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Soraya Salti, Hans Rosling and More: Skoll World Forum 2012

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Published on Mar 29, 2012

At the opening plenary of the Skoll World Forum, Jeff Skoll started us off with a joke as he introduced the theme of the event, Flux: it's not just for breakfast any more. With the London Olympics just around the corner, he drew connections between the overcoming of obstacles, dedication, and celebration of the Olympics and the need for the same with regards to the challenges facing the world. His most tweet-worthy quote: "We need to pursue diplomatic solutions as eagerly as we'll pursue gold medals this summer."

Hans Rosling, period. It doesn't matter what that man is talking about, from GDPs to STDs, he can make any statistics engaging. He stacked toilet paper rolls to show us a model of why populations will still continue to grow for a few generations even once birthrates even out at two children per family and he challenged the notion that we have an ever increasing overpopulation problem. His most tweetable line: "We're all debating when we've reached peak oil, but we know we're reaching peak child". (If you don't know who Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health at the Karolinska Institutet and co-founder of Gapminder is, you might not watch enough TED talks.

Even without any toilet paper tricks, Soraya Salti, founder of INJAZ Al-Arab, was energized speaker. Her passion for supporting youth leadership in the Middle East and North Africa made everyone smile. What an energy she has! As she stated: "they have created the impossible politically and now they will create the impossible economically."

Community-led change fuelled by innovative technologies was also a theme for Patrick Meier, Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi. He received spontaneous applause from the crowd when he spoke about using Ushahidi's information crowd sourcing technology to gather feedback directly from people all over Uganda to share their voice with regards to the #KONY2012 dialogue. His group's technologies can now facilitate what he calls the Match.com of connecting disaster problems.

Eva Ayllon and her band from Peru sang the evening to a close.

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