PALO ALTO, CALIF. | The Skoll Foundation recently announced the recipients of the 2013 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. Chosen from hundreds of applicants, the award recognizes a highly selective group of the world’s most promising social entrepreneurs.
Among the more intriguing recipients is the Independent Diplomat, led by Carne Ross. Independent Diplomat (ID) helps marginalized countries and groups have a say in international negotiations about their own future. An experienced team of former diplomats, international lawyers and experts in international relations, ID provides advice on diplomatic strategy to break open the closed doors of international diplomacy. ID’s work ensures that those most affected are included in diplomatic discussions, making resulting agreements fairer and more likely to last.
At issue is that diplomacy is not practiced on an even playing field. “Marginalized governments and groups are often unable to present their views effectively due to lack of resources, experience or expertise,” according to ID’s portfolio. “This is not only unfair, but too often produces unsustainable agreements that fail to take everyone’s interests into account. “Many critical issues are now global, requiring complex, multilayered diplomacy and negotiations among states and multilateral organizations, presenting an even more complex and opaque system for the less experienced to navigate. Recent events such as the Arab Spring and the climate negotiations at the UN Conference of Parties demonstrate that representative, non-state groups as well as small nations are critical to negotiation success; however, many of these parties lack diplomatic experience.”
The Skoll Foundation’s annual awards provide unrestricted funding to extend the reach of organizations that have achieved significant impact in tackling the world’s most pressing problems through social entrepreneurship. Each awardee will receive a three-year operating support grant and will be invited to join the global network of Skoll social entrepreneurs, which currently numbers ninety-seven individuals from eighty organizations.
In addition to Independent Diplomat, other Skoll awardees include Crisis Action, which brings human rights and humanitarian organizations together to protect civilians from armed conflict; the Khan Academy, whose online educational content enables independent learners worldwide to learn at their own pace through a blended learning model; the Citizens Foundation, which provides affordable primary and secondary private education to low-income students, especially girls, in urban slums and rural areas in Pakistan; BasicNeeds, which raises awareness and promotes more effective treatment of mental health problems that affect millions of people in developing countries; and World Health Partners, which works to improve the quality of rural health care through the creation of a complete service-delivery ecosystem.
“While Skoll’s six new awardees focus on different issues,” said Skoll Foundation president and CEO Sally Osberg, “they share what Skoll believes is key to accelerating large-scale change: an entrepreneurial approach, a proven innovation with demonstrated impact that can be scaled, focus on a pressing issue that is at an inflection point, and an ability to catalyze systems change.”
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