How to Make A Difference

I spent yesterday at the 92nd St Y in New York at the Social Good Summit. The Summit is “a three-day conference that unites a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges.”  The summit is presented by 92 Street Y, Mashable, the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ericsson. Coinciding with United Nations Week, the conference brought together business leaders, NGOs, activists, diplomats and technology people (to name just some of the groups). The talks were all fascinating, whether they were focused on improving sanitation, on action oriented journalism or on climate change. I was there to talk about liberal learning as a form of pragmatic education with deep roots in American history. These roots still bring forth powerful results — such as Shining Hope for Communities or Refuge Point (to take just two Wesleyan examples). Here’s video of my presentation:

Michael Roth Social Good Summit 2013

And an interview with Stuart Ellman ’88 and me following the talk:


There was a wonderful spirit of optimism and activism at the conference, even though there was also a sharp awareness of the difficulties we face — from poverty to climate change. I am hopeful that that spirit continues to infuse the MOOC that we are developing based on many of the talks from the Summit. How to Change the World is now open for enrollments, and we’ll launch in mid January.

You can find other videos and photographs here.



1 thought on “How to Make A Difference”

  1. I couldn’t agree more that a liberal education — in particular a Wesleyan education — “leads you to change how you behave in the world.” I am proud to cultivate and support this innovative, empathetic, and high-impact behavior in today’s students through my work at Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

    To students, alumni, and friends who want to learn more about social entrepreneurship at Wesleyan and beyond: visit or drop me a line at mjkingsley(at)wesleyan(dot)edu.

    P.S. I’m looking forward to participating in the “How to Change the World” MOOC!

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