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Laura White on the Disruption Needed in Higher Education: Empathy

When you ask Laura White about reforming higher education, she doesn’t suggest lofty bureaucratic changes. She doesn’t talk about funding, tuition, or budget cuts. When White envisions positive changes in education, she sees one principle as the fulcrum: empathy.

Being a Changemaker in a Changing World

What does it mean to have the world’s sixteenth largest economy (which is growing rapidly), a population where 60 percent of people are under the age of 30, and an undeveloped citizen sector? For Turkey, it means having a huge potential for citizen- and youth-led social change.

Want true equality? Make everyone powerful.

I just heard a story that I adore. It comes from Ali Raza Khan, an Ashoka social entrepreneur and education reformer in Pakistan.

Last year, he challenged 6,000 poor students across 74 charity government vocational schools to create ventures within a month. He went to them and said, “I believe in you. You can all start businesses and citizen groups and you can all succeed.” He said this to all the students in all the schools, none coming from privilege.

Arizona State University is Changemaker Central

No one ever said taking your venture from the white board to the global marketplace was easy. For a college student dreaming of entrepreneurship, the prospect might seem daunting.

That’s exactly why Ashoka U partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) to build Changemaker Central. It's a hub where students share entrepreneurial resources with one another and launch ventures together.

The Future of Solar Born from a Lifetime of Innovation

UPDATE: Although it’s been just two weeks since we last checked in on the 19-year-old whiz kid Eden Full, there are a couple of updates to her impact story.

Seeing Ashoka’s Mission, Alive in Spain

Oviedo, Spain, the small capital city of the Asturias region, charms visitors with its traditional Asturian sidrerias (hard ciders), rolling green countryside, bustling Fontán market, and a beautifully-maintained old quarter. Those who are currently enjoying Asturia’s charms may also have noticed Bill Drayton, founder of Ashoka, smiling at them from posters and signs across the city, accompanied by a heightened buzz of excitement about the upcoming Prince of Asturias Award Ceremony.  

Rebooting Our Politics and Schools to Engage Young People

Students going back to school rejoin an educational assembly line designed to get them to adopt vocations which are now phasing out. It’s estimated 65% of children entering primary school will someday have jobs that don’t yet exist.  We’ll need to prepare young people very differently to handle the coming changes.

Matthias Scheffelmeier wins BMW Foundation Young Leaders Award

Matthias Scheffelmeier, program leader at Ashoka Youth Venture and coordinator of Ashoka Turkey, was awarded the prestigious BMW Foundation Young Leaders Award for his contributions to the “Changemaker City” Initiative. The annual Award recognizes Young Leaders who chart new paths and initiate, develop or support exemplary initiatives for the common good in their professional or private lives.

The Night Clinic

At 4pm, the market building begins to close. By 5, all the stalls have cleared out and the shops windows are shut, and so is the clinic. At the same time, new stalls are beginning to take over the open spaces outside the building, encroaching on anywhere that can take a stall, the street, the parking lots, and the bridges over the river, making the area a market running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

TEDx Makes Learning Fun

How to describe TEDx? Inspiring. Educational. Fun. According to the New York Times, also “sexy”. A good example encompassing all these adjectives? Ashoka and Ashoka U TEDx events!

In late September, the New York Times wrote an article about the power of TEDx, and we are thrilled that Ashoka U’s past TEDx event was mentioned. We’re proud of the events’ success and its reflection of TED values.