Crossroads Emerging Leaders ProgramTransforming the lives of low-income, first-in-family to college students.
Students from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia convened in Dubai for the inaugural Crossroads Emerging Leaders Program in 2017. What began as a coffee conversation between HBS Professors Tarun Khanna and Karim Lakhani about expanding educational opportunities led to a partnership with the HBS Club of the GCC and rapidly grew into a credible and fast-growing leadership program for talented but under-resourced young people around the world.
The first year of the program welcomed students from Armenia, Egypt, Ghana, India, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Nepal, Reunion Island, Saudi Arabia, and Sri Lanka. In addition to their regional diversity, selected students came from a large breadth of academic backgrounds. Sessions during the in-Dubai program, led by Khanna, Lakhani, as well as fellow Harvard Professors Kristin Fabbe and Carrie Elkins, covered topics such as crowdsourcing, societal harmony, and healthcare. In the global, interdisciplinary classroom, students grappled with case studies from Bhutan, Iraq, and Venezuela, considering innovative and humane social solutions.
In addition to the academic curriculum, classroom discussions included mentor talks by executives from souq.com, the Dubai International Finance Center, Thumbay Medical Group, Careem, and Air Arabia. Students additionally had the opportunity to visit industry sites around Dubai, such as Alserkal Avenue, Air Arabia, Dubai Future Accelerators, and the Burj Khalifa.
The first year of the program established a robust momentum and inspired students to “think big, work hard, and stay focused.” It fostered motivation among the students and helped them envision new educational possibilities for their communities.
Cultural diversity was one of the things that worked best in this program. There were representatives from different countries and the interaction of the students with each other has really helped us change our perspective about others.