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Amazon Conservation Team and Skoll Foundation Launch Innovative New Approach to Amazon Rainforest Conservation

July 13, 2011 by

Amazon Conservation Team and Skoll Foundation Launch Innovative New Approach
to Amazon Rainforest Conservation

Biocultural Conservation Corridors in the Northeast and Southwest Amazon
ARLINGTON, VA. – July 12, 2011 – The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) and the Skoll Foundation today announced the launch of an innovative approach to protecting and managing the Amazon rainforest. The initiative focuses on the creation of “biocultural conservation corridors” that link together indigenous lands, national parks, state forests and private landholdings in two enormous swaths of South American rainforest, one in the northeast Amazon and the other in the southwest.

The project, financed partially by a Skoll investment of $1.6 million, will enable indigenous communities to prevent deforestation across 114 million acres contained in the Karib and Munde-Kwahiba ethno-environmental corridors of Brazil. This conservation model can then be applied to other regions of the Amazon. read more


Leadership and Global Social Entrepreneurship: An Interview with John Wood, Founder of Room to Read

June 23, 2011 by

Forbes has published the fourth in a series of interviews of Skoll Social Entrepreneurs working in education by Rahim Kanani, Editor-in-Chief World Affairs Commentary. See the other interviews in this series: Madhav Chavan of PrathamEllen Moir of New Teacher Center and Eric Schwartz of Schools.

Recently, I interviewed John Wood, Founder and Board Chair of Room to Read, an international non-profit organization that seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Below is an edited transcript of that discussion.

Rahim Kanani: Describe a little bit about the inspiration and motivation behind the founding of Room to Read.

John Wood: It all started a little over 10 years ago with a humble plea by a school headmaster I met in Nepal: “Perhaps, sir, you will someday come back with books.” At the time, I was on a much-needed vacation from Microsoft and trekking in the Himalayas. On the second day, I was invited to visit a rural school in Bahundanda, and when I arrived, the headmaster offered to show me the “library.” Having spent countless hours in my local library and immersed in books as a kid, I foolishly expected to see a similar setting. Imagine my shock when I found there were no desks, no chairs, no shelves and, most importantly, no books for the 450+ students. I couldn’t believe it, and it was at that moment when the schoolmaster spoke his fateful words to me about returning with books. Little did he know that I would consider it a personal challenge; here were hundreds of students who wanted to read, but simply didn’t have any books. That just seemed wholly unfair to me and I vowed to help.

Visit Forbes to read the full article.



Madhav Chavan on Universal Education in India: An Inside Look at Pratham

June 9, 2011 by

This interview is the third in a series of four interviews of Skoll Social Entrepreneurs working in education by Rahim Kanani, Editor-in-Chief World Affairs Commentary. See the other interviews in this series: Ellen Moir of New Teacher Center and Eric Schwartz of Citizen Schools.

Recently, I interviewed Dr. Madhav Chavan, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Pratham and a 2011 recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Pratham is the largest nongovernmental organisation working to provide quality education to the underprivileged children of India. Pratham was established in 1994 to provide education to the children in the slums of Mumbai city. Since then, the organization has grown both in scope and geographical coverage.

“Madhav Chavan is transforming India’s approach to children’s literacy and education,” said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “Chavan’s unwavering insistence on universal education, and his work to engage community volunteers in the quest for literacy, has already reached more than 34 million children, offering a proven model for the entire world.”

Rahim Kanani: Describe a little bit about the inspiration and motivation behind the founding of Pratham.

Madhav Chavan: The original thought that led to the formation of Pratham came from UNICEF in Mumbai. They set up the Bombay Education Initiative in order to create a three-way partnership between government, businesses, and civil society to own and solve the problems of universalization of primary education in Mumbai. The process that followed eventually led to the formation of an independent charity in which people from government, businesses, and civil society became Board members. Once this was done, we went on to build on-scale interventions.

Read the full interview.


An Interview with Ellen Moir, Founder and CEO of New Teacher Center and 2011 Skoll Foundation Awardee

May 26, 2011 by

This interview is the second in a series of four interviews of Skoll Social Entrepreneurs working in eduction by Rahim Kanani, Editor-in-Chief World Affairs Commentary. See the other interviews in this series: Madhav Chavan of Pratham and Eric Schwartz of Citizen Schools.

Recently, I interviewed Ellen Moir, Founder and CEO of New Teacher Center and a 2011 recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. NTC focuses on improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers. NTC partners with states, school districts, and policymakers to implement programs that create sustainable, high-quality mentoring and professional development; build leadership capacity; work to enhance teaching conditions; improve retention; and transform schools into vibrant learning communities where all students succeed. read more


Founder and CEO of Roots of Peace Participate in Vatican Conference on Justice and Globalization

May 24, 2011 by

The Vatican issued this press release on May 19, 2011 following the formal presentation by Heidi Kühn, Roots of Peace Founder & CEO, at the 50th Anniversary of the International Congress to more than 300 international delegates at the global forum hosted by The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vatican City.

Kühn delivered a presentation entitled “Mines To Vines: Planting The Roots of Peace” and shared her organization’s newest initiative to demine Sacred Sites in the Holy Land. read more


Lessons in Leadership: Young Women in Rural Africa Reflect on Route Out of Poverty

May 23, 2011 by

Camfed reports on progress on a major collaborative mentoring, training and economic empowerment project for young women in Africa.

Late last year, 150 ambitious young women from across Africa gathered in rural Zambia to learn lessons in leadership from some of the most inspiring social entrepreneurs in the world. Last month, these young women gathered once again to reflect on their incredible achievements so far. read more


Gaia Amazonas Secures Three Million Euros for Colombian Amazon

May 2, 2011 by

Gaia Amazonas and partners have secured three million euros from the EU for a two-year project to prepare economic alternatives and payment for ecosystem services to provide alternatives to mining for communities in the region. Skoll Foundation and AVINA supported the preparatory stage of this project.  As reported in ecoAmazonia by Maria Clara Valencia:

“In order to face the threat from mining investments in the Colombian Amazon, several organizations are preparing themselves to create economic alternatives to the region so that such activities which are increasingly imminent can be more appropriately regulated without carrying such a damaging potential.

“The European Union decided to donate 3 million Euros to support these initiatives, involving Natural National Parks, Patrimônio Natural and the Gaia Amazonas Foundation. According to information from the UN’s Convention on Biologic Diversity, this subsidy for the conservation of protected areas in Colombia would strengthen environmental governance between public authorities in Colombia, traditional authorities of indigenous people, base organizations and civil society dedicated to the conservation and sustainable development of the Amazon.”

Read the full story.


Vice Admiral Dennis V. McGinn Takes Helm of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE); Dan Reicher Becomes Chairman of ACORE Board of Directors

April 29, 2011 by

ACORE Press Release

April 27, 2011, Washington, D.C. – The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) today announced new leadership positions at the organization. Retired Vice Admiral and ACORE Advisory Board member, Dennis V. McGinn has accepted the position of President of ACORE, effective today. read more


On HuffPo: Conversation With Jeff Skoll, Dr. Paul Farmer, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the 2011 Skoll World Forum

April 25, 2011 by

Everyone had something to teach, and everyone had something to learn. It was the perfect confluence of knowledge-sharing, and knowledge-absorbing, and having attended several conferences over the years, this particular gathering was masterfully orchestrated.

Rahim Kanani, Editor-in-chief, World Affairs Commentary, describes the Skoll World Forum in his recent blog in Huffington Post. He also describes the media roundtable, a first for the Forum, with Jeff Skoll, Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Stressing perseverance, patience, and proactiveness, the Archbishop explained that “we live in a moral universe, where right and wrong matter.” But it was not merely his observations and advice that was encouraging — it was his utter passion and conviction towards this belief that transformed his insight into inspiration.

See the full blog here.


Water.Org’s Gary White and Matt Damon Named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People List

April 25, 2011 by

TIME Magazine has named Gary White and Matt Damon to the 2011 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world for their work to accelerate innovation and progress against the global water and sanitation crisis.

Actor and ocean activist Ted Danson writes about the two water advocates, “Their message is one of hope; their solutions for providing access to clean water are simple and cost effective. And their work gives us an opportunity to change lives forever.” read more


Is Microfinance the bad guy… or the fall guy? Panel Discussion of Microfinance at the 2011 Skoll World Forum

April 21, 2011 by

A panel of three microfinance experts discussed Large Scale Change in Action: Microfinance in the Balance at the 2011 Skoll World Forum opening plenary.

We are living in a “backlash of over-promise,” said Alvaro Rodriguez (Compartamos Banco). Moderator, Jonathan Lewis (Microcredit Enterprises) pointed out the elephant in the room: do you have to trade off profit for social impact? The answer from Roshaneh Zafar (Kashf Foundation) was “it’s not about numbers but about lives.”


Queen Noor of Jordan: The Democratic Deficit and the Reinvigorated Movement for Freedom and Justice Across MENA

April 21, 2011 by

Queen Noor at the 2011 Skoll World Forum

Queen Noor of Jordan is, in the words of Jeff Skoll, an international public servant and an outspoken voice on issues of world peace and justice. In her keynote speech at the close of the 2011 Skoll World Forum, Queen Noor provided deep insight into, “the most remarkable example of large-scale socio-political change. since the fall of the Soviet Union.” read more


TrustLaw Releases Multimedia Coverage of the Skoll World Forum in Oxford: 11 thought leaders interviewed

April 20, 2011 by

TrustLaw, a service of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, has published a series of 11 interviews on, “What is the Shape of Social Entrepreneurship in 2011,” from the 2011 Skoll World Forum.

“Even in the place where men and women so effectively called together called for change, we have seen a reversal of fortune… as people inthe region come to realize that more open, participatory societies will actually lead to greater stability, greater security and peace, if you will, within our society, they will also realize that… if women are not fully engaged at all levels in our society we will not acheive the potential that is there.” -Queen Noor of Jordan read more


Barefoot Collage’s “Unlikeliest of Heroes” Featured in The New York Times

April 19, 2011 by

Reporting from the World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha in November, NYTimes reporter Nazanin Lankarani tells the story of Bunker Collage, which has been expanding its training efforts to include solar technical education for grandmothers into Africa.

“Persuading the Indian immigration authorities to grant entry visas to illiterate African grandmothers who claim to be trainee solar engineers is no easy task.

“Yet, Sanjit Bunker Roy, an Indian educator, has, since 2005, succeeded in bringing 140 such women to the Barefoot College, a school he founded in 1972 in Tilonia, a village in Rajasthan State, about 95 kilometers, or 60 miles, from the state capital, Jaipur.

“’Never in the history of Africa have so many women traveled so far away, for so long, to be trained as solar engineers, without knowing how to read, write or speak the language,’” said Mr. Roy at the World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha in November.”

Read the story on


Sally Osberg: Results at Scale, Duke Divinity School Interview in Faith and Leadership Journal

April 6, 2011 by

Scaling an institution is not just a function of the organization’s size, says the President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation in an interview in the Duke Divinity School Journal: Faith and Leadership. Networks and partnerships allow ventures to have a greater impact than they could alone. read more


Skoll World Forum 2011: Archbishop Desmond Tutu Honored by Skoll Foundation as Global Treasure to the World

March 31, 2011 by

“Human beings are made for goodness. The ones that are held in high regard are not militarily powerful, nor even economically prosperous. They have a commitment to try and make the world a better place.”  – Archbishop Emeritus Desmond M. Tutu, Chair, The Elders

read more


Skoll World Forum Opens: Bloggers Launch Coverage

March 30, 2011 by

The 2011 Skoll World Forum kicked off Wednesday evening at the New Theatre with a musical performance by Senegalese Great: Baaba Maal.

Stephan Chambers, Chairman of the Skoll Centre Standing Committee, Saïd Business School, served as gracious host and Master of Ceremonies.

Jeff Skoll– Founder & Chairman, Skoll Foundation, Participant Media and Skoll Global Threats Fund–spoke on The Power of the Collective, introducing special guest Archbishop Desmond Tutu and congratulating founder Bill Drayton on Ashoka’s 30th Anniversary.

read more


Live streaming coverage of the 2011 Skoll World Forum

March 30, 2011 by

Forum 2011 – LIVE VIDEO

The theme for the 2011 Forum is “Large Scale Change – ecosystems, networks and collaborative action.” Social issues have become more global, complex and interrelated than ever before, requiring knowledge, networks and solutions to address. While social innovators continue to drive progress, change at scale requires a shift from disparate players and solutions to an ecosystem approach that removes barriers and engages the full spectrum of actors required for sustainable change.

The Skoll World Forum 2011 featured rich multimedia coverage. Simulcasts of speakers and complete sessions.

All videos are available in the archive.


Benetech Featured on PBS NewsHour: To Combat Human Rights Abuses, California Company Looks to Computer Code

March 28, 2011 by

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

AIR DATE: March 25, 2011

On March 25, 2011, PBS NewsHour’s Spencer Michels reports on a California nonprofit-BeneTech-using high-tech tools to document patterns of brutality and combat human rights abuses across the globe.

This in-depth feature on Benetech highlights both BookShare and Martus, and makes the connection between Martus human rights work and current questions about human rights abuses in Middle East.

Watch it on March 25, 2011 on PBS NewsHour and see more information on NewsHours website.


To Catch A Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Film Showing March 31 Around the USA

March 23, 2011 by

To Catch A Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America, which premiered at Sundance 2010, is coming to theaters nationwide in a ONE NIGHT ONLY event, March 31 at 7:30pm.  We hope you can attend and bring as many friends, neighbors and colleagues as possible and help spread the word!

See the theatrical trailer at and the film trailer at

Find a theater near you and buy tickets in advance at read more


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