Jan 2021

Matine Khalighi Economics Honoree

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Matine Khalighi is working to end student poverty


Never too young

For 19-year-old Matine Khalighi, community and serving others is everything. From a young age, his parents taught him the importance of caring for his neighbors. “Those values have carried my life’s direction and are the reason I am doing a lot of the work that I do today,” he explained. “When I started my journey in service, it came from a place of wanting to help and believing that we could make an impact no matter how old I was.”

“When I started my journey in service, it came from a place of wanting to help and believing that we could make an impact no matter how old I was.”

When Matine was in 8th grade, he took a community service class centered on making a difference. This class inspired him and a schoolmate to found Helping the Homeless Colorado, a youth-led nonprofit organization. He and his team focused on creating initiatives to provide necessities for people experiencing homelessness across their state.

When Matine was a sophomore in high school, he learned that 22,000 students in Colorado’s public school system experienced homelessness. This statistic changed his perspective on approaching the issue as it struck him that students just like him were experiencing homelessness. “From my past experiences, I knew I could make an impact even though I was young,” he said. “I decided to figure out what I could do to help.”



Leveling the playing field

Today, Matine is the Founder and Executive Director of  EEqual, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization working to overcome homelessness through education. He is responsible for overseeing all of the organization’s operations and uses his platform to draw attention to the national crisis of student homelessness. He also hosts the Let’s Talk Impact podcast, where he interviews aspiring entrepreneurs.

As an exceptional Gen-Z'er making an impact, he was honored for his work in economics through The ConversationaLIST. “It is fundamentally wrong that we let individuals' economic background determine the quality of their education,” he said about his mission. 

“It is fundamentally wrong that we let individuals' economic background determine the quality of their education.”

Matine said that one of the most important things he’s learned throughout the years is to be bold when letting others know about the work that you are doing. “It can be intimidating to speak to strangers about what you are doing or present to large groups of people, but it is so valuable,” he said. “When people can see you and feel your passion, they want to support you.”

Matine will attend Harvard University in the fall. He hopes to continue his work with EEqual and help drive its mission forward. 


Unified in purpose

Matine resonates with The Conversationalist’s mission to unify the world. “I believe that the only way our society is going to move forward is if we start to listen to each other and start to understand where we are all coming from so we can find ways to move forward,” he said.

“I believe that the only way our society is going to move forward is if we start to listen to each other and start to understand where we are all coming from."

He believes a unified world is a world founded on community. “Community is centered around connection,” he explained. “Each member is unified in purpose, empowered to grow and develop as a person, and undeterred by mistakes. Whenever I have the opportunity, I aspire to build and invest in people to help cultivate an environment where all are welcome and valued.”

He hopes to see Gen Z achieve a unified world by listening to each other’s differences and finding ways to come together and move forward.

Per advice from TC Founder and CEO Sophie Beren, Matine breaks open his echo chamber by following social media accounts that explore different experiences and perspectives than his own. “I have always been fascinated by the world and excited to learn more about all that is out there,” he said. “I believe life is so precious, and there is so much to explore and learn.”



We’ll be rooting for Matine Khalighi as he builds a better world for students in poverty. Keep up with him on Instagram and follow EEqual to learn more about his work.


Come hang out with Matine and all of our LIST honorees! Join us in Geneva and follow The Conversationalist on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok to stay up to date with all of our future events.