A holistic movement for a better world
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Ashoka: Innovators for the Public

“The core psychology of a social entrepreneur is someone who cannot come to rest, in a very deep sense, until he or she has changed the pattern in an area of social concern all across society.” - Bill Drayton

In a better world, everyone would be able to earn their livelihood at jobs that help to make the world a better place. Many people today are finding ways to work for a better world and make a living at the same time. A social entrepreneur is someone who sees a social problem and creates a new and innovative way to address it. While some social entrepreneurs work through nonprofits, citizen groups or government programs, many create sustainable businesses to address the problem. Typical businesses measure their success by the amount of profit they make; social entrepreneurs measure their success by how big an impact they make in bringing about social change.

The term 'social entrepreneur' is fairly new - it was first used in the 1960s and 1970s. But social entrepreneurs can be found all throughout history and include many historical figures. Florence Nightingale, for example, established the first nursing school and helped develop modern nursing practices; Robert Owen created one of the first cooperative movements, and Maria Montessori, Italy's first female physician created a new education method that supports each child's unique character and development. All can be considered social entrepreneurs.

Social entrepreneurship has become even more widespread today, often to fill the gaps where government programs or nonprofit organizations haven't reached. In 2006, social entrepreneurship was featured in the spotlight when Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen Bank (which gives microloans to poor people so that they can create their own sustainable businesses), won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The modern social entrepreneur movement began in 1981 when social entrepreneurial pioneer Bill Drayton founded Ashoka: Innovators for the Public to identify and support social entrepreneurs. To date, Ashoka has supported more than 1800 social entrepreneurs in over 60 countries. Now there are quite a number of organizations that promote social entrepreneurship as an important way to address today's social problems. The Skoll Foundation, started by eBay's first president Jeff Skoll, awards a million dollar annual prize to a number of social entrepreneurs. The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, created by World Economics Forum founder Klaus Schwab, highlights social entrepreneurs of the year around the world and helps connect them to investors and to each other. YouthActionNet and YouthVenture promote social entrepreneurship as a way to empower youth who wish to help build a more peaceful, just, prosperous and sustainable world.


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May Peace Prevail On Earth


c.380 BC

Magna Carta


"On Civil Power"

"On The Law
of War and Peace"

Peace of Westphalia


"Two Treatises of Government"

"Social Contract"

July 4, 1776
US Declaration of Independence

September 17, 1787
US Constitution

August 26, 1789
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

September 25, 1789
US Bill of Rights

Department of Peace

"Perpetual Peace"

May 18, 1899
Hague Peace Conference

Nobel Peace Prize

January 8, 1918
14 Points

June 28, 1919
League of Nations

The New Deal

January 6, 1941
The Four Freedoms

October 24, 1945
The United Nations

August, 1947
World Federalist Movement

December 10, 1948
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

"Let There Be
Peace On Earth"

The Beloved Community

The New Frontier

The Great Society

Earth Day

October 11, 1971

International Day of Peace

77 Theses on the Care of the Earth

Global Cooperation for a Better World

Earth Constitution

Culture of Peace Programme

"4000 Ideas & Dreams for a Better World"

Earth Magna Charta

"When Corporations Rule The World"

"Peace On Earth Millennium"

Appeal of the Nobel Laureates

"Conscious Evolution"

May 11-15, 1999
Hague Appeal for Peace

January 1, 2000
One Day In Peace

June 29, 2000
The Earth Charter

September, 2000
Millennium Development Goals

January 25-30, 2001
World Social Forum

October, 2001
"Better World Handbook"

Clinton Global Initiative

July 18, 2007
The Elders

September 17, 2011
Occupy Wall Street