Showing posts from March, 2007

The 2007 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship

The big celebration was also in the Sheldonian: the 2007 Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. And it was exciting! Below, I have picked a few select photos: the rest are on my Flickr page. Salman Ahmed got the crowd pumping as before, and then we met our four rockstar presenters (well, at least one is literally a rock star, and the other three have a pretty good claim to the status): Jeff Skoll, Peter Gabriel, Sally Osberg and Muhammad Yunus. The ten new Skoll award winners got their moment in the sun (well, the klieg lights). For social entrepreneurs (except Jeff) this is the Academy Awards, and the smiles were beaming. I picked Dan Viederman of Verite out as a good example. Do you have any doubt we are looking at a guy who has slogged through a lot of tough stuff and is celebrating the moment with zeal?

8th Gathering of Social Enterprise Alliance

I just an email noting that online registration for the Gathering closes tomorrow. I'm already registered (well, I am on the board), but thought I'd remind my buddies who are planning on attending to register now. Maybe I'll see you in Long Beach!
Just arrived in Oxford in time for the opening Monday night dinner of the Skoll Forum. The Skoll social entrepreneurs get a day together before the big opening on Tuesday afternoon. The location is Exeter College, whose dining hall was the prototype for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter film. It was a time to meet old friends and new social entrepreneurs. There are a handful of new Skoll staffers so this was a time to meet the team. It was also a chance to meet Jeff Skoll in person. Each of the new social entrepreneurs spoke for several minutes about what drew them to do this work. The funniest guy as usual was Joe Madiath. Long-time Beneblog followers know Joe as the guy who didn't fully recognize Al Gore when he bumped into him at Davos. Joe talked about organizing his father's workers while a teenagers and getting elected president of the union (he was quickly bundled off to boarding school!).

Hadley China

Content access on the internet is a constant area of fascination to me. Hadley School , the main distance education school for blind people in the U.S. turns out to have had a major program in China for almost 20 years, and they have come up with a cool way to use the net. Just got some information on this cool program: The Hadley School for the Blind has launched an innovative program of English language learning and empowerment which spans the Pacific Ocean. Hadley’s international branch is located in Fuzhou, China. In 2005 the principal of Hadley-China, Rongqiang Xia, contacted Hadley students and staff who spoke native English to see if they would like to teach Chinese Hadley students English over the internet. The native English speakers readily agreed, and an international program of empowerment, English learning, and friendship building has existed ever since. Hadley-China students, support staff from Hadley-China, and native English speakers log onto a website at the same tim

Guatemala struggles to find war crimes justice

Two good articles recently covered the Guatemala secret police archive project that we are supporting. Guatemala struggles to find war crimes justice was in the San Francisco Chronicle, and captures the personal side of this work. Many people want to know what happened to those who disappeared in Guatemala's civil war.'s Digging for the truth quotes Benetech's Tamy Guberek and notes that our Martus software is being used in the project. Finally, it notes the time pressure that often accompanies our projects. This project is supposed to be completed this year, and only a fraction of the 80 million documents will have been touched. What will happen after that is a very interesting open question.

Global Alliance for ICT and Development

Last week I attended a meeting of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID), which was subtitled "UN Meets Silicon Valley." The goal of the meeting was to talk about ways to advance crucial goals of the UN with help from the technology community, especially poverty reduction. The people in attendance were good, and I had many exciting conversations. The chair of the effort is Craig Barrett, Intel's chairman. My main concern is that the outputs seemed to be focused on predictable Silicon Valley lobbying objectives, which went under the label of creating an enabling environment. This means getting rid of telecom monopolies, competition based on open standards, adequate intellectual property protections and so on. Don't get me wrong, I think that these lobbying objectives are actually correct: the poor will probably be better off if these things happen. but, it did seem indirectly connected to poverty reduction, improved education and improved health. One