"Today’s environment is full of challenges, innovation is more critical than ever, and education and universities should be ground zero. When I talk to students who want to change the world, I talk about the need to gain a deep understanding of what is with the ability to imagine what could be.” - Roger Nozaki, Brown University noted one of the keynote addresses from this year's AshokaU Exchange.
The conference brought together 650 faculty, staff, administrators, and students from 150 colleges and universities representing 30 countries and social entrepreneurs from around the world to discuss who the “The New Scholar” is and how he/she can be equipped to create innovative solutions for the world’s most pressing problems.
"We are not just raising questions about new trends in teaching and research for social innovation and entrepreneurship. We are asking how to integrate positive community impact with teaching and research," stated Marina Kim, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Ashoka U.
The opening plenary panel on Thursday, February 20 brought together Angel Taveras, Mayor of Providence, with Jonathan Greenblatt, Director, White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, Christina Paxson, President of Brown University, and Diana Wells, President of Ashoka and a Brown Board of Trustee member to discuss creating and nurturing a collaborative ecosystem between the university and the community.
Changemaking enabled by higher education - recognizing new approaches
The Cordes Foundation and AshokaU then recognized impactful, replicable and innovative approaches to education, like Brown’s Social Innovation Fellowship, Echoing Green’s Work on Purpose , which helps young people find their place in the ecosystem of social impact work, and CityStudio Vancouver, which invites students to co-create solutions with city government officials.
This year's exchange was bigger than ever before and the conversations online were as exciting as those taking place offline. Some great moments on twitter:
"Start w/ a problem you want to solve, there is almost no place better than a university to address & solve it." -Diana Wells (president of Ashoka) #Exchange2014
— Ashoka U (@AshokaU)
AshokaU's Exchange 2014 Director Beeta Ansari shares tips to grow a conference by 2500%:
1. Let the community speak for itself
Eighty percent of featured content at the Exchange is produced and delivered directly by participants. Every Exchange attendee is a thought leader in his/her own right (we can ensure this through our rigorous application process), and Ashoka U provides the platform and curation design for dissemination of cutting edge innovations.
Watch a great summary of the events: