“I see evil and impunity, and it makes me angry,” human rights attorney Amal Clooney said Friday to an audience packed with activists, philanthropists and politicians in Oxford, U.K. “I say to students when I teach at law schools, ‘Make it actionable anger.’ If you feel angry when reading the news, turn that into action.”

Clooney and her husband, film star George Clooney, headlined the final session of the Skoll World Forum, capping a four-day run of solution-oriented panels focused on tackling the world’s most intractable problems. More than 1,500 attendees shared best practices for confronting climate change, public health crises, disinformation, the rise of autocrats around the world, and much more. 

The Clooneys spoke about their work at the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which offers free legal support to victims of human rights abuses and has also worked to track down war criminals and bring them to justice. 

“Our mandate comes into play whenever we see the rule of law breaking down,” Amal Clooney said. “Unfortunately, we have a lot to do at the moment.” 

The rule of law breaks down during times of war and conflict, but it’s more than that, she said. “There’s also a war on truth and truth-tellers and journalists. We need to fight against that as well,” she said. “And in too many places, there’s a war on women.”

Many of those problems intersect: climate change is expanding mosquitos’ range, leading to more malaria; anti-vaccination falsehoods that spread online during the pandemic led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary COVID-19 infections and deaths.

The closing session also featured Peter Sands, the former CEO of Standard Chartered Bank who now leads the Global Fund, which raises and distributes billions of dollars each year to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. 

Attendees also heard a video message from Muhammad Yunus, who won the Nobel Prize for pioneering the concept of microcredit and who was sentenced in January to six months in jail for allegedly violating Bangladesh’s labor laws – charges he says were politically motivated.

Speakers encouraged attendees to keep fighting. “At the end of the day, it’s about us and what we do,” said Gayle Smith, the former CEO of the One Campaign, which works to end extreme poverty and preventable disease. “It’s up to us to step up.”

Collaboration is vital, too. Amal Clooney said she has recently teamed up with Michelle Obama and Melinda Gates, “so our three foundations can work together to combat child marriage and increase education for girls.” 

George Clooney, meanwhile, spoke about the need to push through challenges – and to keep at it. 

“This is a long project of failure. We’re going to keep doing it,” he said. “It’s a long, slow process. But in spite of setbacks, there are still great steps and leaps.”

He commended forum participants for focusing on solving the problems that confront society: “It’s nice to be in a room with people who get shit done,” he said.

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