Building a Cathedral

We are immensely proud of the impact that you help us make on students in our local market. Ensuring that our local young people are prepared for what’s next is what I have dedicated my career to accomplishing. However, at the recent JA Global Leadership Conference in Atlanta, I had the privilege of spending time with JA professionals from all over the world who are raising the aspirations of nearly 10 million kids in 100 countries around the globe.

And while each of the JA organizations in more than 100 countries may approach our work a bit differently, we all have a unified mission and goal – to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.

Of course, one size does not fit all in JA’s youth market. After all, vastly different social, political, educational and economic systems influence how we do and think about our work, and global realities demand that we have different strategies to address the unique challenges of young people in various regions and countries. Yet, despite these differences, JA Worldwide is uniquely positioned to influence the future unlike any other time. Half the world population is under 30 years old. In fact, this is the largest youth cohort in human history. Transcending borders, we have a remarkable opportunity to help young people gain the education and skills they need to succeed.

In Peter Drucker’s version of the “three stonecutters” story, when asked what they were doing, the first stonecutter replied: “I am making a living.” The second kept on hammering while he said: “I am doing the best job of stone cutting in the entire country.” The third stonecutter, when asked the same question, said: “I am building a cathedral.”

Like the third stonecutter, the men and women who work, volunteer and support the JA mission embrace a broader vision.  We each make a small contribution to a powerful structure that makes a true difference in and for the world.

I am proud of the combined impact that JA leaders at JA Africa, JA Americas, JA Asia Pacific, JA INJAZ Al-Arab, JA Europe, and JA USA are having on youth across the globe. We are unified in our mission and in our dedication to empowering young people to lead an increasingly global economy.