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45 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 09 April 2011

The Forum programme at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship was joined by a lively international audience of social entrepreneurs, and three distinguished guests to debate the role of the hero in bringing about change.

Dr Larry Brilliant was on the United Nations team that helped eradicate smallpox and is now president of the Skoll Global Threats Fund. Ken Brecher, former director of the Sundance film festival, now runs the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. And social entrepreneur Roshaneh Zafar who was inspired by her hero the microfinance guru Muhammad Yunis to quit her job and set up the Kashf Foundation which provides loans which empower those stuck in the cycle of poverty.

Social entrepreneurs are mavericks and ruler breakers who take bold ideas from the world of business, and look for ways to improve the lives of many. But what does it mean to be a hero today? And are social entrepreneurs heroic? Is an ability to embrace risk a prerequisite for being a hero? Should the best social entrepreneurs merely facilitate our grass roots heroes in their quest. And how do you do that most effectively?

Illustration by Emily Kasriel: the heroic social entrepreneur battles ill health, ignorance and poverty.


2 items
  • Part 1

    What do you need to lead change?

  • Part 2

    The challenges that social entrepreneurs face...

  • Dr. Lawrence Brilliant

    Dr. Lawrence Brilliant

    CEO of Skoll Global Threats Fund. He is an American physician, epidemiologist, technologist, author, and the former director of Google's philanthropic arm Google.org. Dr. Brilliant is one of the leaders of the successful World Health Organisation (WHO) smallpox eradication programme.

  • Kenneth Brecher

    Kenneth Brecher

    Previously Executive Director of the Sundance Institute, now President of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, the non-profit arm that supports literacy, education, cultural, and technology programs of the Los Angeles Public Library.

  • Roshaneh Zafar

    Roshaneh Zafar

    Social entrepreneur Roshaneh Zafar is the founder and managing director of The Kashf Foundation, Pakistan's third largest microfinance institution.

  • In next week's programme

    In next week's programme The Forum focusses on the role of the British Monarchy in the 21st century.

  • The stage at the Skoll World Forum

    The stage at the Skoll World Forum

  • The Forum's guests at the Skoll World Forum

    The Forum's guests at the Skoll World Forum


Free downloads

  1. Image for Forum - A World of Ideas

    Forum - A World of Ideas

    The world's most remarkable minds tackle a big idea. Podcast weekly on Saturdays.

  2. Image for Forum - Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World

    Forum - Sixty Second Idea to Improve the World

    An imaginative, quirky solution to a challenge of our age. Podcast weekly on Saturdays.

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