human progress and developing knowledge societies. However, over five billion people around the world lack access to electricity and the internet.

Koji Takahama is working to close the digital divide with his nonprofit organization, Class for Everyone, which aims to provide children with the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) needed to advance educational opportunities in Asia and Africa. Class for Everyone donates reusable devices and installs solar panels in regions that lack the infrastructure needed for internet access. By creating an environment where computers and projectors are easily accessible, schools have been able provide students with video lessons and ICT trainings. To date, Class for Everyone has donated 4183 computers and tablets helping over 50,000 children across 28 countries using mobile library vehicles. As a result, students are more motivated to learn, the number of students dropping out has dramatically reduced and a greater portion of students are continuing on to secondary schools. Additionally, Class for Everyone combats climate change by only reusing donated computers and mobile devices, which saves the planet of the 7,000 tons of discarded metal each year and reduces CO2 emissions.

Takahama works to close the digital divide, allowing people to increase their quality of life and increase their contribution to the economy. His work is broadly targeted at youth and schools, helping children realize their own potential, creating equal educational opportunities all around the world.
Dr. Mustafa Unal
JCI Turkey
Medical Innovation

Since a young age, Dr. Mustafa Unal has been fascinated with engineering and its ability to provide innovative solutions to real world problems. Despite being born into a modest family in southeastern Turkey, Dr. Unal worked tirelessly to pursue interdisciplinary studies and dedicate his academic career to the development of new clinical tools for early-diagnosis of diseases.

Combining his engineering background with his interest in human anatomy, Dr. Unal obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Case Western Reserve, where his specific passion for science led him to develop a new device that nondestructively assesses the hydration status of bone. By developing the Raman Spectroscopy (RS), a laser based vibrational spectroscopy, researchers are able to better understand the collagen-and mineral-bound water compartments in bone. This ground-breaking research improves the risk assessment of bone quality and skeletal fragility of disease-induced bone affecting patients with osteoporosis, diabetes and cancer by explaining up to 80% variance in bone strength and ductility.

Looking to further his impact, Dr. Unal joined the lab of Professor Jeffry S. Nyman at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he is working as Postdoctoral Research Associate contributing to the labs research and testing in RS device prototypes. His research is at the intersection of mechanical engineering, orthopedics, and biomedical spectroscopy development. As a leader in the field, he has dedicated his efforts to more than academic success by overcoming the limitations of current clinical tools and developing new devices to improve the lives of patients around the world.
Jacinta Uramah
JCI Nigeria
Business, Economic, and/or Entrepreneurial Accomplishment

Food insecurity is a pervasive problem across the African continent, however where others saw a challenge, Jacinta Uramah saw an opportunity for economic empowerment. Recognizing that while agriculture is essential to Nigeria's economy and a growing population is diminishing resources, Uramah determined that her country needs a more sustainable agricultural ecosystem.

Uramah founded The Green Generation Initiative to address this need. Providing support to smallhold farmers and teaching young school children the business of agriculture, the organization aims to create a sustainable agricultural ecosystem through research, technology and empowerment. The organization focuses in three areas: research development, quality agricultural education and capacity building of actors in the agricultural value chain.

Uramah's organization has provided training and mentorship to farmers on nutrition assessment, sustainable supply chains, technology in agriculture, food security analysis and market penetration. Her initiative has organized over 2000 rural women into cooperatives that link them with adequate financing for their agricultural services. At the same time, they have trained teachers and students in vegetable production skills and raised funds for over 120 schools to establish vegetable gardens using climate-smart agricultural practices.

To date, Uramah's has impacted over 21,000 smallhold farmers and young people across Nigeria while also mobilizing the agricultural industry to redefine its standards for sustainable business, production and consumption. With continued efforts to bring innovation and agriculture to youth, she hopes to transform the minds of a new generation of farmers who will be able to realize the change needed.
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