Yarden Toiber Kent
Yarden was born in a small Kibbutz in northern Israel. Having lived in Israel for 14 years, she is highly devoted to the field of Holocaust and anti-Semitism. A direct descendant of German and Polish Holocaust-survivors, Yarden has unbreakable ties to her homeland and its history, which she describes as ‘the society which sprung from great suffering to form a beautiful nation.’ However, obstructing this beauty is Israel’s ongoing violent conflict with Palestine, largely enrooted in its troubled history. Having spent most of her life amidst this animosity, Yarden has devoted much of her time to humanitarian-aid. In addition to playing a vital role in Chinese Jews, she is an active member of the Peace Now movement, and often finds herself volunteering with Holocaust survivors in Israel, as well as Syrian refugees in Greece.
Pietro was born to Italian parents in Verona. He lived in Italy for 16 years before moving to study in Oxford. He was raised in a Christian environment, and grew up studying his own religion as well as many others, including Judaism. Along with this, Pietro passionately loves the subject of History at school. The study of World War II made him realise that Holocaust was not the only time when Jews were persecuted which was frankly, shocking to him.
Pietro did not know about the Chinese Jews until recently, even though his has thoroughly studied and researched about the Jewish community as a whole. This made him wonder how many others might not know the story of this magnificent and yet completely unique group of people. Pietro sincerely hopes that in the not too distant future not only will all different cultures coexist peacefully next to each other, but that they will also respect and learn from each other. Pietro believes in the power of good and will do everything he can to ensure the horrific mistakes made in history never repeat themselves.
Felix Neubauer was born and raised in Germany. It is recognized that Germany had a particularly horrific and shocking war history. As a German, Felix found, one ends up discussing the topic of war and war guilt over and over again. The spotlight on which German history throws the country and its people, however, is the treacherous way it unveils German’s open-mindedness, willingness to help, and a general endorsement of diverse cultural and religious believes.
One of Felix’s core principles in life is to avoid blindly going with the flow. He believes our society develops, advances, and runs best on our cultural and ideological differences, which also helps to make our world a more interesting and lively place to live. While a frequent attendee at variety of seminars, Felix is currently trying to organise talks at his own school, to further spread new ideas and promote global engagement.
Alexander Noel-Baker was born in Greece to Greek mother and English/Swedish father. He grew up in Athens amidst Greece’s financial and then refugee crises. Experiencing these on a first-hand basis, as well as coming from a family that encouraged participation in humanitarian causes, Alexander developed the strongest desire to stand up and offer himself where help is needed. One of the projects he has actively participated in the last few years is the "Friends of the Greek Islands and the Sea", a non-profit organisation that sets up and runs music schools on remote Greek islands.ongoing
What has attracted him to the cause of the Chinese Jews, is their extremely unique and rich history together with their culture and traditions which with time are gradually fading. He hopes that this movement will remind people of the mutual prosperity borne out of diversity, like so many cultures that peacefully coexisted and enriched each other many times in human history.
Milana was born and raised in Perm, a city in Russia right where Asia meets Europe. In her middle teens, she studied in Dubai for a year before moving to Oxford, UK for boarding school. Having been in four schools within six years – and having lived in three extremely politically and economically different countries – Milana believes that despite the differences in our conducts, humans are fundamentally very similar.
She is fascinated by psychology, the human brain and communication in particular. She wants to further study the impact music has on helping children with learning disabilities; indeed, having been in three countries she also wants to utilize the high retentiveness of young minds to help young students all over the world learn more foreign languages – especially in Russia where this is a rare phenomenon. Milana believes that find yourself is the essence of life, and for this reason she wants to help kids by broadening their minds from a young age.
Growing up, Michael lived extensively in both Hong Kong and mainland China. He is also a frequent traveler to Taiwan, loving both its food and culture. Michael is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and English.
Michael feels even in the Greater-China region, home of the Kaifeng Jews, many people have never heard of their story. Being from Kaifeng yet of ancient Jewish descent, this is a very special group of people, statistically, one in a million at least. Michael believes their survival, through the long turbulent history of China, is nothing short of a miracle.
In addition to his love for travel and culture, Michael is an avid soccer and basketball fan. He believes the best way to spend the little free time he has, is with family and friends - for real!
Sally is currently a high school student in Japan. Her goal is to eventually attend a top university and pursue a career as human rights lawyer.
In addition to her heavy school load and demanding swimming schedule, Sally’s tall and slim silhouette can frequently be spotted on the Shinkansen, JR trains and various private subway lines. From her active engagement to help rebuild Tohoku after its devastating 9.1 magnitude earthquake and tsunami, to her regular presence at Kodomo-Shokudo to provide children in need with warm meals - Sally’s wish is very simple - make our world a gentler place for all.
While traveling between her various destinations, Sally tries to squeeze in a few good reads. Amongst her favourites are Educated, The Great Gatsby, and War and Peace.
Aiden was born and raised by Filipino mother and Chinese father. He lives extensively in both Hong Kong and the Philippines. From team sports such as rugby and football to solo sports such as Muay-Thai and running, Aidan prescribes a phenomenally active lifestyle. Aidan is also an avid traveler, believing people and culture are best understood in face-to-face encounters.