Growing up in New York City as a child of immigrants from Greece and surrounded by immigrant communities from around the world, I understood the importance and power of the diaspora from an early age. Living as a young adult across two countries and cultures, I knew we had so much more potential as a diaspora to support our communities back home, but lacked the tools and infrastructure to do so. Our efforts tended toward financial remittances or one-to-one support—which could be critical, even lifesaving—but there was no platform through which we could maximize our resources and expertise in order to give back to our communities-of-origin at scale. Technology created the opportunity for this sea change; Localized is making it happen.
Today, technology can connect supply and demand so rising professionals anywhere can access expert mentors who share roots, language or cultural connection. This is why I was excited to join Localized as Co-founder and Director of New Markets. As more people succeed globally, they want to channel their insights and networks back to their home communities. For India, this is a huge opportunity, given how successful the Indian diaspora has been on sectors ranging from medicine to technology to business. As India’s youth enter the workforce, they’ll need every bit of expertise, access, and support that they can find—at home or abroad. And, Indian diaspora members are especially motivated to help.
This is good news for the millions of students and recent graduates in India who lack qualified mentors. 28.5 million students in India are enrolled in higher education. They want to be prepared for the future and to land great jobs. Many don’t know what roles to apply for once they graduate or lack skills needed to get hired. Thousands of colleges in India, and more than 50,000 globally, lack career services or alumni networks to help students find pathways to employment. Localized’s platform provides schools in emerging markets with access to virtual career community and employers to level the playing field for access to jobs and the knowledge economy.
On Localized, first- second- or third-generation immigrant professionals like me, as well as top local professionals, can offer career guidance and expertise to college students and recent graduates. We want to ensure that students in our communities-of-heritage who are trying to navigate in a rapidly changing—and exciting—new technological and economic reality have the strategic networks they need to succeed. Localized also brings on employers looking to build talent pipelines in these markets.
Watch this two-minute video to see how Localized works.
We’re live across the Middle East and North Africa in Arabic and English and are expanding into India. And, we need your help to enable students from Dehradun to Coimbatore to succeed. Do you have expertise to share? Is your heart in two places? If so, we want you to join us on the platform so that students from the places you care about can find, as we say, “guidance from people who get it.”
Ariadne Papagapitos is co-founder and director of new markets for Localized. Prior to that, she was director of the Peacebuilding program at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a philanthropic foundation, designing programs and leading grantmaking in a number of complex contexts. She has also helped lead an income-generation project with a nongovernmental organization in India, Belaku Trust, which works on women’s empowerment through income generation in the villages of rural Karnataka. She served at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Greece, and as a manager in the Media Villages department of the 2004 Athens Olympic Committee.
Ariadne holds an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Classics from Union College.