Crises in the past have led to demand for new products, services and programs [...] There will be new opportunities we can’t even predict now, and with unemployment spiking there’s a backlog of talent and experience searching for a place to go. Channel this productively
Fulbright is unique in the degree and diversity of international exposure and connection that it builds. My time at NYU built friendships and networks that are still important, even in this time when we’re more physically distant than ever before, and New York is hurting in a way that it hasn’t in decades. But for one of the first times during a quarantine we’re able to richly connect with others, continue elements of work remotely, and have access to levels of entertainment and education that were not available even a few years ago. I don’t know how the people in 1918 did it.
Our international logistics have also held up in a surprising way, and apart from some initial paper-based hiccups they’ve responded well, which has also helped ease some of the friction that is being generated between leaders and countries. Some industries can take advantage of more remote capability, which was an ongoing trend, and we’re all learning to better manage global work hours and business crises. A lot of the actions in international coordination have also spoken to how we have a choice in how we work globally.
During this time of lockdown, two recommendations:
Get involved in local projects for your home town, even if you don’t live there. Your network of Fulbright and overseas connections will help channel resources into smaller scale projects that really help, since they operate on the ground. While government assistance programs are bigger, a lot of impact is being carried by individuals and small businesses, in charitable and first responders support, or in the spending that will help people return to work. In Cape Town where I’m from, programs like Muizenberg CAN have been picking up the slack where government might not reach. Support local programs like these.
Look into startups. Crises in the past have led to demand for new products, services and programs. We’ll see businesses both large and small take a hit, meaning they’ll need help, and others may need to move in to provide these services. There will be new opportunities we can’t even predict now, and with unemployment spiking there’s a backlog of talent and experience searching for a place to go. Channel this productively. As an example, I’m working with friends in the medical profession on remote support programs; South Africa has an existing mental health support infrastructure, but it is limited in its online reach, and it is about to be swamped by a need from people who have gone through months of lockdowns, and are about to face social and economic impacts all at the same time. If you’re interested in getting involved and in how we can share resources and ideas in other countries, please reach out.
Jared Licina completed his undergrad at University of Cape Town in Finance and Economics, and a Masters at NYU on a Fulbright award.
He worked in the hedge fund industry in New York and London at firms including BlueMountain Capital and Highbridge Capital, and is now based in Dubai working in private equity and startups. He also volunteers with The Nature Conservancy, Nascenta, and SASAPA.