Social Innovation Summit
2,3 October 2020
Theme: Radical Imagination
Day 1 – Friday October 2, 2020
Besan Abu Joudeh and Lama Amr from the BuildPalestine team welcome the audience to a thrilling start to two days of conversation, celebration, and imagination.
What is Radical Imagination?
Globally, traditional structures of control and power have drastically changed landscapes and built infrastructures of seemingly indefinite permanence. The current pandemic is shining a spotlight on these power structures, and on the continued oppression of many communities around the world.
It also presents an opportunity: for us to come together, reach beyond the limits of our imagination, and collectively work towards a radically different future. Building on the decades-long efforts of activists at home and across the globe, and in the context of internationalist solidarities, this panel seeks to use this very opportunity to explore that process of radical imagination in Palestine and beyond.
Fireside Chat: A Conversation with Hashim Shawa
Hashim Shawa is Chairman of Bank of Palestine Group (a values-based banking group), a leader in the business community, Board Chair of Ibtikar Fund, a patron of Palestinian art, and an active philanthropist. The conversation will cover topics from geopolitics to economics and offer a glimpse into Hashim’s life as a Palestinian who returned from the diaspora and was committed to building a better future for Palestine.
This session will be moderated by Besan Abu-Joudeh, CEO and Co-founder of BuildPalestine.
Building an ecosystem for social innovation: inspiration from global models
What is meant by social innovation? Where are the strongest ecosystems to support social innovators? And how have communities supported changemakers to translate dreams into impactful action?
This panel will feature global models of social innovation and discuss them in the context of Palestine. The goal is to identify opportunities to ignite the ecosystem in Palestine, while also embracing what makes the case of Palestine unique.
Reclaiming our imagination for paths to social change: a conversation with other movements
This panel is a conversation amongst organizers who have helped to build social and political movements within their own constituencies, with the goal of understanding the experiences of other movements and identifying potential lessons for the Palestinian context.
The panel will consider the following questions: What is the radical imagination in each of their contexts? How did/are they organiz(ing) towards that vision? How do we mobilize large groups of people/various sectors in society towards the same goal? What lessons are they learning/can they share?
Overcoming donor-dependency: How can philanthropy tackle the root-cause?
Palestine has long been deemed a ‘donor-dependent economy’ with international aid arguably doing more harm than good in the post-Oslo era. Despite this, there continues to be an important role for aid and philanthropy in supporting and empowering impact-driven initiatives.
How can we redirect philanthropic giving so that it tackles the root cause? What is the vision of impact we have for our community, and what is the role of the Diaspora in achieving this?
Impact investing in Palestine and the MENA region
The goal of this panel to understand impact investing and speak with seasoned professionals about how to better attract investment and raise funds. How competitive is Palestine today in the global impact investment scene? How can we overcome the bottlenecks? Can COVID-19 promote regional economic integration and collaboration regardless of the political differences?
Day 2 – Saturday October 3, 2020
Re-imagining our relation to land & nature: agriculture and the environment
In Palestine, decades of dispossession over our natural resources – especially land and water – have been accompanied by Palestinian official neoliberal policies that have encouraged exploitation, capital-driven agriculture, and use of natural resources. The Mediterranean is one of the most vulnerable regions for climate change, a vulnerability that is exacerbated by the climate apartheid we are living in.
We need to operate a radical shift in the way Palestinian approach our relationship with our ecosystems and resources and actively resist dispossession.
Creating equity and overcoming capitalism: cooperatives and the social economy
The cooperative movement has existed in Palestine since the early 20th century. The movements have suffered the consequences of successive layers of administrative controls and changes: the British mandate, the Egyptian/Jordanian Rule, Israeli occupation, and the Palestinian Authority, progressively weakening cooperative societies. This decline was worsened by a donor-driven model that led to an aid-dependent economy.
In our global context where social and economic injustices are ever-growing, some regions and countries succeeded to place dignity and social value at the heart of work and wealth, through a different model of economic organizing: cooperatives.
Are cooperatives a good model for a steadfast Palestinian economy? What are Palestinians today thinking when we talk about “cooperatives”? Why are women cooperatives the most successful in Palestine? What are the challenges faced today to develop perennial and successful structures?
Advocating on the playing field: sports as a tool for social change
This session will bring together Palestinian sports initiatives from across a range of Palestinian communities to discuss the power of sports as a tool for organizing on social and political issues, and as a tool for public diplomacy. The aim of the session will be to identify key points of alignment, share practical learnings, and start the process of building a unified and radical vision for the future of the sports sector.
Changing hearts and minds: the transformational power of literature
The written word has the power to change both hearts and minds. How does the transformative power of literature work? How has it been used to support Palestinian identity and rights and how might literature been used to try to negate it? What is the role of publishers, agents and publicists in this process and how have Palestinian writers been marginalized? How have Palestinian writers been able to break through despite these and other obstacles?
This panel features four Palestinian writers who will not only share personal stories that influenced their writing, but also reflect on the future of Palestinian literature.
Job creation and workforce development
The international community has lauded startup development as a tool for job creation and economic growth – when and how does investment in the startup ecosystem lead to job creation and economic growth? Likewise, international and local investment in job preparedness via relevant and timely education is considered key to ensuring upward mobility and employment access.
What has succeeded? What is still lacking? In this panel, we will explore the science behind the strategies, learn about grassroots & international initiatives that have moved forward over the past 5 years, and what gaps still exist and methods we should employ to ensure growth and resiliency – particularly in this COVID19 moment.
Art as a form of resistance: the power of music and visual art
This panel will feature artists and musicians, who will share their personal stories as well as the relationship between their art and resistance. How is art used to facilitate difficult conversations? How is it used to both preserve and transcend cultures? What is the role of art in the Palestinian struggle today?
Mental health and COVID-19: challenges and opportunities
Alongside Covid-19, there is also a mental health pandemic. What evidence do we have and what conversations do we need to have to promote social mobilization and innovation in the realm of mental health? Who has started to push the frontier? What are their challenges? And what opportunities do the panelists see on the ground?
We asked the participants of the 2020 Social Innovation Summit “How do you radically imagine the future of Palestine?”, and there were their answers:
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