What matters most to me is making meaningful improvements in my native Iran. Although my short-term dream is to form a successful Internet business, my long-term aspiration is to graduate from business to politics. I take my cue from America, where industry leaders like Michael Bloomberg have revitalized communities and made great people leaders.
Iran has been ravaged by several decades of “ivory tower” politics, corruption, unemployment and caste divide. For the nation to survive, a new breed of leaders must step in and make desperately needed changes. Sadly, Iran's younger generation has grown apathetic toward their community and society. After years of political corruption and rampant violence in elections, many have lost hope of a better future. I plan to be an advocate for change.
Sadly, Iran's myriad problems have had terrible ramifications on her people. After decades of civil unrest, millions of children have been left without parents, and even fewer have enjoyed the benefits of an education. Throughout my childhood, I worked as a volunteer for Children First, a group that organized street shows, cultural exhibits and fundraisers to benefit abandoned children. As a volunteer, I organized the events, raised money and handled local marketing and publicity. But my greatest joy was simply spending time with the children.
My first visit was eye-opening. Raised in a financially-secure home, I always enjoyed the love and attention of two doting parents. In contrast, the thirty-one orphaned boys shared a tiny house in the ghetto with one teacher and two nannies. Although the adults provided food and shelter, they did not offer parental love. At every visit, the children embraced me as a long-lost friend and enchanted me with their playfulness. My time with the boys was both exhilarating and sobering. Although I was delighted to enrich their day, I was saddened to know that they survived on charity and...