My proposal was on ensuring that all of humanity benefits from the incredible knowledge and technology. We need to encourage limitations and exceptions (like the one in the U.S. that makes Bookshare possible) and open licensing terms, so that people who the market will fail to address get the benefits of our incredibly rich and expanding knowledge base. One famous example of this approach is the affordable licensing and thus wider availability of drugs to combat HIV/AIDS in the developing world, which has literally saved the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. Another Schwab social entrepreneur, Richard Jefferson of Australia-based CAMBIA, spoke on behalf of greater transparency in patent databases as a crucial start in realizing greater access to the knowledge embedded in patents. As he pointed out in Doha, top companies rarely publish in scientific journals, compared to the amount of know-how they disclose in patent applications. James Moody, also from Australia, presented a concept for a Global Social Responsibility license focused on humanitarian applications of patents and technology.
The other session I really liked was the one on education. They were well set-up by Queen Rania of Jordan, who extensively advocated for education in her plenary speech the first day of the conference. One of their recommendations was that there be a venture capital fund for investing in education. I was able to mention the Venture Capital in Education Summit that I’m attending in New York next week. StartL, a new education VC fund backed by a number of leading American foundations, will be launching there.
I also personally delivered the business cards of Abbas Abbas, a blind Ashoka social entrepreneur, who focuses on serving the needs of Arabs with disabilities in Israel with his AlManarah (Lighthouse) Association. I had met Abbas at the Social Enterprise Alliance Summit/World Forum in San Francisco. Lisa Nitze, the new CEO of the SEA, had made a point of connecting the two of us. And, I had promised Abbas to connect him to the Mada Center in Qatar. There is a tremendous need to expand accessible content in the languages that most people with print disabilities around the world use.