“At 42 São Paulo, students don’t only fit — they belong!”
Karen Kanaan, co-founder and partner at 42 São Paulo, joined the campus when it was still a dream. Today, she shares with us some insight about her work for the students.
Hi Karen! What drove you to join 42 São Paulo in the first place?
I’ve been working in the non profit sector for the past 10 years: in communication, in an ad agencies, co-founding a startup… After I had my kids and being a mom, I looked at my professional life in a different way. How can I do something that is going to not only leave something better, but is building today something that is better for tomorrow. 42 São Paulo is a huge opportunity, not only for me and adults, but for my kids ten years from now. When I’m inside 42 São Paulo, I see the opportunity to build and change not only the education landscape but to give the opportunity many others didn’t have. I love connecting, sharing, meeting people and recognizing a friend in them. It’s kind of a life project for me. I usually joke that I do what I love and I earn money to do something I would do for free!
What do you think of the 42 method?
I believe that the 42 method is a great contribution to the academic and the market. We are showing the academic world that we are not better or worse, we are just different. We can learn and do something together. For the market, we are bringing new people and showing that stereotypes do not exist anymore. People can learn how to code and people can code, whereas you are a man, a woman, old, young… You don’t have to feel trapped anymore because of a stereotype.
What is your stance on what education should be today?
I believe in lifelong learning and that 42 is the start of a life journey. Today’s world sets us apart not for what we know but for what we do with that knowledge. What makes us different ? Human competence and the ability to think creatively and self complex problems, to have the ability to work with people who think differently, and to really positively commit to create a collaborative set. At 42 São Paulo, students don’t only fit — they belong. They don’t only study or learn, they participate. They feel they are building 42 São Paulo with us. All the values we share here, they are carried over for the rest of our students’ lives.
42 São Paulo is blessed with a lot of diversity. What are the reasons behind this and your view on this topic?
42 São Paulo breaks two huge barriers in education in Brazil. One: if I study, I still won’t pass. The second: if I pass, I won’t be able to pay. Having no tuition and no prep open doors for a lot of more diversity and opportunities for people to be better as human beings. There is beauty in having people of completely different cultures, each with their own journey and income, working together. It is a reflection of not only the education we wanna see but the world we wanna see. We are human beings: diversity is our reality. It’s a reflection of our societies.