Co-Founder of Start-up Nation Mentorship and Medical student at University of Toronto

I’m just trying to do my best and make a difference for the causes I care about.

Adam and Justin Shapiro, twin brothers, co-founded Start-Up Nation Mentorship, a pro-Israel organization with a mission of changing the dialogue about Israel on campuses across North America.

“Adam noticed at his university that so much of the conversation about Israel revolves solely on the conflict. We wanted to expose students to everything else Israel has to offer. While Adam was the true brain behind the idea and runs most of the day to day operations, we have an amazing and diverse team around us. I am currently focusing on our expansion to Canadian campuses.”

By pairing university students with Israeli executives in a variety of fields, Start-Up Nation Mentorship hopes to shed light on the remarkable intellectual achievements Israel boasts by giving a one-on-one mentorship opportunity to students.

In its first year, Start-Up Nation Mentorship had 50 student mentees. Now, one and a half years later, the program has grown to 18 campuses and four countries.

Each student’s mentor meets with them through video conferences twice a semester, and provides valuable advice and professional guidance to their mentees.

This coming September, Justin, there are over 150 students and mentors beginning the program. 

About to begin his medical education, Justin wants to help students connect to Israeli mentors in the STEM fields, knowing how much value can be gained by learning from others. “I always want to learn from mentors who know more than me, and hope to help other students who feel the same way.”

However, Justin’s background in Israel advocacy not only involves his work with Start-Up Nation Mentorship. He served as a student senator on the Western University Senate and as the student governor on Western’s highest authoritative body, its board of governors. While in these roles, he spearheaded an initiative for Western to become the first school in Canada to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, both helping Jewish students feel safer on campus and fighting the anti-Semitic BDS movement. He was also the national co-chair of the CJPAC Fellowship, Canada’s premiere political training program for pro-Israel students.

“I’m just trying to do my best and make a difference for the causes I care about.”

1. Coffee or tea
2. Power or Influence
3. Tattoo or Piercing neither 
4. Early or fashionably late
5. Bad habit? Whistling

Justin Shapiro was born and raised in Montreal, and studied for three years at Western University. He recently moved to Toronto and has just begun medical school at the University of Toronto. 


Interview by Adina Samuels