Hayat Sindi's i2 Institute connects youth with opportunity

Hayat Sindi sees a gap. The youth of her native country, Saudi Arabia, are very well-educated, with $40 billion invested in education and training in 2011 alone. But they are lacking opportunities. In fact, 43% of Saudi Arabian youth between the ages of 20-24 are unemployed and 70% want to leave the country* – some dire stats when looking at the future of Saudi Arabia and the morale of its youth.

As the first female from the Gulf to earn a PhD in biotechnology, the co-founder of Diagnostics For All, a visiting scholar at Harvard University, and PopTech 2009 Social Innovation and 2010 Science Fellows, Sindi wanted to provide Saudi Arabian youth, and young people from around the Middle East, with opportunities to apply the education they received to entrepreneurial and scientific endeavors - just as she had. In exploring how she could use her education and training to help these young people, she founded the i2 Institute, which she recently launched from the PopTech stage.

The i2 Institute was created to promote imagination and ingenuity for the next generation of innovators, bridging the gap between education and opportunity. Through fellowship programs, training, a peer community, annual conferences, a mentor network and financial investment, i2 hopes to function as an ecosystem that connects science to social need and people to possibility.

“My passion has been about improving the quality of science and engaging and inspiring the hearts and minds of young people. Strong societies depend on them. The future depends on them,” Hayat stated emphatically from the PopTech stage. We look forward to following the i2 Institute as the organization’s work unfolds.

* Source: i2 Institute

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