Disinformation, rising authoritarianism, economic disparity and climate change will top the agenda this week at the 21st annual Skoll World Forum, where world leaders and social innovators will seek to solve the world’s most vexing problems.

The Skoll World Forum, dubbed “Davos for the nonprofit set,” will draw 1,500 of the world’s top thinkers, influencers, politicians and entrepreneurs to the four-day event, beginning April 9, at University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. The forum this year will focus on opportunities for innovation to drive social progress, and keynote speakers include Amal and George Clooney, Ireland’s first woman president Mary Robinson, and former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

In a year when half the global population will cast ballots in national elections, change leaders, including Ian Bassin, co-founder and executive director of Protect Democracy, and Áurea Carolina, executive director at Brazil’s largest civil engagement platform, NOSSAS, will share innovative civic tools for strengthening community resilience, protecting the integrity of elections, and fighting back against a tide of disinformation. 

Nancy Lindborg, president and CEO of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, will help lead a panel discussion on how to increase financing for climate change mitigation programs worldwide. Other sessions will examine the climate crisis from different angles, including efforts to minimize climate change impacts on human health in communities that are already feeling the effects.

As government and industry wrestle with the potential disruptions and ethical perils of the rapid growth in artificial intelligence, Skoll Forum speakers including technologist Kate Kallot, machine learning entrepreneur Jim Fruchterman and Digital Green CEO Rikin Gandhi will discuss how they are using AI to bring positive change to areas such as health care, agriculture and democracy. 

The Marmalade Festival, held concurrently with the forum, will offer an eclectic array of talks and workshops, many of them organized by World Forum attendees. While some of the events will echo themes at the World Forum, others will dive into gender equality issues, the power of art and creativity in solving social problems, and practical tips for activists and philanthropists to better reach their goals.

The Skoll World Forum is organized by the Skoll Foundation, named after its billionaire founder Jeff Skoll. The film producer and former president of eBay created the foundation in 1999 to advocate for sustainability, prosperity and peace. The group held the first Forum in 2004, and it has returned to Oxford every year since. 

Most of this week’s sessions will be available online, either live streamed or for later viewing. Sign up at this link.

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