Beeta Ansari

Beeta is Ashoka U’s Exchange Director, the world’s largest global convening for social entrepreneurship education.

The Ashoka Collaborations Track: How understanding Ashoka can transform your work

What is Ashoka? We get asked that question a lot.

To understand our work as Ashoka U, the higher education initiative of Ashoka, we believe it’s important to start at the beginning: with Ashoka.

If we had to sum it up in a sentence we’d say that Ashoka builds networks of changemakers and social innovators to tackle the world’s biggest problems. You can also check out this recent New York Times article which provides a high level overview of Ashoka’s vision.

But what does all this really mean?

Like anything worth talking about, it takes more than one sentence to communicate the full picture of what defines Ashoka. Ashoka is very much like a constellation – it is comprised of many different programs and initiatives, each of which are stars in their own way. However, it is only once you take a step back that you can really grasp the big picture – and what brings all of us together is the belief that everyone should be able to look inside themselves and find a changemaker.

This year, we’ve designed the 2018 Exchange to include a curated set of opportunities to engage with the many initiatives that make up Ashoka, in addition to Ashoka U.

As innovators in higher education you are shaping the future of colleges and universities and the role they can play in enabling and educating changemakers. This is true both within your institutions and beyond. You are doing this in the educational experiences you are designing for hundreds and thousands of students, the culture and operations that you are shifting in your institutions, and in the leadership role that many of you are playing to shift the field of higher education to a new norm.

Our hope is that the first ever Ashoka Collaborations Track will help you deeply understand what drives Ashoka and what we strive for. But we don’t want to just stop there.

This track is made up of seven sessions, each featuring different aspects of Ashoka’s work and derived from over three decades of insights from Ashoka’s global network of social innovators. They will be led by some of our networks brilliant minds: Ashoka staff with decades of experience and Ashoka Fellows at the center of solving some of our most pressing challenges. Each session is designed to share these insights, offer concrete ways for you to apply them to your own work, and spark collaborations with Ashoka initiatives that can advance your teaching, research and community partnerships. We’ve designed the track so that you can join one, or a few, or all of the sessions, depending on your interest and availability.

Here’s a quick summary to help you understand what will be a part of the track, and which sessions you’ll want to add to your schedule. And if you can’t join us in Boston this year, this summary will give you an insight into the range of Ashoka’s initiatives that are relevant to higher education and are creating an enabling environment for changemakers.

1) The Why, What, & How of Operating in a “New World”: Ashoka’s big vision

2) Harvesting Global Trends from 3500 Social Innovators: Open Q&A

3) Social Entrepreneurship Reboot: Challenging Conventional Wisdom About Our Field, Its Promise, and the Role of Higher Ed in Shaping It

4) Spotting Changemakers Everywhere: How you can see and support an Everyone a Changemaker Country – It will cover Ashoka’s work across the US

5) It Takes an Ecosystem to Create a Changemaker: Ashoka’s work across cities

6) Partnerships: Beyond Higher Ed & Into K-12

7) Graduating Millions of Changemakers: Ashoka U’s strategy for systems change

You can read more about all the sessions in the Ashoka Collaborations Track here.

The bottom line is that none of us can afford to work in isolation anymore. We all need to reach beyond our departments, institutions, and even beyond higher education as a sector. We need to understand what all of our daily struggles and successes add up to.

The Ashoka Collaborations Track is your opportunity to see how you can, and do, fit into something bigger than your program, your institution, or your field.

Will you join us?

The 2018 Exchange is being hosted by Babson College on April 5-7, 2018 in Boston, MA. More information about Exchange sessions, logistics, and pricing is available here. Limited scholarships are still available.