Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I'm in Oxford, at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship.

It's been pretty cool for me, here at the Forum. As a Skoll grantee, we got to do some exciting pre-Forum stuff. The first night, we had a dinner in Exeter College. Apparently, Tolkien studied here as an undergraduate. The dining hall looked like a smaller version of the Harry Potter Hogwarts dining hall set! I also got the chance to hear Jeff Skoll speak for an hour on why he does what he does, and on what he's doing now. Pretty exciting to hear about where all this comes from!

The opening of the Forum was last night, and Vaz covered it well. I got to sit behind Sir Ben Kingsley: imagine sitting within touching distance of an avatar of Gandhi! Sir Ben described Jeff as a "living Silk Road," invoking the image of the original Silk Road making connections between Asia and Europe and bringing trade and knowledge. eBay to Participant Productions.

I'm an engineer, so I don't usually wax eloquent. But, it was definitely exciting!

I wrapped up the evening with dinner with some of the attendees, and three of the five Skoll Scholars. Two of them I know well, Keely Stevenson, the mother of the Edge, who many of you have met on-line here and Social Edge. And, Jesse Fahnestock, who Benetech lost to Oxford. Our loss, the planet's gain! It was great to see Jesse and hear about how his social entrepreneurship MBA program is turning out.

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