Afif Tabsh (Finalist)

An idealist, Afif Tabsh is also a pragmatist when it comes to seeking solutions to the challenges facing his country. Following the 2006 Lebanon War, many in his generation bemoaned the nation’s unpredictable political climate and increasing polarization among youth. Rather than succumb to the frustration growing around him, Afif set out in search of answers. “One of the odd things I have in me is being optimistic,” he says. “I tend to look at the bright side, even in stressful moments when bad things are happening around me.” In 2007, Afif and several of his peers founded Aie Serve, a non-governmental organization (NGO) with an office in Beirut. Translated from Japanese, aie (pronounced “I”) means love. Aie Serve seeks to unite Lebanon’s youth through nurturing a culture of volunteerism. At the heart of its work is promoting the values of love, acceptance, and respect.