Wednesday, September 21, 2011


First of all I want to thank everyone for the supportive comments, and there is life after not passing the OA. It has been an interesting time in Jerusalem and Palestine. Right after the OA I flew to Tel Aviv to continue working on a project for Mercy Corps. It is always good to be back in Jerusalem, especially when your office looks down on the Dome of the Rock in the Old City. One the first day of Ramadan the IDF entered the Qalandia Refugee Camp, which actually doesn't look like a camp, and killed two young Palestinians who allegedly had done some bad things. We had meetings inn Ramallah the next day when the burial and protests were going to take place and made a quick exit through a checkpoint for NGO's. There is a picture on the digital NY Times right now of the area where the usual protests take place.

The project I am working on is very different than what I imagine life would be as an FSO. It is definitely less structured, and even before I took the OA I knew that if I had passed I would not have taken the position. The NGO challenge is much more in line with what I have done in the private sector, and there is a lot more flexibility for my family.

Basically, I am responsible for kick-starting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the West Bank and Gaza. I have been working on strategic relationships with companies in Silicon Valley, and the team has deals in place with some of the leading tech companies in the world who are providing financial investments and sending engineers to Gaza and the West Bank to train young Palestinians on Android, HTML 5, App Engine, iOS, and other programming platforms. We have also secured several million dollars to start a seed investment fund that will back young Palestinian entrepreneurs.

Given what is going on at the UN this week I can't imagine doing anything more important than this right now. Best of luck to everyone in the process, and thanks again for the well wishes.

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