Thank you to the hundreds of candidates

who applied for the 2020 OGS Fellowship.

The 2020 Admissions Cycle is now closed.

Click to be notified when the 2021 cycle is open!

Our Generation Speaks (OGS) is a Boston-based three-month summer fellowship program and incubator where emerging Israeli and Palestinian leaders create high-impact ventures.

In OGS, fellows can expect to build for-profit and non-profit ventures. The journey begins with idea development and team formation and culminates in seed funding allocation for a select group of teams. The fellowship includes a world class seminar program and top-notch mentorship program.

OGS has already supported over a dozen of such ventures since its inception and invested over $1.1 million in them. Our ventures, in turn, have raised over $5.5 million in external funding.
WHAT WE OFFER

Fully Funded Summer Fellowship

World Class Seminar Program

Partnerships with MassChallenge and MIT

Seed Funding for Select Ventures

High Level Business Experts and Mentors

Strong and Vibrant Alumni Network

 
ADMISSIONS TIMELINE

ARRIVAL

June 6th, 2021

DEPARTURE

September 1st, 2021

2021 FELLOWSHIP DATES

 
 
ELIGIBILITY

OGS seeks a highly-qualified group of Israelis and Palestinians in their 20’s and early 30’s who have:

  • Completed an undergraduate degree;

  • A valid passport (US visa not necessary for application);

  • A working knowledge of English and strong communication skills;

  • A history of demonstrated leadership and aspirations to lead in new capacities;

  • Proven experience working successfully in a team environment;

  • Dedication to the OGS Values;

  • The ability to complete the entire duration of the program (May 31-August 14, 2021);

  • Willingness to co-found a venture (either for profit or not for profit) and to fully commit to launching it in the region post-fellowship; and

  • A commitment to continued involvement with OGS activities in the region.

Please note that a venture idea is not required. 

If you do not meet the above criteria but you still feel that you would contribute to the program (e.g. did not complete an undergraduate degree), please send an introductory email to admissions@ogspeaks.com making your case for consideration.

OGS VENTURE TRACKS

OGS has partnered with top accelerators in Boston where teams will work from in the final weeks of the fellowship to boost their ventures. During the first month of the summer fellowship, fellows begin to ideate and form teams. Teams will pitch their venture ideas and will afterwards be designated to one of the three tracks, depending on the field of their venture.

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The majority of the ventures will be assigned to the OGS-MassChallenge Track that is open to all disciplines. MassChallenge is the world's largest startup accelerator. Headquartered in the United States with locations in Boston, Israel, Mexico, Rhode Island, Switzerland, and Texas, MassChallenge strengthens the global innovation ecosystem by accelerating high-potential startups across industries such as Energy/Cleantech, Healthcare/Life Sciences, Fintech, Consumer Products, Agriculture, Arts & Culture, Travel & Tourism, Energy, etc.

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A smaller number of ventures will be assigned to the OGS-MIT designX Track that are specific to addressing the challenges facing the future of cities and the world at large. Through our partnership with MIT designX, fellows have the opportunity to develop ventures in the fields of transportation, smart cities, architecture/urban planning, housing, waste management, urban agriculture, and more. 

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New in 2020! OGS has partnered with the MIT Game Lab to incubate ventures in the fields of applied game design and construction, in order to address real-world challenges. The OGS-MIT Game Lab Track will accelerate a few teams that will focus on gamification in high impact areas such as education, training, health, conflict resolution, and personal growth. Additionally, the track supports other concepts that are innovative and can create impact, including entertainment for tabletop (board/card/party), roleplay, mobile, XR (virtual, augmented, mixed, or alternate reality), and screen-based games. Please note that games containing violence, gambling, etc. are not supported by OGS and will not be developed in this track.

In the essay portion of the OGS application, applicants will be asked to answer one of three prompts depending on their passion, areas of interest, and background. These essays align with the three OGS tracks: OGS-MassChallenge Track, OGS-MIT designX Track, and OGS-MIT Game Lab Track. Please note that answering the corresponding essay prompt does not guarantee acceptance nor lock you into either track.

 
 
SELECTION PROCESS

1. APPLICATIONS


OGS operates a thorough assessment process to select each year’s cohort. We look at the overall composition of your submission materials to determine your success as an OGS Fellow. Due to the competitive nature of the OGS Fellowship, we are only able to accept up to 30 candidates to our program. The OGS Application takes 3-4 hours to complete and includes:

  • 4 essay responses, one of which can be submitted in video form
  • Your undergraduate academic transcript
  • Test scores for English language exams (if applicable)
  • 1-2 letters of recommendation
  • 1 professional reference, who may be contacted via phone
  • Your CV or resume
After you have submitted your application to OGS, you will receive a receipt of confirmation from our admissions team and a link to the Applicant Status Portal with instructions on how to access your page. You may check the status of your submitted application and any associated materials by accessing your Applicant Status Page. Due to the high volume of applications we receive, we ask that you do not reach out to OGS to seek individualized updates on your status. After a first review conducted by the OGS Admissions Team, which may include a phone call from the OGS admission teams for clarifying questions, we select candidates to advance to the next steps in our admissions process. All applicants will be notified of our decision by February 19th, 2021. A summary of our application requirements can be found here.




2. INTERVIEWS


A select group of candidates will be invited to participate in in-person interviews that will occur in Palestine and Israel, conducted in English by members of the OGS Network from the region and the US. OGS will cover travel expenses to and from the interview location. Interviews will take place between January 31 - February 5, 2021. Candidates will select their preferred interview date and location in their application. Candidates from outside of the region will be contacted to schedule a digital interview and will not be required to participate in the group dynamics session (more information below). Priority will be given to those in the region who can interview in person, with the exception of candidates from Gaza who will be interviewed via online video conference. Each candidate will have up to four consecutive interviews. Please be prepared to discuss the entirety of your application, as well as any areas of interest that the interviewers may inquire about. This will complement the content of your submission and give us the chance to get to know you.




3. GROUP DYNAMICS SESSION


The candidates who advance from the interview phase will be invited to a group dynamics session in Beit Jala on February 5, 2021. During this session, candidates will engage in group exercises observed by OGS interviewers. This is the final stage of the admissions process, and candidates who advance from this session will be admitted to the OGS Fellowship.





There are three stages to the OGS Fellowship selection process. All candidates begin by submitting an application. Those selected to advance will participate in a series of interviews in the region. Some candidates will be invited to a group dynamics session as described below. Transportation to and from the interviews and the group dynamics session will be covered by OGS.

 

APPLICATION ASSESSMENT

Applications will be assessed on the following four qualities:

Ability to motivate others

Commitment to social and economic impact

Demonstrated Leadership

Entrepreneurial

Zeal

 

What is the OGS Fellowship?


The OGS Fellowship gathers up-and-coming Israeli and Palestinian leaders in their 20s and early 30s to engage in an academic program and one-on-one mentoring with public and private-sector leaders. Throughout the fellowship, participants plan and launch high-impact ventures that they will continue to implement in their home communities upon their return. In 2021, the fellowship will host up to 50 fellows from May 31st-August 14th. OGS Fellows will spend the majority of their time at Brandeis University. In the final weeks of the fellowship, fellows participating in the OGS-MIT Track will work from the designX/GameLab offices on the MIT campus in Cambridge, while all other fellows will work at the MassChallenge headquarters in Boston.




What does a day in the life of an OGS Fellow look like?


A typical day starts with breakfast before fellows gather for their daily classes. Most classes focus on different elements of entrepreneurship, including communications, financial management, strategic management, negotiation, and conflict resolution. Fellows typically have two classes per day with a break in between. Following these classes, OGS Fellows work with their team to develop their high-impact ventures. These teams are formed early on in the fellowship, and daily efforts are semi-structured to allow for both cooperative and independent work. Dinnertime connects all the fellows and social events, both planned and impromptu, occur throughout the evening.




Do I need to have a venture idea before joining OGS?


Having an idea is not part of the admission process and is not a requirement. The first phase of the summer will be dedicated to an intense ideation process, after which the teams will start developing the 2021 ventures. Although having an idea is not a requirement for admission, some participants begin the fellowship with idea(s) for a venture and some do not. These ideas are refined and new ideas are created, and over the course of the fellowship, ventures are chosen to move forward through the detailed OGS venture selection process. OGS Fellows work in teams to develop the viability of each of their respective ventures, and those that progress to the end of the fellowship receive seed funding from OGS. Every OGS Fellow is assigned to a team.




What do OGS Fellows do for fun?


In addition to the academic program, mentoring, and venture development, OGS Fellows live and dine together on-campus at Brandeis University for most of the summer. Throughout their residency, OGS Fellows have many dinners together and celebrate holidays, and OGS coordinates numerous social gatherings for fellows and the OGS Network. There are many opportunities to socialize and explore the Boston area. OGS Fellows have enjoyed the vibrant Boston summertime, which often includes sports events, concerts, outings, and more.




How demanding is the academic program?


The academic program is tailor-made to the OGS Fellowship, crafted and taught by faculty of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, a top ten US social policy school, at Brandeis University. The coursework is rigorous and enriching, designed to give fellows the tools and skills they need to operate their startups and refine their leadership skills. In addition, workshops and lectures from successful entrepreneurs and leaders of Fortune 500 companies complement the academic curriculum.




Is there space to discuss thoughts, insights, and challenges, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?


The OGS Fellowship includes facilitated discussion sessions conducted by external, professional facilitators about any topic the fellows feel the need to bring to the attention of the group. These may be related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, venture development issues, or more personal subjects. OGS is dedicated to ensuring that these conversations are productive, meaningful, and safe for all fellows. OGS recognizes that fellows have different perspectives and insists on one principle: in all that we do, we are respectful towards each other.




What are the values of the OGS Fellowship?


At the end of each year, the graduating cohort defines a set of values, which are passed on to the next cohort. You can find the values of the previous cohort under ‘Eligibility’ above.




What kind of mentoring does OGS offer?


OGS Fellows are each assigned a personal mentor, and each venture developed through the fellowship will be guided by a group of coaches. Personal mentors are matched with OGS Fellows based on shared interests and subject area preferences following the admissions process. OGS mentors and coaches come from our network of highly-accomplished community leaders, business executives, and serial entrepreneurs from the US and the region.




Why do OGS Fellows leave Brandeis University before the end of the fellowship?


In mid-August, fellowship activities begin to focus more heavily on venture development. OGS Fellows move from dormitories at Brandeis University to housing in South Boston, a central location easily accessible to both MassChallenge and MIT. At the MassChallenge offices in Boston’s Seaport district, fellows work alongside over 120 other startups as they finish developing their ventures and prepare for their implementation in the region. On the MIT campus, fellows participating in the OGS-MIT Track will work from the DesignX space and collaborate directly with MIT graduate students through the end of July and the entirety of August. These environments allow fellows to dedicate as much time and as many resources as possible to their ventures, while becoming a part of Boston’s greater entrepreneurial ecosystem.




Will my privacy be protected throughout the OGS Fellowship?


OGS is distinctly aware of the privacy and safety concerns of its fellows and takes all measures necessary to prevent and mitigate any unwanted exposure. No images of or quotes from OGS Fellows will appear online without the consent of the subject, and all fellows are briefed on privacy requirements prior to the start of the program. Prospective fellows are encouraged to contact OGS staff with any questions or concerns. As a general policy, OGS does not seek publicity for the fellowship or any of its cohorts.




What are the restrictions on seed funding for my venture?


By the end of June 2021, all OGS Fellows will be structured in teams to support the ventures that will emerge from the fellowship. These ventures will receive seed funding from OGS to launch within the region. Fellows are encouraged to continue working for and developing their ventures. Over twenty alumni from previous cohorts are currently employed by their OGS Ventures.




Can I bring my family member or spouse to the fellowship with me?


Unfortunately, OGS is unable to accommodate long-term guests, including spouses, relatives, friends, etc. There may be possibilities for you to visit loved ones or host short-term guests, so long as these do not interfere with your commitments to fellowship programming. Please contact OGS staff with any questions or concerns about this policy.




What will I need to pay for during the fellowship?


The OGS Fellowship is fully-funded for all participants. This includes round-trip airfare, tuition, meals, accommodations, and more. OGS also provides local transportation passes and a modest stipend for living expenses. Fellows are welcome to supplement this with their personal funds, but all OGS Fellows will be provided with the funding and resources necessary to complete the fellowship comfortably. Learn more about our offerings on our website.




Can OGS accommodate my religious and ethnic observances?


OGS is proud to support and represent a wide variety of cultures and religions in each cohort, and our staff will take all steps necessary to accommodate any religious, ethnic, cultural, or other personal observances. Holidays like Ramadan and Shavuot, which commonly fall during the fellowship period, are not only accommodated but celebrated by the cohort and staff. Throughout our admissions process and prior to the start of the fellowship, OGS staff communicate with each incoming fellow to determine their unique lifestyle needs. You are encouraged to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.




If admitted, when should I begin my visa application process?


Admitted OGS Applicants should be prepared to begin the visa application process at the US Embassy/Consulate within 7–10 days of their acceptance to the fellowship.




If I am not accepted, can I apply again?


While we appreciate each applicant’s time and consideration, we are only able to accept a limited number of individuals to the cohort. As long as applicants still meet the eligibility criteria, we encourage individuals to apply again the following year. If you decide to apply again, please be prepared to submit a new application and go through the full interview process. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide feedback on previously submitted applications.




What are the different OGS Venture Tracks?


There are three venture tracks in OGS: the OGS-MassChallengeTrack, the OGS-MIT designx Track, and the OGS-MIT Game Lab Track. The differences between the three tracks are detailed below: OGS-MassChallenge Track is a track where fellows can develop ventures in all disciplines with no limitations. The majority of fellows will develop their venture in partnership with MassChallenge. Headquartered in the United States with locations in Boston, Israel, Mexico, Rhode Island, Switzerland, and Texas, MassChallenge strengthens the global innovation ecosystem by accelerating high-potential startups across all industries. OGS has partnered with MassChallenge to offer resources for ventures to develop, including:

  • Working in Boston’s Innovation and Design building which is designed to enable diversity, flexibility, identity, and community;
  • Access to facilities and resources at MC including meeting spaces, networking and professional development events, and other startups;
  • Connections to the vast MassChallenge network; and
  • Coaching and mentoring from industry experts.
Fellows on the OGS-MC track will commute to MassChallenge during the final weeks of the fellowship. Prior to moving to MassChallenge, fellows will develop ventures at Brandeis University where they will have full access to all University resources including IT/media, breakout spaces and much more. OGS-MIT Tracks are tracks where fellows develop ventures dedicated to addressing challenges facing the future of cities and the world at large. There are two tracks within MIT that OGS fellows can participate in: the OGS-MIT designX Track and the OGS-MIT Game Lab Track. Within these tracks, fellows will have the opportunity to create ventures in the fields of transportation, smart cities, architecture/urban planning, housing, waste management, urban agriculture, as well as applied game design and construction. OGS has partnered with designX, an entrepreneurship accelerator at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning, MIT Game Lab, a world leader in the study, design, and development of games, and MISTI, MIT’s pioneering international education program that facilitates international collaborations and experiences for students, to provide fellows the ideal environment to incubate ventures in these fields. These programs have partnered with OGS to offer resources for the development of up to six OGS Ventures, including:
  • A tailor-made seminar program at designX and Game Lab
  • An ongoing partnership with MIT graduate students, who will intern with the OGS ventures and support the venture development process;
  • Coaching and mentoring from MIT’s designX and Game Lab experts; and
  • Access to facilities and resources at MIT, including maker labs, workshops, and other startups.
The OGS-MIT Tracks leverage the talents of OGS Fellows and the resources of MIT to create lasting impact in the region’s human environment. They will commute to MIT on a daily basis throughout the second half of the summer.





FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We look forward to reviewing your application. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact Our Generation Speaks at admissions@ogspeaks.com.

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