I will be blogging and tweeting this week from the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University. This annual event has evolved over a few short years to become arguably the most important event in the world for social entrepreneurs. Financed by the first President of eBay, Jeff Skoll, the Forum attracts the who’s who of the social entrepreneurship sector. Consider it the Davos World Forum for social entrepreneurs.
The speakers usually comprise leading politicians, academics and social entrepreneurs from throughout the world. Last year some of the headliners included former President Jimmy Carter and former Vice President Al Gore. Carter spoken movingly about the various causes he is involved in, such as eradicating various diseases in Africa. Gore, meanwhile, focused on climate change and the catastrophic implications that lay ahead unless action is taken soon.
Overall, the 2008 Forum was very inspirational and packed a stunning amount of contact into a few mere days. I expect the 2009 Forum to be equally significant. This year some the headline presentations include Kailash Satyarthi, Chairman, Global March Against Child Labour; The Honourable Mary Robinson Founder and President, PeaceWorks Group and Soraya Salti, Senior Vice President MENA, INJAZ al-Arab, JA Worldwide. Through a number of smaller sessions the Forum highlights social entrepreneurs who have undertaken creative initiatives to address some pressing social concerns.
Oxford is a perfect place for such a gathering, as the “city of dreaming spires” provides an ambiance of careful reflection and is a vivid reference point for the application of intellect for widespread influence; the intent of the organizers of the Forum is no doubt to have an impact for positive social entrepreneurship throughout the world.
Photo credit: anthea.milnes