Last weekend I attended an event organized by George Washington School of Business (GWSB) called “Business Gives Back.” Funds raised from these events are given to student-selected organizations and initiatives. At this particular event, a student who led a high impact initiative in the DC or global community was going to be given an award.
I am very happy to report that Amir Abdallah, who founded the Financial Literacy Program at GWSB, won the award. Amir founded the GWSB Financial Literacy Program (FLP) last spring in response to the growing need for increased engagement in the community around the issue of financial literacy. The FLP is a student-run volunteer placement program that sources financial literacy volunteering opportunities in the DC area. It is open to all GW graduate students, faculty, and alumni, regardless of program or professional background, and equips volunteers with the training and support-base to learn and spread financial literacy throughout our community. The mission is to provide opportunities that are mutually beneficial, meaningful, and challenging and that utilize the talents of the GW community to spread financial empowerment on and off campus. As their website, which is listed at the end of this post, says: “As responsible professionals and recipients of higher education, we are particularly well positioned to serve as ambassadors of financial education.”
Amir emailed me last year asking if we could meet to discuss financial literacy. I hadn’t met him and was curious to hear about his interest in financial literacy. The person who came to my office that day was a very soft-spoken Global MBA student, who sat down with a notebook and took many notes while we talked. He told me about his program, the way it is organized, and what it aims to achieve. He spoke with simplicity but with the pragmatism of a person who understands that things need to get done and implemented. There was passion in his voice and in his words for this topic—something I am always paying attention to.
Perhaps because he is slim and so articulate, that day Amir reminded me of a young President Obama; a young person who has thought to use his knowledge and skills to lead initiatives that can benefit society. And on Saturday, we celebrated the Financial Literacy Program that, from its inception, has reached 340 individuals (many of whom are students in poor schools). Amir was there on center stage. He described the program yet again using the combination of passion and pragmatism he had displayed when we first talked. He was irresistible and won by a wide margin. This blog is to celebrate a young leader.
You can see Amir’s big smile in the Washington Post article about the event: (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/gwu-honors-grads-social-responsibility/2012/02/03/gIQAmc39rQ_story.html).