This year’s cohort of 80 finalists convened virtually over the course of two weeks due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The group included a mechanic from Kumasi, Ghana; an artist from Belo Horizonte, Brazil; a writer from Kolkata, India; and an engineer from Charlotte, North Carolina; whose curiosities ranged from theology to activism to civil engineering. Women comprised 58% of the finalist cohort.
As their eyes were opened to new cultures and connections, the students imagined new futures, new structures, and new hopes with other youth across multiple continents. Finalists also connected with mentor speakers, including Nobel Laureate and founder of Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus, and internationally recognized keynote speaker Tariq Qureishy.
A Global, Interdisciplinary Classroom
In 2020, we launched a virtual seminar experience for program candidates who successfully moved through the first two rounds of selection. A global classroom of students, from Chittagong to Dakar and Almaty to Sao Paulo, joined senior Harvard faculty from a range of academic backgrounds for sessions curated to their intellectual and professional interests.
Ranging from an exploration of elephant habitat design to the use of data visualization across languages, these sessions are designed to encourage, affirm, and inspire Crossroads students. Interdisciplinarity is a central facet of the Crossroads Virtual Program, and students often participate in both science- and humanities-focused sessions.
In 2020, a team of 12 senior Harvard faculty taught the Crossroads Virtual Program to Crossroads students. The faculty involved and the courses they taught can be viewed in the image to the right.