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Essay Winners Announced in Youth Jobs Innovation Challenge

Maxwell Hall, Senior Media Manager: Tel.: +41(0)79 329 3500, E-mail:

  • Three winners announced in Global Shapers essay competition to find solutions to the worldwide crisis of youth unemployment
  • First place went to May Habib (Lebanon), second place to Ravi Subramanian (India), third place to Vidyadhar Prabhudesa (India)  
  • The author of the best essay receives US$ 10,000, second and third place winners are awarded US$ 5,000 and US$ 2,500, respectively.
  • For more information on the Global Shapers, please visit

Geneva, Switzerland, 2 May 2012 – The World Economic Forum and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, have announced the winners of their global essay competition on youth unemployment, The Youth Jobs Innovation Challenge

First place was awarded to May Habib, a social entrepreneur from Lebanon who is based in Dubai and runs the online translation service Qordoba.  Her essay argues that creating platforms that bring young people into a global marketplace for talent is a viable and effective starting point to help young people identify opportunities to earn a living

Second place was awarded to Mr. Ravi Subramanian, a social entrepreneur and IT specialist from India.  His essay focused on plugging the employment gap by creating informal commercial opportunities outside of those traditionally provided by the private sector and government.

Third place was awarded to Vidyadhar Prabhudesai, a founding member of LeadCap Ventures and head of Voice of Youth, an e-learning programme which aims to provide India her future "one million leaders".  He addressed the issues of matching the skills of young people with those required by the labour market. 

The winning essays can be accessed here:

The competition aims to give voice to young people on how to tackle the growing crisis of youth unemployment.  More than 1.2 billion young people will enter the labour market in the next 10 years with only 300 million jobs awaiting them. 

The essay competition was launched in January 2012 at the 42nd World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters. ‘Growth and employment’ were a key issue of concern and discussions at the meeting. 

As part of the challenge, the question, “What can the global community do to create jobs for my generation?” was put to the Forum’s Global Shapers Community to encourage new models, bold ideas and personal leadership among the community. The Global Shapers form a multistakeholder community of outstanding individuals from business, government, civil society, social entrepreneurship and the media between the ages of 20 and 30 who demonstrate great potential for future leadership. 

David Aikman, Head of the Global Shapers Community at the World Economic Forum, said: “There were many qualified applicants and reviewing the essays was fascinating – truly a pleasure.  I congratulate all of the Shapers for their inherent ambition to explore actionable, scalableand transferable models to address youth unemployment; and I hope that other organizations will find ways to engage youth in generating creative solutions to help address the world’s biggest challenges.” 

IFC Executive Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer Lars Thunell said: "More than 200 million people around the world are jobless – and a disproportionate number of them are young people. Ms. Habib's essay gives us valuable insight into this challenge from the point of view of youth, a critical partner for public and private efforts to create employment.”

The winners were judged against a field of more than 45 entries from around the world. The panel of judges consisted of members of the Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment, IFC staff and internationally recognized experts from the private sector, government and academia. 

The essay winners will take part in a public session on youth unemployment at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, North Africa and Eurasia in Istanbul from 4 to 6 June. 

Notes to Editors

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