Updated March 30 at 12:29am
higher education

Brown to host global social innovation conference


PROVIDENCE – The Ashoka U Exchange, a global conference on social innovation and social change, will take place at Brown University in February 2014.

The announcement was made at the 2013 global conference at the University of San Diego last month where there were 650 attendees from more than 150 institutions and 40 countries.

“The notions of innovation and engaged scholarship permeate Brown,” said Brown President Christina H. Paxson. “Confronting the challenges of the world makes our work stronger and our mission directly relevant.”

Brown is one of 22 higher education institutions to be named a “Changemaker Campus” by Ashoka U. The designation is given to schools that have embedded social innovation as a core value.

“For Brown students, public service and activism is a given,” said Changemaker Campus Director Michele Leaman. “Brown educators and learners are compelled by questions and answers for the social good – new ways of thinking and acting for social impact. We see our partnership with Brown’s Social Innovation Initiative to host next year’s exchange as a unique opportunity draw on these strengths.”

The Social Innovation Initiative, based at the school’s Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service, works to promote an open culture of collaborative learning and community impact at Brown through academic initiatives, venture support, advising, and a network of students, alumni and practitioners.

The initiative was launched in 2007. More than 100 students have since been advised on their ideas for social change and many have gone on to start social ventures in Rhode Island and elsewhere.

“Providence is a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship, and social change-makers play an important role in powering our city’s economy and finding solutions to our community challenges,” said Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. “I look forward to welcoming leaders in the social innovation field to Providence as Brown hosts the 2014 Ashoka U Exchange.”


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