Historians may conclude that the most important thing going on in the world in the early 21st century was a stunning decline in human suffering.

As world leaders gather for the United Nations General Assembly this week, all the evidence suggests that we are at an inflection point for the ages. The number of people living in extreme poverty tumbled by half in two decades, and the number of small children dying has dropped by a similar proportion — that’s six million lives a year saved.

— Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, September 22, 2016


Karim Ajania, Director of the Pencils for Africa program

This is a very exciting time to nurture and to cultivate young 21st century social entrepreneurs.

As an educator, and as the director of the Pencils for Africa (PFA) program, it has been a privilege and a joy for me to see the 7 CEO’s featured on this website blossom into their full potential as aspiring social entrepreneurs. While young people have frequently held the ideal, throughout the ages, of wishing to make a difference in the world, there is no time like the present in our history, whereby young people can be given the tools of technology and the access to global networks, to actually realize their ideals for a better world by being empowered to make a real difference.

Moreover, the fact that the 7 CEO’s featured here are all based in the San Francisco Bay Area, a worldwide hub for progressive social entrepreneurship, means that their aspirations for a better world are being cultivated within an extensive social enterprise culture and support structure.

This includes a growing culture of Corporate Social Responsibility and the prospective support of forward-thinking San Francisco Bay Area technology companies and foundations which enable educational and humanitarian progress in the developing countries on the African continent.

These 7 CEO’s, all of whom are middle and high school students between the ages of 13 and 17, hold a hope and a beacon for their generation, as our future leaders and global policy makers.

— Karim Ajania, Director of the Pencils for Africa program

Let’s pause to acknowledge the greatest gains in human well-being in the history of our species — not to inspire complacency, but to spur our efforts to accelerate what may be the most important trend in the world today.

— Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, September 22, 2016

(To read the full article by Nicholas Kristof, “The Best News You Don’t Know”, click here).