Agora is an open space for you to host and attend sessions aimed to spark collaboration, innovation, and learning with fellow leaders across the AGLN.

Take this as an open opportunity to come together across ideologies, lines of power and influence, programs at the Aspen Institute, and partner organizations. With a spirit of generosity and an acknowledgement of the abundance we each hold as leaders, we invite you to reach out and hold space with one another, so that we may build collectively toward a free, just, and equitable society.

Upcoming Sessions

07/21
5 PM
UndauntedK12: Help us make American schools equitably healthy and green and prepare all our kids for the clean energy jobs of the future.
We have recently launch a nonprofit start up, UndauntedK12. Our mission is to support America's K-12 public schools to make an equitable transition to zero carbon emissions while preparing our youth to build a sustainable future in a rapidly changing climate. Among other things, we've created guidance for States and School Districts to leverage Federal funding to invest in energy efficiency, healthy air, electrification, data collection and climate literacy. We need help getting in front of Governors, State Departments of Education and District Superintendents. We need to build a team and we need to attract investors. We'd love to tap the know how and networks of the AGLN to help us build momentum in this critical area. For more about us, check out www.undauntedk12.org. Jen Moses and Jonathan Klein, Co-Founders Pahara-Aspen Fellows Cohort 20 (XXceptionals)
07/22
5 AM
The East Africa We Want - State of the East African Community
The vision of the East African Community is to be a prosperous, competitive, secure, stable, and politically united East Africa. The mission of our unification is to widen and deepen economic, political, social, and cultural integration in order to improve the quality of life of the people of East Africa through increased competitiveness, value-added production, trade, and investments. The Fellows of the Africa Leadership Initiative - East Africa, alongside other regional leaders, are committed to and motivated by this vision which underlies everything we do. Unfortunately, in recent years we have seen the shrinking of democratic space as evidenced by censorship of the press, flawed, rather than free and fair, elections as well as weakness, or outright violent suppression, of opposition. We have also seen lack of trade cooperation and petty rivalries among other issues. The COVID-19 crisis exacerbated many of these issues. The far-reaching scope of the pandemic caught our region by surprise and called on East African leaders at all levels to respond in very uncertain and resource-constrained circumstances. To better navigate the ensuing crisis, we had an opportunity to craft a unified response to bolster our people from the devastating health, economic and other impacts. While the Heads of State, other than Tanzania, did convene on the 12th of May 2020, to isolate priority interventions for information-sharing and to keep trade routes open, each country largely chose to chart an independent path. The economic recovery of the region will depend on quickly rebuilding our economies which in turn depend on our speedy restoration of trade and other links. Not only must we immediately resolve and regularize any ongoing bottlenecks, but we must also consolidate the lessons from this crisis to ensure that the Community is resilient in future times. This provides an opportunity for us to get back on track with a coordinated recovery plan. Now is the time for bold collective leadership to realize the full potential of the Community for the betterment of the East African people, economies, and governments. ALI East Africa hopes to create a space for Fellows and other leaders to speak candidly about the problems we face as a Community then collaborate around specific initiatives and ventures. Although we will encourage collaborative efforts to develop and evolve organically, we will organize efforts within the following pillars: Health, Governance, Economic Recovery, and Culture. We will host a series of discussions over 6 months to foster more collaboration and reporting on initiatives taken. It is our hope that the bold leadership of East Africa Fellows and our partners will ignite transformational change across the region. After these collaborative efforts are completed, we will produce a report that will be shared widely on the progress achieved and a proposed roadmap for the future of the EAC. This series of conversations will begin with a discussion on the current state of the East African Community. The aim of this discussion will be to draw out the different drivers of change that Fellows can organize around over the next few months. Champion : Awel Uwihangwe Panelists : TBA
8 AM
Universal Global Broadband | Let's Come Together to Get it Done!
COVID-19 has laid bare the profound need for global broadband - especially in rural communities. We've all been challenged to maintain our social distance, work from home, learn from home, get our healthcare from home and, quite simply, survive from home over the last year. As we begin to emerge and resume normal life, we're left with an undeniable problem that must be solved. We must solve the massive broadband problem so that every human has the chance to participate in the global digital economy and improve their quality of life. This is a task that is perfectly suited to the multi-faceted talents of the AGLN Fellows. We need your voice in this session! Led by Bryan Darr , Ookla's EVP of Smart Cities, we'll start by exploring the global network performance of fixed and cellular networks. Bryan will showcase the Ookla Cell Analytics platform and help all participants to understand how their local networks are performing. Next, we'll explore the complicated relationship between network performance and your local economy. Does the Internet impact democracy? Does the Internet promote equity? Does the Internet impact the uncensored flow of new ideas? Finally, AGLN Member and Liberty Fellow Jim Stritzinger (Liberty One, Class of 2006), Broadband Coordinator for the State of South Carolina, will lead a discussion on targeting weak broadband areas, raising the funds to fix the problem, and designing technical solutions for the 21st century and beyond. Please join us!
9 AM
Achieving gender equality in governance and leadership in West Africa - the role of legislation
According to gsdrc.org, globally fewer than 19% of national partliamentarians are women (WDR). Even where women have been able to secure office, they continue to face additional challenges compared to their male counterparts. It has been argued that in order to reverse this negative cycle, there must be a significant number of women in positions of power before these issues will feature on the agenda. A number of strategies have been adopted in the past but we need to see what is working, and how change can be brought about to achieve the desired goals particularly focusing on the West Africa region. We want to discuss the role of legislation in recording better outcomes in gender equality when it comes to governance and leadership.
1030 AM
Moonshot Conference - Future of Education
Across the globe the education system has been strained and tested this past year. The pandemic has deepened existing problems and intensified the need for rapid and far-reaching transformation. This interactive 2-hour session brings key change-makers, to share best practices and set common agenda to accelerate impact in two areas in education: access to quality education and advancement of youth mental health . Moonshot Platform is a digital movement connecting impact hackers* with the key change-makers in pursuit of solving the 21st Century's Grand Challenges. It also provides a digital directory of SDG-focused innovations & projects called Moonshot Impact Gallery . This Henry Crown community driven initiative allows you to volunteer, donate, invest, or collaborate to become a part of solution simply by joining and becoming the Moonshotter . See more at https://www.moonshotplatform.com * founders of early-stage scalable for-profits and replicable non-profits
1230 PM
Firearm Injury As a Public Health Problem: Reframing the conversation
For too long, the U.S. has approached our firearm injury epidemic as an "us versus them" debate between gun control and gun rights. The public health approach allows a reframing of the conversation into concepts - and solutions - that finally allow forward progress. In this session, I invite you to join together to discuss how we can help drive this conversation across the country. Drawing on pilot work completed in partnership with AFFIRM Research and the Building Trust initiative, we will create space for honest reflections on firearm risk, safety, trust, and action. We will explore where the public health approach allows us to go with firearm injury prevention, and how to get there. Leave your politics and preconceptions at the door, and bring your community and your heart with you. I hope we will all leave with a renewed sense of hope and a commitment to creating change together.
9 PM
Use Impact-Weighted Accounting to Quantify and Compare Impact with Financial Profit
You cannot manage what you don't measure. Social enterprises, impact investment funds and philanthropy projects, all face the same problem -- how to quantify the social and environmental impacts and to compare the impacts with financial profit. Impact-Weighted Accounting, a research initiative conducted at Harvard Business School, aims to solve the issue. https://www.hbs.edu/impact-weighted-accounts/Documents/Impact-Weighted-Accounts-Report-2019_preview.pdf . Sir Ronald Cohen, chairing the leadership council of this research initiative, also wrote a book <Impact: Reshaping Capitalism to Drive Real Change> to introduce the new ideas and tools of an impact economy, in which impact measurement is described as the navigation system. Sam Sun, the host of this Agora event, has been playing the role of an impact investor and a social entrepreneur for years. He used to be an accounting professional who understands the complexity of accounting. He would like to share the ideas of impact-weighted accounting and promote the implementation.
07/23
1030 AM
Blockchain Powered Green Financing Toward Carbon Neutrality
How can blockchain technologies help with better and greener financing for every asset in the world? How can a regulated digital asset exchange that can issue/trade/custody Asset-Backed Tokens (“ABTs”) help with real world business growth and green infrastructure build-out? I am Chairman and Co-Founder of CTX, world’s first regulated digital green exchange powered by Nasdaq technologies. Please join us for a chat to discuss how we can work together to drive the digital and green transformation of the world. Background Information: Cyberdyne Tech Exchange (CTX) is a digital exchange licensed and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and leverages Nasdaq’s advanced trading and surveillance technologies. Founded in 2018, it provides qualified asset owners and institutional investors with a full-service infrastructure including primary issuance, secondary trading, settlement, and custody of asset-backed tokens. Singapore-based CTX aims to be a global hub for green financing and will be the first digital exchange to incorporate carbon disclosures for both issuers and investors. Visit www.ctx.sg for more information.
11 AM
Closing the Racial Wealth Gap
We are at a moment in US history where leadership is of the utmost importance in healing the economic and racial strife in our country. The events of this past year have served to exacerbate the impacts of centuries old disinvestment in black and brown communities and have given rise to nation-wide civil unrest and protest. This movement offers voice to and a lens on the deep history of economic disparity and inequities in BIPOC communities. The drivers for these inequalities, in part, are a legacy of discriminatory legislation, policies and practices, including some codified in the financial sector, that have resulted in deep disadvantages for these communities. Now is the time to be on the right side of history. We are presented with a unique opportunity to be introspective and to initiate the removal of structural barriers and institutional policies that have contributed to the chasm of economic opportunity. This crisis offers an occasion to fulfill the promise of the financial sector to be an instrument for good. Acting as a convener and thought partner for the Industry, we are well placed to catalyze financial sector leaders into action, helping to craft thoughtful industry recommendations and establish the infrastructure to sustain their long-term execution. Over the past couple of months, FLF Fellow, Salah Goss , has been driving forward a collective effort to close the racial wealth gap in the US by coordinating action-learning huddles to begin the work of holding the finance industry up to higher standards and lead the finance industry in areas like unbanked Black communities, Black wealth accumulation, and Black entrepreneurship and business lending. Taking this work further, and in an effort to engage even more members of the AGLN to be a part of this discussion and this work as a whole, FLF is thrilled to be hosting this session, led by Salah, which will explore topics including access to financial services, regulation, housing, and capital allocation to small businesses and entrepreneurs. We will also discuss the roles that the Aspen Institute’s work and the Financial Services industry can play in tackling this existing racial wealth gap. We are interested in having other Aspen Fellows be involved and join this working group, so we hope that you’ll join us for this important conversation!
11 AM
How to Drive Social Change
Social innovators provide a new breed of values-driven, inclusive, compassionate, entrepreneurial leaders who develop sustainable new models in business, social development and environmental initiatives. Sometimes the best way we as leaders can change the world is to put our muscle behind other leaders willing to step out and step up to create the change our world so desperately needs. Get inspired by and learn how to follow the example of the 2006 Great Xpectations Henry Crown Fellowship Class , who rallied together this past year in a unified class effort to provide support for social innovators who are paving the way to address longstanding and deeply entrenched racial inequities in education, health and economic livelihoods . Come hear from some of the social innovators they are supporting and how they came to a collective decision to support their classmate Cheryl Dorsey, President of Echoing Green, an organization at the intersection of social justice and social innovation that connects their expertise and global networks to emerging leaders creating long-lasting social change. Then be prepared to ask yourself what can you do - from offering resources to expertise to connections, or door opening - to boost a social innovator working on an issue you want to see move!
12 PM
Let’s increase the number of diverse, under-represented investors across the asset management industry
Globally, just 1.3% of financial assets are managed by women or minorities. When women and minorities have more representation and influence in asset management, it creates a more equitable society with widened financial opportunities. When funds have diverse leadership, it creates a clear competitive advantage. But despite this win-win opportunity, only a few have executed solutions focused on diversifying representation and decision-making power in the asset management industry. Five of us from the AGLN network (Chris Varelas, Scott Bush, Calvin Chin, Laurence Latimer and Eve Blossom) have come together to create a more open, accessible process for investor professionals from under-represented groups to succeed in asset management roles, with a focus first across North America. Our mission is to help under-represented groups achieve influence within the industry. Our vehicle for transformation is a digital platform that is a learning executive program that includes internships, mentoring, outplacement, tools and additional support. We are interested in other Aspen fellows to be involved as individuals in general or individuals as mentors or investment funds that can offer internships. The more of us fellows involved across the AGLN who are in the investment industry, the bigger the impact we can make. We are launching with a focus on angel, VC and Private Equity under-represented investors first and will expand in the future. This gathering is to discuss our current proposed Executive Program and get feedback from AGLN investment individuals on our proposed offerings and process (35 minutes). It is also to include other AGLN fellows who are interested in participation and discuss how they can and would like to participate (25 minutes). We would love to have as many across the AGLN involved in this issue or know about what others are working on in regards to this issue. Looking forward to seeing you!
1230 PM
"Therd" Way: How do we create action at the intersection of inequities across industry in a polarized global society?
Our existence is a result of Change. In order to grow, thrive, believe, hope, and dream, we must acknowledge that the opportunity to improve and live in a more just society means we must understand the past, live for the present, and innovate for the future. The unfortunate reality is past lived experiences have not been equitable for all. Our society is rooted in intentional divides that separated people by constructs rather than the values that make us brilliant humans. Made By Change transforms that narrative. We want to push the conventional, uproot the incremental, and expand the minds of many so the world can shift to what is possible. Our goal is to help the public and private sectors analyze the inequities that exist within their ecosystems and help them redesign systems to realize an equitable tomorrow. We see the need to bring leaders to the intersection of inequities across industries--from the home to one’s health--and inspire change by opening the possibility of the future through recognizing the challenges presented by the intentional design of today. The founding of Made By Change after a year like 2020 is no accident. We need 20/20 vision now more than ever. We live in a tumultuous world that is changing in significant ways. This ultimately impacts the way we listen, live, and learn. Our national and global response to the inequities that exist in society has been inadequate for generations. We continue to allow for the oppressive mentalities of the past to outline our future. Our country's inability and lack of appetite to address race and racism through system change is not only disheartening but intentional. However, we intentionally look to partner with people who realize that a better way of living, interacting, and achieving our individual and collective goals is possible. We at Made By Change will continue to find ways to ensure everyone realizes that “better” resides in all of us with each interaction we have with you. These are the realities we see that are getting in the way of creating equitable ecosystems: Leading for equity is complicated and often done in silos, leaving leaders stuck. Inequities exist for the same people across multiple industries. Strategy that induces organizational action is lacking while DEI training and the push to hire diverse leaders are popular yet inadequate DEI training is the start line, not the finish line. The real solutions happen after heightened awareness is achieved/received. Yet few leaders seek those answers with sustained intentions. The fear of being called racist, or trying to “do right” the wrong way, creates more inaction and regression than action and progress. Through this discussion, I am hoping to first validate these assumed realities and invite others to present ways forward. The hope is that we all leave with ideas to move towards a more equitable world, especially at the intersection of inequities. Ideally, I would leave with a better understanding of how we can move forward with our work and see how data and technology can aid in our path forward.
07/24
11 AM
Seeking strategic input for an initiative providing accessible governance tools via mobile phones to citizens globally.
At the Action Forum last year, I made a pledge to develop a cell phone-based training programme that will teach governance skills in bite sized chunks of 5-8 minutes a day – in the same sort of way that you might learn a language through an App. The course will be targeted at younger people, but applicable to all. It will be engaging, gamified, relevant, accessible and accredited. While these tools are needed globally, I will be focusing on Africa, the continent which is my home. My ambition is to deliver this course to 200,000 people over the next three years. I have set up an organisation to do this, and named it Kutumikia, which means “to serve” in Swahili. The team is in place and the course has been designed with envisaged intermediate and advanced courses. The head, the heart and the hands are all in place to execute and deploy. Our initial target market will be the African continent with a view to expansion globally. The impact of this initiative would be profound and far-reaching. Good governance is central to the performance in all types and sizes of organisations across the globe. Better performance is vital in ensuring that organisational goals are met, with resultant positive social and economic impacts. The problem is that many people lack to necessary tools to govern well. Governance courses are often expensive and inaccessible. They often present people with lists of do’s and don’ts without empathy for the difficulties that citizens face when holding this responsibility. This initiative would make governance tools available to people taking up civic responsibility in every corner of the planet and contribute to the development of a community of people who can help each other to successfully govern the organisations that can make the world better for all people. This is a big idea but it can be done. I thus seek the participation, advice and wisdom from the Action Forum on partnerships, design and funding for this initiative.
UndauntedK12: Help us make American schools equitably healthy and green and prepare all our kids for the clean energy jobs of the future. 64
We have recently launch a nonprofit start up, UndauntedK12. Our mission is to support America's K-12 public schools to make an equitable transition to zero carbon emissions while preparing our youth to ...
The East Africa We Want - State of the East African Community 60
The vision of the East African Community is to be a prosperous, competitive, secure, stable, and politically united East Africa. The mission of our unification is to widen and deepen economic, ...
Universal Global Broadband | Let's Come Together to Get it Done! 69
COVID-19 has laid bare the profound need for global broadband - especially in rural communities. We've all been challenged to maintain our social distance, work from home, learn from home, get our ...
Achieving gender equality in governance and leadership in West Africa - the role of legislation 70
According to gsdrc.org, globally fewer than 19% of national partliamentarians are women (WDR). Even where women have been able to secure office, they continue to face additional challenges compared to ...

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UndauntedK12: Help us make American schools equitably healthy and green and prepare all our kids for the clean energy jobs of the future. 64
We have recently launch a nonprofit start up, UndauntedK12. Our mission is to support America's K-12 public schools to make an equitable transition to zero carbon emissions while preparing our youth to build a sustainable future in a rapidly changing climate. ...
The East Africa We Want - State of the East African Community 60
The vision of the East African Community is to be a prosperous, competitive, secure, stable, and politically united East Africa. The mission of our unification is to widen and deepen economic, political, social, and cultural integration in order to improve the ...
Universal Global Broadband | Let's Come Together to Get it Done! 69
COVID-19 has laid bare the profound need for global broadband - especially in rural communities. We've all been challenged to maintain our social distance, work from home, learn from home, get our healthcare from home and, quite simply, survive from home over the ...
Achieving gender equality in governance and leadership in West Africa - the role of legislation 70
According to gsdrc.org, globally fewer than 19% of national partliamentarians are women (WDR). Even where women have been able to secure office, they continue to face additional challenges compared to their male counterparts. It has been argued that in order to ...
Moonshot Conference - Future of Education 54
Across the globe the education system has been strained and tested this past year. The pandemic has deepened existing problems and intensified the need for rapid and far-reaching transformation. This interactive 2-hour session brings key change-makers, to ...
Firearm Injury As a Public Health Problem: Reframing the conversation 61
For too long, the U.S. has approached our firearm injury epidemic as an "us versus them" debate between gun control and gun rights. The public health approach allows a reframing of the conversation into concepts - and solutions - that finally allow forward ...
Use Impact-Weighted Accounting to Quantify and Compare Impact with Financial Profit 67
You cannot manage what you don't measure. Social enterprises, impact investment funds and philanthropy projects, all face the same problem -- how to quantify the social and environmental impacts and to compare the impacts with financial profit. ...
Blockchain Powered Green Financing Toward Carbon Neutrality 63
How can blockchain technologies help with better and greener financing for every asset in the world? How can a regulated digital asset exchange that can issue/trade/custody Asset-Backed Tokens (“ABTs”) help with real world business growth and green ...

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