Video-tastic: social entrepreneurs in Melbourne + New York

Whilst SSE's focus has been resolutely on the UK over the past 6 months (hello Cornwall, Yorkshire, Devon, Hampshire to the growing franchise), there's also been a bit of international expansion and work going on as well.

By all accounts (there was a significant UK / Scottish presence…), the Social Enterprise World Forum 09 in Melbourne was a great event, and congrats are due to the organisers (Social Traders and all at Social Ventures Australia). To get a sense of what the event was like, you can check out the photo gallery (look forward to Voice 10 being opened with a 'smoking ceremony') or, better still, watch the video of the centrepiece debate, featuring SSE CEO Alastair Wilson in fine form:

SEWF Debate: There's no business like social business from Rowan Attenborough on Vimeo.

Second up video-wise, SSE was the UK partner in recruiting and inputting into the design of the Ariane de Rothschild Fellows Programme on Dialogue and Social Entrepreneurship, involving Jewish and Muslim social entrepreneurs from France, UK and US. Again, it was an exciting thing to be involved in, and we were delighted with the UK participants selected: an amazing bunch, including two SSE Fellows (Athol + Mobeen) and one current SSE student (Norma). Here is a 5 minute video that gives you an insight into the 2 week programme in New York:

There is also a round-up video from the US partner / delivery organisation, Columbia University here:

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Gore, greenness and giving

I watched An Inconvenient Truth last night (I know: bit behind the times etc) which was good, if fairly depressing, Sunday night viewing. I found the powerpoint / argument / evidence compelling and got increasingly frustrated with the Gore-centred family interludes. Well worth seeing, as it does (re) inspire you to act and do what you can (particularly the credits, which are brilliantly done).

It was also remarkably relevant, given the conference in Bali currently and the news that Australia (as promised in recent election) has signed up to the Kyoto agreement. Which, at least according to Gore’s film, leaves the US as the only ‘advanced nation’ left who hasn’t. Nuff said. Of course, there will be those wondering why everyone has to fly to a beautiful location in Indonesia for the event (and, btw, it’s remarkable how many shots of Al Gore in an airport there are in the film), but let’s hope the outcomes justify the carbon outlay.

In other Gore-related news, my favourite headline of last week was "How the other half give", which discusses a hugely glamorous event to raise cash from, and engage/involve, celebrities for charitable causes. Those attending included Al Gore, Bob Geldof, Benazir Bhutto, Bianca Jagger… Jon Bon Jovi. Very much like the SSE Xmas party, then, just with less glamour but a slightly larger budget. Apparently, the last event involved spending of £800,000, of which half was on fundraising costs; which doesn’t seem like a great return, but there you go. If, as the organisers put it, it is as much about "educating" those present as it is about philanthropy, then let’s hope those objectives are achieved. The power that celebrities have to raise awareness and model behaviour remains extraordinary in today’s world.

But raising awareness has to translate into action, and that is where some high-profile figures do better than others. What stayed with me most from Gore’s film, alongside all the science, was his quote from Winston Churchill, and it seems to be very much about that urgency to act…not just speak and reflect.

"The era of
procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing, and baffling
expedience of delays is coming to a close. In its place, we
are coming to a period of consequences."

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