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At Skoll World Forum, a Powerful Lesson: 'We Are All One'

The following is a post from Kim Sedmak, executive producer of "Life Reimagined TODAY" with Jane Pauley.

My friend and colleague Jane Pauley shares this thought in her recent New York Times best-seller Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life: "Inspiration is everywhere - you just have to be looking for it."

Malala - Skoll
Malala Yousafzai at Skoll Awards

At the recent Skoll World Forum (SWF), inspiration hits the moment I arrive in Oxford, where the City of Spires forces you to look up and out.

In its 11th year, this annual gathering now includes 1,000 delegates from 60 countries and is the site of intense, imaginative and innovative thinking by social entrepreneurs from around the world.

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I come looking for stories - people and ideas to profile. Inspiration is at the vortex of every exchange, smile and handshake. I've never attended a conference where the word "love" is invoked so often as a means to an end in doing business. That particular four-letter word is rarely associated with solving the world's most devastating problems, such as modern slavery, poverty, child brides, water and sanitation, lack of health care and 61 million children with no access to education.

Yet, despite the daunting challenges associated with these pressing issues, at SWF there is a renewed sense of purpose - a shared love for humanity, a yearning, and calling - a compulsion to find practical solutions for nearly all these problems.

Sounds like an impossible undertaking until you attend the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship , a cornerstone of the SWF.

The individuals and organizations receiving these prestigious awards, each worth $1.25 million, continue to affirm that  the impossible is truly possible!

Yves Moury, Founder of Fundacion Capital, in his acceptance speech reminded us "the road is made by walking." He is a pioneer in the area of working with the poor to save, invest and grow their assets.

Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai received the final award of the evening. Now 16 years old, she was shot by the Taliban in 2012 while traveling home from school. Education for girls is anathema to the Taliban.

In her acceptance speech, she said, "My life is dedicated to three things: achieving peace, girls' education and women's empowerment. We are all one."

Photo: Skoll World Forum/Flickr


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