Efforts to find solutions to Lebanon’s increasing problems have been on the rise among Lebanese locals and ex-pats alike. A remarkable example of such efforts is the new MIT Lebanon Challenge.
Jad Ojjeh is a Lebanese MBA Candidate at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is now directing a much-needed initiative to support his home country during its compounding crises.
The MIT Lebanon Challenge2020 is an upcoming competition that brings together skilled Lebanese, in Lebanon and abroad, who may alone lack the resources or push needed to transform their creative solutions into real, productive actions.
The event seeks to assemble hundreds of Lebanese from different backgrounds and of various skillsets to form capable teams that can bring to the table some unique perspectives of Lebanon’s challenging issues and, ultimately, provide out-of-the-box solutions.
The initiative’s ultimate priority is Lebanon and its people, especially the vulnerable, who are now in desperate need of untraditional solutions to fix their current untraditional, distressing way of life.
It tackles three main tracks: Basic needs (food, water, waste management, etc…), industrial economy (agriculture and self-sufficiency), and knowledge economy (improving the digital/technology sector to create better opportunities).
The MIT Lebanon Challenge will divide 750 participants into a large number of teams.
Then, the teams will compete to create solutions to very specific problems in the aforementioned tracks, using the help of expert mentors, guides, workshops, and other useful resources to support their efforts.
When the competition ends, the teams will present their respective solutions before a panel of judges from different fields of expertise to complement the different tracks.
Finally, with the help of its numerous partners, the MIT Lebanon Challenge will provide the selected teams the support and resources needed for them to materialize their useful ideas and implement them to aid Lebanon.
Alongside a team of organizers and colleagues, Ojjeh is preparing for the launch of the MIT Lebanon Challenge this Friday, June 26th. The event (hackathon) will run for 48 hours before the results come out.
Notably, Ojjeh told Arab News that the project will steer away as much as possible from the public sector’s intervention and rely instead on the abilities of the chosen teams to implement their plans by themselves.
The MIT Lebanon Challenge is an “apolitical, non-sectarian, independent event working toward a better Lebanon for everyone in Lebanon,” he explained.
Moreover, Ojjeh told The961, “we are bringing people closer to work on specific problems that people in Lebanon are facing,” calling it “a step in the right direction to encourage people to take action and play a role as part of the solution,” and “build small initiatives that address very specific problems.”