Sunday, 29 April 2007

Human Rights Masterclass

Said Business School
Wednesday 28th March 2007

Jim Fruchterman introducing the Social Entrepreneurship in Human Rights Master Class at the 2007 Skoll World Forum — photo Hutchinson

• After attending the launch of The Hub, I went to the Social Entrepreneurs in Human Rights Master Class being held at the Said Business School. It was being facilitated by Jim Fruchterman of Benetech, and attended by Peter Gabriel and Gillian Caldwell of WITNESS, Jeroo Billimoria of the Child Savings international project Aflatoun, Nina Smith of Rugmark USA, and Karen Tse of International Bridges to Justice.

There weren’t very many people at this Master Class ... a great many other options were going on at the same time. It gave me cause to reflect on the relative popularity of human rights-based initiatives at this Forum ... Gillian Caldwell put it succinctly when she remarked that “...the human rights framework is an under-rated resource in the advocacy for social entrepreneurship.”

• Jim Fruchterman’s work is legendary in the leveraging of technical advances from Silicon Valley to practically help people in the disability and human rights sectors. He was named as a MacArthur Fellow in 2006. (This Fellowship —popularly known as the ‘genius’ award — is a $500,000, no-strings-attached grant for individuals who have shown exceptional creativity in their work and the promise to do more).

• Jeroo Billimoria is really a “serial entrepreneur” who is most well-known for her work in creating the Childline network supporting street children throughout India. She is now heading up Aflatoun, a new international initiative teaching children their rights and responsibilities, and in particular fostering child savings schemes and teaching how to manage money.

• Also present at the workshop was Wilford Welch, a former American diplomat, who is the author of a forthcoming book “The Tactics of Hope: Your Guide to Becoming a Social Entrepreneur”.
— short interview with Jim Fruchterman on his MacArthur Fellowship (2006)
Jim Fruchterman - Eye To Eye: An Online Library For The Blind (CBS News)
The Aflatoun website