We’re proud to announce that JA Worldwide has been nominated for the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize, the second such honor in two years. Junior Achievement Nigeria is a member of JA Worldwide.
Nominations may be received only from heads of state and certain elected officials, university professors in selected fields, past Nobel laureates, and a few other notable individuals. We were approached throughout the last year by a number of eligible nominators and, although the identity of each nominee officially remains anonymous for 50 years, we know that at least one of those nominations was accepted by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. There may have been more.
Founded 104 years ago, JA is now one of the largest youth-serving NGOs in the world, delivering over 15 million student learning experiences for employment and entrepreneurship in the last year alone. Operating in over 100 countries, JA teaches youth to develop the skillset and mindset to create businesses, find meaningful employment, and build thriving communities. In Nigeria, for example, JA trains youth with job skills that have been proven to provide an attractive alternative to membership in Boko Haram. In former Communist countries, JA was among the first NGOs allowed into schools, with a curriculum that empowers youth to take ownership of their own futures. In the Middle East, JA’s local brand is known as INJAZ (which means “achievement” in Arabic) and delivers training to boys and girls equally, empowering them to have economic independence rather than being lured into organizations that prey on youth disillusionment. And in Norway, where JA is known as Ungt Entreprenørskap and offered as collaboration between civil society, the education system, and the business world, young people spark their creativity as they build startups from the ground up. In Nigeria, we have reached the young marginalized youth, particularly the internally displaced people, impacting them with entrepreneurship and financial literacy capable of setting them on a journey to shared prosperity.
Thanks to what they learn in JA, students develop ambitions beyond their own economic reward, with young people understanding that entrepreneurship is not only a means to healthy finances for themselves and their families but also a vehicle to cultivate social stability and build healthy communities. JA students and alumni create companies that offer products and services that fill a consumer need; enable an ecosystem of employees, partners, and suppliers to thrive; and also fundamentally transform the world, or at least their small corner of it.
Impact data has shown that entrepreneurship education doesn’t just prepare youth for entrepreneurship; it also develops job-ready skills, fosters creativity, and builds resilience. For many students, the early experience of being a CEO or COO during their formative years helps them develop the self-efficacy that will assure they will reach their goals, regardless of the challenges that lay ahead. JA may also expose them to a world that their parents cannot introduce to them and changes their life trajectory by providing job skills and economic empowerment.
Given our global reach, as well as an ecosystem that nurtures a global community of alumni, JA also builds cross-border friendships that reinforce exactly what the world needs: curiosity about cultural and religious practices, respectful and honest conversations, expectations of equality and equal opportunities, and a win-win approach to conflict.
Asheesh Advani, CEO of JA Worldwide, shared his perspective in response to the nomination: “Peace is possible only when youth in all countries and regions have economic empowerment. By creating opportunity, prosperity, and self-belief, JA’s work empowers youth in over 100 countries with the skillset and mindset to build thriving communities. For over a century, JA has operated in areas of political instability, violence, and war, helping youth build entrepreneurship skills and economic resilience. For this work, JA Worldwide is recognized year after year as one of the top ten NGOs in the world, providing economic empowerment to millions of young people.”
Between 1901 and 2022, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to 140 laureates, including 110 individuals and 30 organizations. Among those 30 organizations is another organization from the annual list of top ten NGOs, Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999. UNICEF, another youth-serving NGO, was awarded the prize in 1965, after being nominated for several years.