Beeta Ansari

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

Announcing the 2019 Exchange Keynote Speakers


Why do ordinary people need to understand power? In an age of rapid change, what is a critical next step for the future of higher education? How do changemaker movements happen – and why is it incredibly important for aspiring changemakers to understand?

These are just some of the questions leading innovators and thinkers will discuss during our keynotes at the 2019 Ashoka U Exchange, February 21-23, 2019 in San Diego, California, co-hosted by University of California, San Diego.

In alignment with the 2019 Exchange theme, “Beyond Boundaries and Borders: Expanding Possibilities for the Future of Higher Education”, we’re excited to feature leaders from across fields and expand the way we consider the roles we play as educators, leaders, innovators, and changemakers.

We have an all-star line-up of visionary social innovators kicking off each day including Eric Liu, Founder & CEO of Citizen University on Saturday, February 23, who will share why understanding power can transform an ordinary citizen into a force for good.

Rev. Jennifer Bailey, 2016 Ashoka Fellow & Founder and Executive Director of Faith Matters Network, Erica Gerrity, 2018 Ashoka Fellow & Co-founder and Executive Director of  Ostara Initiative, and Jessica Ladd, 2018 Ashoka Fellow & Founder and CEO of Callisto  will come together on Thursday, February 21 to discuss, in a fireside chat, what (and what not) makes an effective social change movement.

And on Friday, February 22, Antionette D. Carroll, Founder, President & CEO of Creative Reaction Lab, Peter Drobac, Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford, Abby Falik, 2014 Ashoka Fellow & Founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year, and Andrew Petter, President of Simon Fraser University, will discuss the next phase of higher education in a rapidly changing world.

Want to learn more? Read more about our line-up of speakers below.


Eric Liu, Founder & CEO of Citizen University

Eric Liu is an author, educator, and civic entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Citizen University, which promotes and teaches the art of powerful citizenship through a portfolio of national programs, and the executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program.

His books include the national bestsellers The Gardens of Democracy, and The True Patriot, co-authored with Nick Hanauer. Eric’s most recent book is You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen. His first book, The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker, was a New York Times Notable Book featured in the PBS documentary “Matters of Race.” His other books include A Chinaman’s Chance: One Family’s Journey and the Chinese American Dream; Guiding Lights: How to Mentor – and Find Life’s Purpose, the Official Book of National Mentoring Month; and Imagination First, co-authored with Scott Noppe-Brandon of the Lincoln Center Institute, which explores ways to unlock imagination in education, politics, business and the arts.

Eric served as a White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and later as the President’s deputy domestic policy adviser. After the White House, he was an executive at the digital media company RealNetworks.

Eric lives in Seattle, where he teaches civic leadership at the University of Washington and hosts Citizen University TV, an award-winning television program about civic power. Eric also serves on numerous nonprofit and civic boards. He is the co-founder of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility. A board member of the Corporation for National and Community Service, he is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School. A regular columnist for and a correspondent for, Eric can be found on Twitter @ericpliu.

He’ll be speaking in the closing keynote on Saturday, February 23 at 11:30 am in Mandiville Auditorium at University of California, San Diego.


Rev. Jennifer Bailey, Ashoka Fellow & Founder and Executive Director, Faith Matters Network

Named one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress, Rev. Jennifer Bailey is an ordained minister, public theologian, and emerging national leader in multi-faith movement for justice. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Faith Matters Network, a Womanist-led organization equipping community organizers, faith leaders, and activists with resources for connection, spiritual sustainability, and accompaniment.

Reverend Bailey comes to this work with nearly a decade of experience at nonprofits combatting intergenerational poverty. She is the co-founder of The People’s Supper. Since January 2017, The People’s Supper has hosted over 1,400 suppers in 121 communities nationwide focusing on bringing people together to engage constructively on issues affecting their communities. Along the way, the project has teamed up with ordinary citizens, schools, workplaces, faith communities, and neighborhood organizations to create space of collective healing over nourishing meals and conversation.   An Ashoka FellowOn Being Fellow and Truman Scholar, Reverend Bailey is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church—the first historically black Protestant denomination in the world. 

She’ll be speaking in the opening keynote, “Welcoming Change: Changemaker Movements”, on February 21 at 8:30am in the Paradise Ballroom at Paradise Point.


Erica Gerrity – 2018 Ashoka Fellow & Co-founder and Executive Director, Ostara Initiative

Erica Gerrity is a co-founder and the Executive Director of the Ostara Initiative, a hybrid non-profit dedicated to innovation at the intersection of health and mass maternal incarceration. Erica designed, launched, and replicated the Minnesota Prison Doula Project over the past twelve years, supporting more than 2,000 incarcerated mothers during that time. She has attended the births of women in prison and supported families affected by incarceration as a child and family therapist.

Today she is working to bring human-rights based reproductive health care to pregnant detained people in three countries. She gets out of bed in the morning with the mission to collectively reimagine what justice can look like in our lifetime, and to disrupt the womb to prison pipeline in America in partnership with formally incarcerated people.

She’ll be speaking in the opening keynote, “Welcoming Change: Changemaker Movements”, on February 21 at 8:30 am in the Paradise Ballroom at Paradise Point.


Jessica Ladd – 2018 Ashoka Fellow & Founder and CEO, Callisto

Jess Ladd is the Founder & CEO of Callisto, a nonprofit that creates technology to combat sexual assault, support survivors, and advance justice. Callisto’s online sexual assault reporting system helps detect repeat sexual offenders and connect survivors with support.

Before founding Callisto, Jess developed a series of online services for STD prevention and control, worked for the White House Domestic Policy Council, and took on such positions as sexual health educator, policy advocate, and researcher for a variety of organizations.

Ladd is a 2018 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship recipient, a 2018 Ashoka Fellow, and a Senior TED Fellow. She is also the co-founder of The Social Innovation Lab, an incubator for startups for social good, in Baltimore. Jess completed her Masters in Public Health at Johns Hopkins and her BA in Public Policy/Human Sexuality at Pomona.

She’ll be speaking in the opening keynote, “Welcoming Change: Changemaker Movements”, on February 21 at 8:30 am in the Paradise Ballroom at Paradise Point.


 Antionette D. Carroll – Founder, President & CEO of Creative Reaction Lab

Antionette D. Carroll is the Founder, President and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab, a nonprofit educating and deploying youth leadership to challenge racial inequities impacting Black and Latinx populations. Within this capacity, Antionette has pioneered a new, award-winning form of creative problem solving called Equity-Centered Community Design (named a Fast Company World Changing Idea Finalist in General Excellence and Urban Design).

Creative Reaction Lab is creating a collaborative youth-led, community-centered movement challenging racial inequities in the education, media, health and healthcare, and government and public service sectors. Throughout her career, Antionette has worked for non-profits working for social justice, human rights, and diversity and inclusion. Antionette’s personal mission in life is to CHALLENGE standards, make CHANGE, and CHAMPION approaches resulting in foundational and community impact. As a former Ferguson resident, the death of Michael Brown, Jr. changed her from a typical 9-to-5 graphic designer to a social entrepreneur, design thinking facilitator, community organizer, and social impact design advocate.

Antionette is a TED Fellow, Camelback Ventures Fellow, 4.0 Schools Tiny Fellow, Next City Vanguard, 2017 Essence Magazine #100 Most Woke Woman, Subject Matter Advisor for Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities, StartingBloc Fellow, and an American Express/Ashoka Emerging Innovator.

She’ll be speaking in the day two keynote, “Graduating Changemakers: Expanding Possibilities for Higher Ed in the 21st Century”, on February 22 at 8:30am in the Paradise Ballroom at Paradise Point.


Peter Drobac – Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford

A global health physician and social entrepreneur, Peter Drobac is the Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. The Skoll Centre promotes social innovation by developing talent, promoting actionable insight through research, and catalysing deep exchanges with a global community of innovators.

Peter was a co-founder and first Executive Director of the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) in Rwanda. Working at the intersection of health, education, and technology, UGHE aspires to train the next generation of global health leaders and to become a worldwide innovation hub for health care delivery science.

For over a decade Peter played a key role in the transformation of Rwanda’s health system, which has delivered unprecedented gains in population health and prosperity. As Executive Director of Partners In Health in Rwanda, Peter established community-based health system incubators that developed and scaled care delivery innovations from infectious diseases to cancer.

Peter’s academic interests include implementation science and the development of high-performing health systems. As an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, he taught global health, social medicine and clinical infectious disease. He holds a Master of Public Health from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and a Doctor of Medicine from the Medical College of Wisconsin.

He’ll be speaking in the day two keynote, “Graduating Changemakers: Expanding Possibilities for Higher Ed in the 21st Century”, on February 22 at 8:30am in the Paradise Ballroom at Paradise Point.


Abby Falik – Ashoka Fellow & Founder and CEO, Global Citizen Year

Abby Falik, founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year, is an award-winning social entrepreneur. Global Citizen Year is an Oakland-based non-profit that recruits and trains a diverse corps of American high school seniors to participate in an immersion-based international bridge year – often called a gap year – before starting college. The organization is founded on the idea that America’s next generation of leaders will require global citizenship to effectively address the problems of the 21st century.

A recognized expert on social innovation and the changing landscape of education, Falik has been featured in Forbes, NPR, The Washington Post and The New York Times. In 2018 she was named one of Goldman Sachs’ 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, and in 2016 Fast Company named her one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.

For her achievements as a social entrepreneur, she has been recognized as an Ashoka Fellow and a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur. She currently serves on the advisory boards of World Learning, Teach for All and the Harvard Business School. She received a B.A. in international relations and an M.A. in International Comparative Education from Stanford University. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School. Abby lives in Oakland with her husband, Joel Segre, and two young sons, Rio and Luca.

She’ll be speaking in the day two keynote, “Graduating Changemakers: Expanding Possibilities for Higher Ed in the 21st Century”, on February 22 at 8:30am in the Paradise Ballroom at Paradise Point.


Andrew Petter – President, Simon Fraser University

Andrew Petter, C.M., Q.C. is the President and Vice Chancellor of Simon Fraser University and Professor in its School of Public Policy.  Prior to joining SFU in 2010, he was Professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Victoria where he served as Dean from 2001 to 2008. He previously taught at Osgoode Hall Law School and practiced law with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice.

From 1991 to 2001, Professor Petter served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia and held numerous cabinet portfolios, including Aboriginal Affairs, Advanced Education and Attorney General.

He has written extensively in areas of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, including works on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canadian federalism.

Professor Petter holds an LL.B. from University of Victoria and an LL.M. from Cambridge University.  He is a member of the British Columbia and Saskatchewan law societies.

In 2018, he was admitted into the Order of Canada in recognition of his commitment and leadership in advancing university-community engagement and higher education throughout the country.

Since becoming President, Professor Petter has overseen the development and implementation of a Strategic Vision that seeks to distinguish SFU as a “leading engaged university defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting edge research, and far-reaching community engagement.”

He’ll be speaking in the day two keynote, “Graduating Changemakers: Expanding Possibilities for Higher Ed in the 21st Century”, on February 22 at 8:30am in the Paradise Ballroom at Paradise Point.


Want to join 700+ education innovators and attend the 2019 Exchange in San Diego? Register here!