Reflections on Swiss Week - by Elizabeth Kuriakose

On June 16, I boarded a flight to Zurich, excited to attend Swiss Week but unsure of what my time in Switzerland would hold. Now, I can say certainly that it was a rich experience of learning, establishing new relationships, and building excitement for the year ahead. After my time in Zurich, I am eager to partner with other Jacobs associates to promote the interests of youth around the world.

Throughout Swiss Week, the other Business Fellows, LIFE Fellows, and Science Writer Fellows and I enjoyed diverse presentations about the mission and work of the Jacobs Foundation. We learned about the Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development and its multinational research on education and moral growth. We gained a comprehensive understanding of how Jacobs organizations empower Ivoirian children and families through the Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TRECC) program in Côte d’Ivoire, and the Forever Chocolate program at Barry Callebaut, one of the Foundation's portfolio organizations. We attended a conference presentation on children’s cognitive control from a Jacobs-supported researcher. And we delved into the relationship between the Jacobs Foundation and the Jacobs Holding to understand how all of the Jacobs organizations contribute to a common mission. I found these presentations invigorating. The range of resources available to Jacobs associates devoted to children and social health is inspiring, and I know that my fellow attendees and I will seize on these resources as we pursue our diverse career paths. As part of the social activities we enjoyed an excursion on the mount Rigi, where we learned to make cheese and butter.

Those of us who attended Swiss Week left with a shared excitement to build a formal collaboration through the Jacobs Talent Network. Throughout two days of interactive workshops, we developed a vision for strengthening the Network and increasing its impact. We detailed plans to unite our complementary skills to advance research into child development and to improve social and education programs. Over the next year, we plan to share training resources, research, and professional opportunities that will enable others in the Network to make maximum contributions to their fields.

Swiss Week introduced me to the passionate and talented people in the Jacobs network and taught me about the many opportunities to promote the holistic development of the next generation in Europe, Côte d’Ivoire, and beyond. I left Zurich motivated and ready to make the most of my two years as a Jacobs Business Fellow.

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