Saturday, August 26, 2006

Certified Social Entrepreneurship

The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University now joins the ranks of Oxford, Stanford and Duke by providing its MBA candidates with a social entrepreneurship study option:

22 August 2006

INDIANAPOLIS and BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University announced a new graduate certificate program in Social Entrepreneurship, combining classes in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Kelley School of Business to form a curriculum focused on applying entrepreneurial practices to public needs in the nonprofit, for-profit and governmental sectors. Students will begin classes for the certificate next week.

"To link business innovation and profit with social improvement is a critical strategy for the 21st century -- for businesses as well as for social and public organizations," said Astrid Merget, dean of SPEA. "A unique feature of the IU certificate program is that it formally links Kelley and SPEA -- not only their resources, faculty and students, but also their values and perceptions. Similar programs at other universities are located either under the business school or under public affairs. With this jointly directed program, IU is working to develop new collaborative practices to meet both business and social challenges."

The certificate program is open to students pursuing a master's degree with SPEA or Kelley on the Bloomington or Indianapolis campuses. Seven students are expected to obtain the certificate this year.

In addition to classes, students will participate in paid summer internships, a speaker series, research and publishing activities, and a year-round clinic to connect with Indiana organizations, businesses and communities.

"Graduate students are beginning to explore the unique aspects of entrepreneurship in the social sector," said Donald F. Kuratko, co-director of the program and executive director of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at IU. "Having the Kelley School combine with SPEA allows students the opportunity to tap into the very best of Indiana University. This certificate in Social Entrepreneurship is another successful effort in developing the entrepreneurial mindset throughout the IU campus."

SPEA Professor Leslie Lenkowsky is also co-director of the program. Initial funding for the program was provided through a Lilly Endowment Grant administered through the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The Center on Philanthropy at IU also provides resources for the program.

The IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, located on eight campuses, focuses on curriculum and research that are distinguished by a vigorous interdisciplinary approach to education and problem-solving in areas such as public and nonprofit management, public policy, environmental science, criminal justice, arts administration and health administration. The Kelley School of Business has been a leader in American business education for nearly 85 years. U.S. News & World Report ranked the Kelley School's MBA in Entrepreneurship Program No. 4 among public universities and the undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program No. 1 among public universities for 2007.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Free Marketplace of Ideas

Media critic Jeff Jarvis writes:

I’m about to cut off comments on posts having to do with the Middle East. A few people come in and take it over repeating the same angry arguments over and over until it escalates into scuds v. cruises. I don’t even both reading them. I suspect you don’t, either. I love interactivity. But who could love this?

Sometimes important issues provoke intense debate. Sometimes points need to be pressed until answered. BuzzMacine is Jarvis's blog, and he is entitled to edit/censor it however he wants, but I'm surprised to see a journalist admit that he censors what he doesn't read.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

The SE Option

I do not believe that terrorism can be countered by violence - it’s like cutting off the Hydra’s head, two more spring up in its place. Hizbollah is an evil organisation, and exploits the people it hides among. But terrorism, like religion, feeds off misery. If Israel really wanted to end terrorism, the best, most intelligent way of doing
so would be to make its enemies prosperous.

Amanda Craig, author and journalist

It is said that to a man that only knows how to use a hammer every problem looks as though it requires pounding. The United States, United Kingdom and Israel all own fine hammers, but is a hammer really the best tool for ridding the world of terror?

It would appear that there are a great many people who believe just that. Ms Craig's plea seems to be falling of deaf ears. Here are a few sample comments that I've come across recently:

I’m done with ninnies afraid to confront murderers, and I’m quite done with the absence of Muslim rage. We will do what we have to do, and I hope that we do it without worry of proportionality.

I don't think commentator above is thinking much beyond giving a good hammering to the Muslim world.

I’m so tired of the damn conflicts and have no desire to sort them out. They are so complicated no one could. If every infidel disappeared tomorrow, the killing would continue as Muslims would just murder one another.

Without Islam and it’s incessant conflicts since the time it began, 98% of the violence in the modern world would cease to be.

If only we could establish an “Islamic Free” zone where the rest of us can live in peace.

This commentator doesn't seem to have much grasp of the history of modern conflicts and violence. If WW1, The Russian Revolution, WW2, The Chinese Revolution, Korea, and Vietnam account for less than 2% of the modern world's violence, then the Muslims have been remarkably adept at keeping their wars out of the news and history books. I might be misreading this writer, but his words sound like a thinly veiled call for genocide (to end the 'Islamic Problem').

On a happier note, may I remind the terrorist taqiyya talkers and their apologists here of one simple fact: there are FOUR BILLION of us you’re gonna need to ‘contend with’ if you persist in bringing on the clash of civilizations to usher in your Mahdi (spit be upon him).

Hubris is typically followed by nemisis.

Although I am not suggesting that we discard the hammer, I do think it's time to consider using a few other tools, and social entrepreneurship should be on that list of tools. Unfortunately, many who want to use the hammer feel that those who advocate the use of other tools are nothing more than apologists for evil Muslims. (George Washington accurately predicted this type of response. He writes: Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspect and odious . . . )

Most involved in social entrepreneurship believe that it is a powerful tool for creating social and humanitarian good. We do not need to bomb others indiscrimately. We do not need to stoop to the level of our foes. We have other options.

Now is a time for us to take action, to advocate social entrepreneurial solutions, and to support (whenever possible) the work of social entrepreneurs in the Middle East.

If you are aware of any social entrepreneurs at work in the Middle East, please leave their details in the comments section of this entry.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Slightly Off Topic

For the most part, today's post is a collection of comments I've left at Jeff Jarvis's BuzzMachine blog. It has little to do social entrepreneurship, but it does touch on a related humanitarian concern.

Jeff writes: Reuters reports that Muslims are “bristling” at the term Islamic fascists. Well, tough shit.’

So what is fascism?

British philosopher Roger Scruton in A Dictionary of Political Thought writes:

The anti-communist and anti-liberal stance of fascist movements. . .have made the fight against fascism a rallying point for the left and liberal cause, so that the label ‘fascist’ may be applied very losely, to denote almost any doctrine that conflicts left-liberal ideology. In this expletive use the term conveys no very clear idea, a fact which perhaps explains its popularity.’

In other words, 'fascism' is a catch-word - a term of propaganda. It is an emotive term that does little to help us understand our current predicament. Politicians love catch-words and phrases. Words they can use to deter honest discussion and debate.

Fascists worship the state and its leader. They embrace a devient form of socialism (national rather than international in outlook - National Socialism - Nazi) mixed with a repulsive racism.

Islamic terrorists are repulsive people, but I doubt that many are fascists. Islam, even terrorist Islam, is international rather than national in outlook, and it is not especially marked by racism.

My hunch is that many Islamic terrorists feel that they are the victims rather than the perpetrators of racism. That’s one reason why, in my opinion, the case for Israel shouldn’t be argued (as it is by some of Jarvis's fans) in terms of brown skinned Arabs and white skinned Jews. Such arguments only serve to validate the terrorist’s basic emotional assumptions. (And, of course, Jews may be white or brown skinned.)

In any case, no matter how satisfying one may find name calling, it is not likely to lead any workable solution to the problems we face. I prefer pleasing results to pleasing methods. Calling Muslims names may feel good, but it will produce little else that might be described as good.

I believe that the so-called war-on-terror now needs to enlist social entrepreneurs as much as it needs to enlist (more) soldiers.

In my opinion, Amanda Craig's comments in the Jewish Chronicle strike the right note. She writes:

I do not believe that terrorism can be countered by violence - it’s like cutting off the Hydra’s head, two more spring up in its place. Hizbollah is an evil organisation, and exploits the people it hides among. But terrorism, like religion, feeds off misery. If Israel really wanted to end terrorism, the best, most intelligent way of doing so would be to make its enemies prosperous.” Amanda Craig, author and journalist

The efforts of Jeff Skoll and Isabel Maxwell to promote peace and prosperity through social entrepreneurship are in keeping with Craig's suggestion. I hope their various projects encourage many others to fight terrorism with something more constructive than bombs, bullets and insults.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Celebrity Role Models

Joan Burton, Irish Labour's finance spokesman, said:
"Having listened to Bono on the necessity for the Irish Government to give more money to Ireland Aid, of which I approve, I am surprised that U2 are not prepared to contribute to the Exchequer on a fair basis along with the bulk of Irish taxpayers.

"I share Bono's desire to see more resources devoted to Ireland Aid but it is more difficult to make a case for it if everyone is not willing to be part of the social contract that stipulates that everybody should pay their fair share in what is a low-tax country."

Ireland Aid is the channel by which the Irish government helps developing countries.

I am not opposed to people taking advantage of legitimate tax strategies and ordinarily I wouldn't comment on a rock star's financial planning, but Bono is a special case.

Bono has used his celebrity status to gain audiences with presidents, popes and prime ministers. He has hectored world leaders to fund his pet projects. He has sought to make the average citizen's support of his favoured programmes compulsory (through taxation). He has enjoyed the praise of many committed humanitarians. He has posed as a moral icon. And, in my opinion, he has revealed himself a hypocrite.

Based in Dublin, U2 have long benefited from the artists' tax exemption introduced by Charles Haughey, the late prime minister. It is reported that the band's move has been made in response to a £170,000 cap on the tax-free incomes introduced in the last Irish budget.

My ire is really directed at celebrity culture, and not at any one of Bono's pet programmes. As social entrepreneurs, we need to focus more on business models, and less on celebrity role models.

End of rant.

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