Abbas at Skoll World Forum 2010

It’s day 3 at the largest gathering of social entrepreneurs in the world, the Skoll World Forum. This is the seventh year of the conference, which takes place at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School. The delegates have been regaled with powerful stories of social change, and there’s been a special focus on social entrepreneurship as it effects women.
A crowd of over 700 social entreneurs, funders, journalists, and other guests gathered Wednesday evening for an opening plenary at Oxford’s renowned Sheldonian Theatre. We heard about new report from the global law firm Linklaters LLP on the governance model of Camfed; the girls whose education they fund is Camfed’s central organizational focus. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health gave us a moving appraisal of the continuing post-disaster situation in Haiti.

The social entrepreneurs and their stories have been celebrated and shared over the last two days of sessions. Pat Mitchell of V-Day told a packed session about the Eve Ensler’s inspiration behind the movement, and how girls and women have been given safe refuge and healing in both global conflict zones and in the developed world. Agnes Pareyio spoke of her role in helping to start and operate two safehouses for women running away from the prospect of female genital cutting. And last night at the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship, Sakena Yacoobi’s story of education girls and women through the Afghan Institute of Learning moved the audience to a standing ovation.

The passion, the inspiration, and the connections these social entrepreneurs have forged is the heart of the story. I am excited to bring some interviews and reflections from the Forum to the Altmuslimah community in the coming weeks. In the meanwhile, you can check out the forum’s site and search for the Twitter hashtag #swf10.
Abbas Jaffer is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah

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