2015 is the Year of Global Action

Our role in shaping next-generation leaders


By Andre Gouyet

A few weeks ago, the Blackbox Team was invited to take part in the 2015 UN Charter Anniversary Celebrations. Commemorating the 70th year of activities, the United Nations invited key decision makers and visionaries to take part in a global discussion on creating positive change. The message was clear, we need more people to spearhead social initiatives across the world and become role models for the next generations.

Blackbox Executives Fadi Bishara and Ana Mihail were invited to several receptions in San Francisco revolving around social entrepreneurship. Blackbox Intern Andre Gouyet attended a speech delivered by United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-Moon on Stanford Campus.

The conversation revolved around the UN’s renewed efforts to combat rising social and environmental issues.

One of the main takeaways from the event was a call for Silicon Valley leadership and a renewed emphasis on entrepreneurship.

The Blackbox Team is committed to collaborate — with the United Nations or other organizations — on issues plaguing the world today


Speaking at the heart of Stanford University’s historic campus, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was quick to point out all too familiar world issues — climate change, refugee numbers, violent extremism. The urgency in Ban Ki-Moon’s words was palpable. “2015 is the year of global action — it is the most important year of humanity,” said Ban Ki-Moon. The attentive crowd, ranging from college students and faculty to high-ranking government officials, nodded in agreement.

He pointed out that a lack of leadership could be the cause. He cautions that recklessly overstepping counterterrorism initiatives prompts violent extremism. Or, on the other side of the spectrum, a lack of ethical government oversight fuels injustice and inequality.

Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten

Ban Ki-Moon’s words are in line with Silicon Valley’s approach on collaboration — the pay-it-forward mentality has been ingrained in our culture. The wealth of knowledge and capital in the Bay Area leaves us very well placed to make a difference and we definitely should.

At Blackbox, our mission is to empower international startups with Silicon Valley resources. We believe that change happens at an individual level and put a strong emphasis on leadership and mindset. Our startups have proved again and again that they are not confined by their resources. They defy the odds, are able to grow across borders and improve their local communities. It is for them that we exist and are thrilled to look back at how they develop into true role models. It’s our entrepreneurial peace march.

The Secretary-General also emphasized the link between financial and societal gains during an exclusive tech roundtable in San Francisco where Blackbox founder Fadi Bishara attended. “I know the leaders in this room have achieved tremendous success by embracing great challenges and turning them into new market opportunities. When it comes to achieving the sustainable development goals, I count on you to show the same visionary leadership,” said Ban Ki-Moon.

We applaud the UN’s initiative and their openness to call on these organizations and help us collaborate on a global level. As we grow, we hope to play an increasing role in developing entrepreneurial leaders around the world. If you share our thoughts on the matter, we hope to hear from you and collaborate on making the change we want to see in the world.

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