This article appeared in the October 31, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Teens around the world share solutions

Karen Norris/Staff
Trudy Palmer
Cover Story Editor

How would you answer this question: “What do you most want to improve about your own society and how?”

It’s not an easy question, but that’s what the nonprofit Heart of a Nation encouraged American, Israeli, and Palestinian teens to write about for an essay contest earlier this year. It’s the perfect prompt for an organization committed to “bettering, not battering, these societies we love.”

A panel of teen judges evaluated about 30 submissions, picking one winner from each society as well as top scorers in the categories used for assessing the essays. We’re sharing the winning essays in the Daily starting today. They will also be published by The Jerusalem Post in Israel and Al-Quds in the Palestinian territories. 

The writers’ experiences and identities range widely. The American winner, Asher Weed, is home-schooled, traveling full time in a recreational vehicle. Yosra Kamalat, the top scorer in the idealism category, is a multilingual Muslim, Afro-Bedouin, Palestinian woman living in Israel who enjoys the arts.

Whatever their backgrounds, the writers care deeply about communicating across cultures, combating climate change, improving opportunities for women, and caring for the most vulnerable people in society.  

When I asked the winners via email what gives them hope, a strong sense of conviction came through. “I know that people strive for the better,” wrote Noga Novis Deutsch, who lives on a kibbutz in Israel. “And I believe that we can truly work together to make the change we want to be.”

Asher finds encouragement among his peers. “Younger generations are taking notice of the injustices and problems that plague our society today and educating themselves on creative avenues to solve those problems,” he wrote. 

Fortunately, along with being thoughtful and articulate, the writers are also just regular teens, enjoying both video and board games, baking, collecting rubber ducks, and, in Noga’s case, practicing aerial acrobatics.

For a deep dive into teen thought around the globe, you can find the winners and the top scorers in each category all in one spot here. Enjoy.

This article appeared in the October 31, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 10/31 edition
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