The Exchange agenda features the world’s leaders in social innovation in higher education.  The agenda is designed to challenge your thinking and drive the future of your work. 

At-A-Glance Agenda

Wednesday, April 4

12:00pm – 5:00pm                   Registration

4:00pm – 6:00pm                    Meet & Greet Welcome Reception (optional)


Thursday, April 5

7:30am – 8:00am                     Registration

8:00am – 6:00pm                    Marketplace at the Exchange

8:00am – 9:00am                    Breakfast

9:00am – 10:30am                  Opening Keynote

11:00am – 12:30pm                 Breakout Sessions, Site Visits, Cross Ashoka Track

12:30pm – 2:00pm                  Lunch, including Community Lunch Discussions

2:00pm – 3:30pm                    Breakout Sessions, Site Visits, Cross Ashoka Track

4:00pm – 5:30pm                    Breakout Sessions, Site Visits, Cross Ashoka Track


Friday, April 5

7:30am – 8:00am                    Registration

8:00am – 6:00pm                   Marketplace at the Exchange

8:00am – 9:00am                   Breakfast

9:00am – 10:30am                 Opening Keynote

11:00am – 12:30pm                Breakout Sessions, Site Visits, Cross Ashoka Track

12:30pm – 2:00pm                 Lunch, including Community Lunch Discussions

2:00pm – 3:30pm                   Breakout Sessions, Site Visits, Cross Ashoka Track

4:00pm – 5:30pm                   Breakout Sessions, Site Visits, Cross Ashoka Track


Saturday, April 7

8:00am – 9:00am                   Breakfast

9:00am – 10:30am                 Breakout Sessions, Site Visits, Cross Ashoka Track

11:00am – 12:00pm                Closing Keynote

12:00pm – 1:00pm                 Farewell Reception



We are excited to announce that Bill Drayton, Founder & CEO of Ashoka, and world-renowned social entrepreneur will be one of our keynotes this year.  Bill founded Ashoka in 1981. Today Ashoka ranks in the top five of the world’s NGO’s by NGO Advisor. Bill has too many awards to name, including a declaration from Bill Clinton that he would not rest until the founder of Ashoka received the Nobel Peace Prize. We are honoured and excited to have Bill share his wisdom with the Ashoka U Exchange community.

Stay tuned for the full list of 2018 keynote speakers.



About 70% of the Exchange content is selected directly from our community of participants. This year we received over 300 presentation submissions – a 60% increase from 2017 with the highest quality to date.

While we finalize the agenda check out a few of the sought-after sessions from our 2017 Exchange:

  • Paths, Impacts & Challenges for social innovation and service learning
  • Collaboration for Institutional Change
  • Introduction to Systems Change
  • Integrating Curricular & Co-Curricular Offerings
  • How to Build It So They Will Come: Best Practices in Student Engagements
  • Measuring the Impact of Social Innovation Education

This year, for the first time, we will also be hosting “Big Idea Talks” throughout the Exchange. These TED-style talks will showcase big-picture, cutting- edge ideas from inspiring speakers on topics such as future scenarios for higher education and big ideas around social impact.

Site Visits


Boston is a hub of social innovation. This year we’ve lined up a number of site visits to showcase the inspiring work happening around the city.  Attendees will have the opportunity to choose one site visit during the conference.  So far our Boston site visit hosts include:



  • Bridgespan – a leading consulting group that works with mission-driven organizations,
  • The Base – an urban youth training organization that uses baseball to change minds and lives,
  • and Babson’s Boston campus – which catalyzes social entrepreneurship in both students, and the wider Boston community.



This year the Exchange will have a number of special interest tracks that will be open to general attendees. Stay tuned for a full list of the Exchange 2018 tracks.


The Grunin Law & Social Innovation Track

The Grunin Foundation, NYU Law School’s Grunin Center for Law and Social Entrepreneurship, and Ashoka will host the second annual Law and Social Innovation Track at 2018 Exchange. The Track will bring together a community of thought leaders and innovators in the field of legal education to dive into how law schools can and must support future lawyers as changemakers.


The Cross Ashoka Track

We will host the first-ever Ashoka Track, inviting participants to learn about Ashoka’s systems change strategies across a wide range of sectors.  Attendees will engage with some of Ashoka’s top social change thought leaders, and be able to connect with partnership opportunities with Ashoka’s broad network of changemakers around the world.


For Presenters

If you are a presenter, please note that:

  • All selected presenters are responsible for expenses incurred in conjunction with the 2018 Ashoka U Exchange including registration, housing, and travel.
  • Proposal submission topics cannot be changed after the review and selection process.
  • Majority of speakers are placed in a session with 2-3 additional speakers and a facilitator. Ashoka U will edit presentation titles and session descriptions for consistency and clarity.
  • Acceptance notifications were sent out October 16, 2017.
  • Presenters must register by December 15, 2017 to guarantee their place on the program.

Download programs from previous years to see highlights and speakers:

2017 – at Miami Dade College, Miami, FL

2016 – at Tulane University; New Orleans, Louisiana

2015 – at University of Maryland; Washington, DC

2014 – at Brown University; Providence, Rhode Island

2013 – at University of San Diego; San Diego, California

2012 – at Arizona State University; Phoenix, Arizona

2011 – at Duke University; Durham, North Carolina