Skoll World Forum 2019

Banner image with Peter Drobac and green background. Orange box with writing in it "Possibility begins when we refuse to accept injustice"

Convening communities of changemakers to forge connections and share ideas is an important part of what the Skoll Family does best.

In April 2019, the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship returned to Oxford for its 15th year.

The Forum has grown from a humble delegacy of 250 to 1200, thanks to The Skoll Foundation whose expert curation made this the largest and most diverse Skoll World Forum yet. Not to mention all those who flock to Oxford for the many fringe events that happen during Skoll week. The theme for 2019 was Accelerating Possibility. Peter Drobac had the privilege of raising the curtain at the Opening Plenary. ‘Social entrepreneurship begins with a recognition of possibility, a way to overcome an obstacle, breaking a vicious cycle, exposing an injustice.’ Peter told the New Theatre audience, ‘accelerating possibility begins when we refuse to accept an unjust status quo’.

You can watch the Skoll World Forum highlights.

Centre highlights

Shashi Buluswar, Institute for Transformative Technologies hold up a small pill in the Oxford Union Chamber

As well as four days of thought-provoking sessions, inspiring plenaries and many connections made, the Forum team brought in new ways to extend participation. The Digital Pass was a way of sharing the knowledge and insight revealed during the sessions to be accessible to all, for free!

Another way to bring together the social impact community in and around Oxford and for those not part of the 1200 delegacy, were the Ecosystem Events.

One of those Ecosystem Events included the Skoll Centre’s fiery debate at the historic Oxford Union. The proposition? ‘This house believes that tech for good is a false promise’. Arguments made by both sides included social media and its threat to fair democracy, to the innovative tech revolution happening across sub-Saharan Africa.

Watch the video recording to find out which side won!

Workshop session

Another highlight from the Skoll World Forum for the Centre was our workshop titled, Is it possible to measure systems change? This was a chance to share our academic leadership and explore the trends in assessing the causality of large-scale change and pathways to getting there.

Watch workshop recording, Is it possible to measure systems change?

12 student fellows for Skoll World Forum 2019 - Picture montage of headshots

For many years the Skoll Centre has invited students from the University of Oxford to participate as student fellow delegates at the Forum. This year was no exception. We welcomed 12 promising young change leaders to the Forum, enabling them to connect with the community and add their own unique value to the delegation.

Each one shared their experience on the Skoll Centre Blog, discussing topics from indigenous land rights to AI for good.


Thoughts on how the Forum is evolving to become more inclusive comes from the Skoll Foundation’s, Jessica Fleuti.

Stay tuned in the new year for what’s happening for the next Forum.

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