by Diogo Galvão, Brazil

This first week of 2012 Bologna Symposium has exceeded my expectations. After quite a few busy days, full of discussions, insights, simulations and practical training, Roshan Paul, Senior Change Maker at Ashoka, brought us an interesting lesson on Social Entrepreneurship (SE), closing the week brightly.

Through watching a series of videos we were exposed to the amazing work that ASHOKA, IBJ and the Amani Institute are a part of. Although it is a very complex subject, SE can be understood as based upon ambitious ideas, creativity, innovation, systems change, entrepreneurial quality, social impact and ethical fibre.To clarify the idea of how to be a social entrepreneur, we had the opportunity to hear about the experiences from Jerry White, as well as interact with him presenting our doubts, concerns and fears. In a really deep dialogue, that framed this day and probably will stay with us until at least the last day of Symposium. I felt I was traveling through my thoughts, rethinking on my identity, ideals, desires, fears and perceptions. I was about to make a revolution in my mind.

In order to put in force our social entrepreneurial skills, we simulated the Office of Social Innovation for South Sudan to outline a strategy that should be entrepreneurial and socially beneficial. It was an exercise that was very intense, complex, enthusiastic, and at the same time frustrating once we had to prioritize one issue among the many possibilities for action. Working in groups, we could discuss a lot towards SE and Public Policy and come up with great and really workable projects for South Sudan.

Nobel Prize Laureate Jerry White, through video conference, and Roshan then surrounded us by questions as: Do you believe in Justice? Do you know your wisdom? Do you have hope? Who do you associate yourself with? Subjective questions that go straight to our personality often raise more doubts than promptly answers. Furthermore, by comprehending Jerry’s campaign against landmines,  I realized how important it is to better understand yourself, to rely one another, and to be insistent when you are pursuing the implementation of any project. Even with a great idea, you will come across many frustrations in this journey.