Amir Shihadeh (Finalist)

Engaging citizens in creating a world where everyone has the chance to live up to his or her potential is the goal of "Amir Basel" Shihadeh, Founder and Director of the Youth Association for Reality and Awareness (YARA). Says Amir, “We’re about inspiring the leadership potential in every person.” Over three years, YARA has initiated over a dozen awareness campaigns aimed at preserving the environment, promoting interfaith dialogue, addressing the needs of refugee children, and more. Through its “Go Green” campaign, YARA mobilized dozens of volunteers to plant over 700 olive trees on a low-income farmer’s land. The initiative not only increased environmental awareness but sensitized the public to concrete actions they can take to combat poverty and climate change. Integral to YARA’s consciousness-raising strategy is producing short videos designed to increase awareness of social challenges – and solutions.