Beyond my work, I also have vast interests that span across literature, music, art, science and community service. I believe it is important to expand one’s horizons and to appreciate the finer things in life. Youth culture, community outreach and human evolution are amongst my some of my active interests.
For centuries, the great protagonists of literature have shaped the attitudes and beliefs of societies, cultures and even whole nations.
“Inspiration is what sparks the creation of new things. It is the crux of innovation and evolution”
In today’s fast-paced digital age, youth are less inclined to take time to not only read but think about books and the stories they tell. Re-connecting them to the power of the word is my motivation behind founding the Youtopia Festival. It is about cultivating the next generation of literary protagonists who will shape the utopias to come.
Education undoubtedly plays an important role in giving children the tools they need to build a fulfilling future for themselves. I believe sports is also important in a child’s development as it teaches them the value of focus and determination – lessons that are critical to achieving any goal in life.
In October 2011, I founded the Kitangana Tennis Project for orphans in Angola. We organize continuous tennis training for children between 7 and 14 years of age, most of them living in the Mama Muxima orphanage.
Through training, these young children not only learn to play tennis but also learn crucial life skills to help them set and achieve goals. Additionally, it gives them the opportunity to earn an honest living in the future by being trained as tennis instructors.
Epigenetics,the study of heritable changes in gene function, is an innovative area of medical research that confirms my long-held belief in every individual’s ability to change and impact the future. We used to think that most behavioral and physical aspects of a person were genetically predetermined and passed on to our children.
Today, epigenetics has demonstrated that fruit flies pass on new information to future generations beyond that which is mapped in their DNA. Researchers concluded that environmental influences during one's lifetime can turn into inheritable traits. This represents the potential for humans to shape the genetic mapping of future generations through their own life experiences and intentions. Epigenetics holds remarkable potential for individuals and societies to evolve.
To support epigenetics field research, I sponsor a research project at the Center of Neuroscience ZNZ, a joint competence center of the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH.