The 20th Skoll World Forum took place at the Said Business School in Oxford, United Kingdom from April 11th to April 14th, 2023. The purpose was to celebrate 20 years of impact and the innovators who drive social progress through learning, connection, and inspiration. Over 1,300 delegates attended the Forum and the opening plenary kicked off with mind-stimulating conversations featuring different speakers that have made social impact in their work.
Africa Public Health Foundation (APHF) attended the 20th Skoll World Forum as a Skoll Foundation partner, as part of its efforts to expand its network, share knowledge and experiences, and learn about innovative approaches to public health. Dr. Francisco Songane, interim CEO of Africa Public Health Foundation and Eunice Chege, Communications Lead, were in attendance. “As a Skoll Foundation partner, we were honoured to be invited to attend the 20th Skoll World Forum, which was a remarkable platform for dissemination of the invaluable work that makes a difference on the ground, spearheaded by local organizations, and driven through the implementation of home grown solutions.”
Jeff Skoll, founder of the Skoll Foundation, through a virtual call remarked, “This is truly a celebration of all of you. The vision of the Skoll Foundation remains to live in a sustainable World with peace and prosperity for all. This gathering marks the cornerstone of the Skoll Foundation’s mission to invest in, connect, and celebrate World’s leading social entrepreneurs and innovators, who are dedicated to solving the World’s most pressing problems.”
One of the primary benefits of attending the Skoll World Forum was the opportunity for APHF to interact with and learn from other organizations and individuals working in the field of public health. The Forum provided a platform for APHF to engage with thought leaders, innovators, and policymakers who are shaping the global public health agenda. Through workshops, panel discussions, and networking events, APHF was able to gain insights into new and emerging trends in public health and explore potential partnerships and collaborations.
In terms of strengthening health systems, the Skoll World Forum provided APHF with an opportunity to learn about designing pathways to equitable health outcomes. Through various discussions on topics such as health systems strengthening and innovative financing models, APHF was able to gain insights into how other organizations are addressing the challenges facing healthcare systems in Africa. This knowledge can be applied to APHF’s own work and inform the Foundation’s advocacy efforts to improve healthcare systems in Africa.
In terms of preventing pandemics, the Skoll World Forum provided APHF with opportunities to engage in how to unlock resources and impact in unprecedented times, emerging trends, and future of giving in pandemic preparedness. With the increasing threat of pandemics, it is essential for organizations working in public health to be well-informed and prepared to respond quickly and effectively to emerging threats. The Forum provided APHF with access to experts in the field of philanthropy and public health.
Donald Gips, CEO Skoll Foundation, encouraged delegates to have a sense of community and look for ways to collaborate. He mentioned that we need to have a reinvigorated vision to have a sustainable World with peace and prosperity for all. “Over the past two decades, despite ever-growing global challenges, the Skoll World Forum has continually been a place of hope, inspiration, and solutions. This anniversary is so much bigger than Skoll Foundation. The collective power of everyone here is immense. When we went into the darkness during the pandemic, you all became the light. You responded with bravery, audacity and community. I do not know where we would have been without heroes like you. When hopes were dimmed you were a shining light that kept hope alive.”
Other inspirational talks that happened during the Forum were from Maria Ressa a journalist and Nobel Peace laureate, who gave her story on the challenges she has experienced as a journalist and gave her insights on how technology especially artificial intelligence is being used to influence social dynamics. Al Gore, the former vice president of the US, talked about leadership and the importance of climate justice. Ava Du Vernay a filmmaker and founder of Array spoke on using her work as fuel, food and fire and how film has the power to change perspective on various issues affecting the World.
There were various music performances from artistes like Luis Fonsi, an Award-winning Global Artist known for his song despacito, Jacob Collier five-time grammy award winner, Sister Fa an activist and rapper from Senegal among others. Many other activities were held during the Forum like nature walks, Oxford walking tours, meetups, and delegates dinners.
Attending the 20th Skoll World Forum was a valuable experience for APHF. The Forum provided APHF with access to a diverse network of experts, policymakers, and innovators, and offered valuable insights into innovative approaches to strengthening healthcare systems and preventing pandemics. The knowledge and experiences gained from attending the Forum can inform APHF’s advocacy efforts and support the organization’s mission to improve public health in Africa.