What is it that makes us different? Is it language? Is it faith? Is it color, or is it sexuality? But since we all share these characteristics whether we’re born in the biggest western cities, or the most remote villages of the east, how are we still different?

In the past two weeks within Atlas Corps’ Global Leadership Lab, I have met participants from all the four corners of the planet, with whom I initially shared very little but came to discover later that we are not so different after all. I’ve met people from more countries than I can visit in my lifetime, but we all spoke one language. By language I don’t mean the English language or else, but we got to discuss relative issues to us in about the same way, even though we all have been born and raised in different countries and continents. For a person coming from the so-called “developing world” it is astonishing to hear about the issues of young people from countries which I used think they lead the developed world. I came to the conclusion that weather you were been born in Africa, Northern America or Australia you’re still a young human being with aspirations to a better future, and discontent with the present.

Technology and means of communication have revolutionary developed in the past decades. Yet we remain disconnected somehow and it’s only through very few opportunities like the Atlas Corps Fellowship that young brilliant minds and global activists get to meet, discuss and exchange their knowledge about joint issues. I have been in Washington DC for almost two weeks now, yet it feels like I’ve been here for a much longer period. Not a single day has passed since I arrived without learning something new from another fellow, either about a different country, a cause I have ignored, or an issue I’ve never heard of. There has not been a single night since I arrived without me thinking: what took me so long to do this? The founder of Atlas Corps Scott Beale has said that talent is equally distributed around the world, though opportunities are not.

Understanding the other is a golden opportunity we’re missing today in the midst of regional conflicts and rising extremism, though non-profit organizations are doing a lot to bridge the gaps. I would like to add to formerly mentioned quote: unless we reach out and grab them, opportunities won’t come to knock at our doors.