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You can make a change

The plenary session about social entrepreneurship produced enthusiasm.

Text: Lina Christensen Photo: fotogjengen.samfundet.no Date: 2013-02-14

The topic of Wednesday’s plenary session was social entrepreneurship—a subject that turned out to be very popular to the many people present. The relatively new term implies individuals that implement innovative solutions to the world’s many challenges. Three introductory speakers participated in the debate, each of them representing creative and inspiring ways to solve social problems.


A world free of money?

The first introductory speaker was the Canadian James Fierro. Fierro’s organization Recipco has invented an alternative mechanism for doing transactions and payments in the global marked. This again reduces the company’s dependence on cash and credit. After having observed a world dominated by money, as well as an unjust and excluding global market, Fierro established a currency-system on non-monetary principles, called Capacity Exchange.

– The global market is a money’s game. We have to reinvent and rethink the global economy, he said.


The world undoubtedly has an abundance of capacity in terms of goods and talent. Capacity Exchange is meant to revolutionise the traditional trade structures by utilizing these abundant capacities. A currency exchange system where border and inflation are absent, and, unlike any other currency system, is backed 100 %, Fierro explains, mentioning the UK and China as examples. Organisations’ dependence on credit will therefore decrease, whereas the overall sale increases.

– The problem occurred when the character of money changed and it started to be precious instead. We will see a more inclusive world economy if money is substituted by abundant capacity, he explained.


John Hope Bryant took to the floor in his invigorating speech.

Hope

The second speaker was John Hope Bryant—a man of grand words and visions. While talking he demonstrated authority with his powerful way of speaking. As a founder of the organisation Hope and co-founder of Global Dignity he has especially been an advocate for eradicating poverty. While wandering around Storsalen, making himself an equal among the audience, he invited the spectators to a conversation about fighting spirit, positive thinking and stamina. He used Martin Luther King as an example, who after imprisonment and oppression never subdued, but maintained with his dreams stronger than ever.

– You have to be bold about dreams. Be bold enough to focus on a vision. Be bold enough to stand in front of a crowd and express your opinion, were some of the words he said.


Followed by a standing ovation, Mr. Bryant encouraged the spectators to live lives worth remembering.

– The people that are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are usually the ones that do. I want you to prove in the next 20 years that this investment of time I did here tonight was worth it, he said.


Slum Dwellers

Celine d’Cruz is a coordinator for Slum Dwellers International and was the last speaker at the plenary session. She proved what Mr. Bryant had just persistently talked about; individuals can perfectly contribute to a fairer world by enthusiasm, determination and cooperation.


Growing up in the slum in India, she observed how the police repeatedly broke the slum dwellers’ houses. Instead of eventually being able to fund a better house, their already limited means were used on rebuilding homes over and over again.


Nevertheless, an original seemingly hopeless situation, turned out to be an opportunity. A group of mainly illiterate women organised to promote the urban dweller’s rights and standard of living. By the help of savings, finding a solution and organising themselves, they soon gathered respect from local authorities. Since then the group has evolved to become an international organisation with bases in many countries where urban dwelling is a social challenge.


The plenary session’s main message was to make a change. James Fierro, John Hope Bryant and Celine d’Cruz demonstrated that it is fully possible.

Celine d'Cruz, James Fierro and John Hope Bryant.

Backstage with James Fierro and John Hope Bryant from ISFiT on Vimeo.