Turkey’s Changemakers project launched

I found out through a communique from Filiz Bikmen Bugay ( a true leader for philanthropy and social entrepreneurship in Europe and Turkey) the launch of a new project in Turkey, which I think is worth looking at.

The Sabanci Foundation (where Filiz is Head of Programmes), has just launched a new project called Turkey’s Changemakers, a weekly television program highlighting a new Changemaker from all across Turkey each week.

The first episode (with English subtitles)  is about the inspiring story of changemaker Dr. Zeynep Simsek, the Founding Director of the Harran University Medical School Public Health Department. Together with her colleague Dr. Ibrahim Koruk, she dedicated her work to improving health conditions of migrant farm workers which comprise almost 20% of the population in the Southeastern province of Sanliurfa (also known in short as ‘Urfa’). The episode was aired on Sunday 4 October 2009 on CNN Turk.

There is also a Turkey’s Changemakers fan club on Facebook in which each new programme is announced and where comments and suggestions are welcome.

The Sabanci Foundation is currently planning other phases of the ‘Turkey’s Changemakers’ project which will include the publication of a book, a series of DVDs and other initiatives to promote the program. By the way, the foundation was awarded the 2009 Raymond Georis Prize for Innovative Philanthropy , launched five years ago by the Network of European Foundations’ Mercator Fund, and aims to reward innovative high-impact European initiatives that illustrate European leadership on global and social issues.


Skoll World Forum 2009

There are only 3-4 world forums that I would like to participate in my lifetime, one of them is the renowned and unique 2009 Skoll World Forum , a joint venture between “The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship” at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and “The Skoll Foundation“.

The forum, which is dubbed as the “Davos of Social Entrepreneurhsip”,  runs between 25-27 March and is covered by Social Edge, the online media partner for the sixth consecutive year. 

The Skoll Foundation was founded by billionnaire Jeffrey Skoll (first employee and first president of eBay) who stressed in his opening speech that ” Nothing can stop a social entrepreneur. The world needs you more than ever”. 

The forum, focuses this year on the theme of “Shifting Power Dynamics” and is attended by record numbers. Some 800 social entrepreneurs, academics, financiers, politicians, policy makers and others from over 60 countries around the world have assembled in Oxford to look at new ways to tackle the challenges that face humanity: poverty, climate change, disease and more. 

  • The coverage of the event is not very user-friendly but the patient reader will find a wealth of information by surfing around the various blog pages at Social Edge
  • The Social Enterprise online magazine has a very good coverage of the event here
  • Live streaming is here: http://www.skollworldforum.com/
  • The Twitter hashtag to follow is  #swf09 

About Social Entrepreneurship

Muhammad Yunus (the founder of Grameen Bank microfinance) of course is almost synonymous to the concept of a “social entrepreneur”  and his Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 helped to bring the social entrepreneurship idea to the forefront of attention.  

The definition of a social entrepreneur put forward by the Skoll Foundation is that of “a society’s change agent; a pioneer of innovations that benefit humanity”.  

Bill Drayton, CEO, chair and founder of Ashoka, the  global nonprofit organization devoted to developing the profession of social entrepreneurship, has described it in this way: “Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” 

[Remark: It sounds funny to speak about social entrepreneurship in countries like mine, Greece, where the notion of entrepreneurship as such is still a question mark and it sometimes comes under fire; however it always pays off to open up to new concepts because you never know who listens and where radical change will come from]