Alumni Learnings from Ashoka Future Forum

At this year’s Ashoka FutureForum, I got the chance to witness a celebration of Global Citizen Year and youth empowerment, two things that have proved formative in my recent years. I was generously invited by virtue of my alumni status and stayed for the diverse discussions on race, technology, workplace reform, health, and art. Being around celebrated activists of all ages gave me a sense of combined comfort and urgency, something expressed by fellow participants. Comfort arose from the realization that extraordinary people were addressing the concerns that may arise at the periphery of our daily anxiety: prison reform, access to education, women’s economic empowerment, natal care, end of life care, internalized stereotyping, soil depletion, obesity, play, among almost countless other issues. At the same time, I felt an urgency stemming from the fact that people who had faced astounding adversity were transforming their communities. Attending the premier gathering for social entrepreneurs gave me hope, as in a time of social, environmental, and economic crises, there are individuals demanding more from their governments, communities, and citizens. The Ashoka fellows, our founder included, are actively creating an everyone a change-maker” ethos.