Jeff Skoll and Mabel van Oranje: Belief in a Collective Future–a Conversation #SkollWF

good evening um scovilles forum 2015 belief we have seen a Jeff and I'm incredibly happy that we have a moment together to unpack a little bit what you personally believe in but I would also like to explore where you believe that you can do with your life to make a difference in the world let us start with your personal belief as was already said for some belief personal belief relates to religion for orders it relates to to ethics to a sense of right and wrong to to fairness justice and I would love to know would you describe yourself as being religious Thank You Mabel and the first thing I'd like to say is I believe in all of you I'm so excited to be here at our 12th annual school world forum you'll hear the recurring theme of social entrepreneurs as heroes I wanted to welcome three special guests who are here for the first time at the Skoll World Forum two of them share my last name I'd like to welcome my parents Mort and Judy school and the reality the reality is they started the foundation and I've just been the front person for it all these years welcome mom and dad they'll be married 57 years that this and speaking of marriage I'm happy to welcome my wife Stephanie sweat love and I can't stop there Stephanie's mother Wendy sweat love my mother-in-law is also here so Mabel back back to your question I think I think belief is indeed a Stefan said it's it's a complicated subject and I truly believe that we're all interconnected and that there is a greater force that's greater than all of us and even in this room there's so much positive energy there are so many wonderful people doing great things in the world and I don't know about you but I feel that I feel inspired and connecting to that energy and knowing that there is this greater force that we can connect to through whatever religion it may be I think is incredibly powerful and I think there are many ways to connect to that to that belief and I think the you know there there are different philosophies there are different belief systems and I think the only belief system that is wrong is the one that says that there's a that's the only way to connect to this later beer yeah you mentioned that the Judy and and Mort your parents are here I'm very curious to know what do you think is one of the most valuable things that they told you and we'll check it maybe later without mum and dad well I you know III think we're the products of our our families and our environments and you know if you've heard me tell bad jokes and I may pop a few in during the course of this this interview I got that from my dad and the good sense to actually not tell those jokes oh I get that from my mom but you know I my parents are just the nicest people in the world that great values and I think growing up with that it gives a person a sense of self and a sense of their place in the world so you know I I'd love to ask that question of you but you're another time Mabel has Mabel so yet yesterday we did a brief Q&A with the social entrepreneurs and it was about an hour long and Mabel said we don't have an hour you have to be crisper on your answers or I'll cut you off or you'll cut me off exactly um Jeff it's a big year important year you turned 50 you got married what is actually quite old I thought is that there is an happy birthday song there isn't a happy marriage song happy marriage oh but so maybe we can invent something another time I remember when Sally Osberg told me for the first time about Stephanie and she said you will like her Mabel she shares the same values as Jeff now I'm very curious how you would describe the values that Stephanie and you believed in you know I you know it's funny I when you grow up you are accustomed to a certain way of of living and being and treating people and you know I grew up in a middle-class background in Canada and life has changed over the last 15 years you know after after eBay and starting the foundation and going to Hollywood and all of that stuff but at the end of the day there's still that same person that you grew up being and Stephanie grew up in a very similar environment Canadian and middle-class and are and we're both we're both Jewish and you know our ancestors came over on the same boat pretty much from from Europe sort of between the wars and so you know there's something when you when you find somebody that you you connect with and your value systems are aligned that you find really wonderful and then the love helps of course the love the love the love hello yes right honey obviously belief also relates to what what we think we can do with our lives and as a philanthropist you obviously believe in in the concept of human progress now many of us know and have heard you talk about that as a kid you wanted to to be a storyteller hoping that your stories would have a positive impact on the world this suggests that already at a fairly young age you you had a sense of that the world wasn't necessarily perfect and could be improved and and I quite vividly remember for myself growing up in a middle-class family in the Netherlands when I was quite young the moment I realized that actually all these things I took for granted education schooling food that that was actually quite unique and that there were a lot of people who didn't have the same privileges and so I'm wondering did you in your youth or maybe later have that moment where you really realized do you remember that moment would like the world isn't perfect and and if you thought okay and this is what I'm gonna do about it to make it a better place mmm yes I I mean for me as a kid growing up I I read a lot of books and a lot of books you know it's either historical fiction or books about the future or the potential future 1984 Brave New World in Animal Farm things like that and and I remember thinking that by the time I was older by the time I had kids the world might not be as pleasant to place and I I thought I would be a storyteller and tried to tell stories but the big issues that affect us all and would try to get people involved through the through the power of storytelling now that said it was all it was all very academic my family never really traveled much when I was younger and when I graduated college I was 20 years old had never been on a plane and decided to backpack around the world and for a kid that hadn't seen much of the world that was very eye-opening I mean you know Canada's a prosperous place and it's very egalitarian and you don't you don't see as much hardship and poverty and so on and I remember kind of making my way and I I think I think you know of all places there probably two that stand out Sudan and Pakistan as places where I saw people living in the most desperate circumstances and and particularly Pakistan just just affected me it was I mean this is going back 20-plus years but the there were folks living in the most desperate conditions without health care and air so thick you couldn't breathe and you know fundamentalist religion and not a lot of hope and nuclear weapons and I remember thinking the world can't can't have something like this exist and from that moment on I I was compelled to want to make the world a better place so that everybody could live in a sustainable world of peace and prosperity everybody should have access to education everybody should have health care and live in peace and you know so I've gone from the the books reading as a kid to actually seeing it in real life and that really set me on a mission and once you've got off on that mission at some point I got to know you and and I think I know you as someone who really likes to take the plunge and you're not afraid to tackle major problems and and you know basically taking normos risks um we also know that which success there's always failure that's part of it progress requires learning could you share with us when in your life you've been proven wrong well you know I laughed when Mable said take the plunge you know mate maple was CEO of the elders for many years and the elders is a wonderful organization we'll talk a bit about that I hope in a moment we were in Morocco at an elders meeting and maple challenged me to jump in the pool with her so we took the plunge together and I you know I remember President Carter sort of just shaking his head and walking away and but back to back to the question of proving Ron you know they they say no matter what the question you should always know what you're going to say and say it anyway well III think I think that there's there's something that we grow up with or we are accustomed to in society where we're told you can't trust people you can't trust your neighbour you read the newspapers and there are headlines that things are bad and things are getting worse but the reality is people are basically good and if you give good people the opportunity they'll do good things I remember when Pierre and I first got together and Pierre had this idea for eBay and you know in the early days there was a moment where somebody had to trust that some stranger would have an item that they described online and that they would send this person some money and that this person was going to send this item and that it would be as described and folks said no you can't you can't trust people and we were like no no actually you you can people are trustworthy and you know here it is many years later and you know if they still around so I guess bear-bear was right but you know that that philosophy that people is be people are basically good is is something that all of you in this room share or you wouldn't be here I remember and cut me off if you want to label but I I'm going to say that look everybody wants to hear how you're gonna admire them so gone in the very early days so eBay had gone public and we had started the eBay foundation which I ran and very soon after started what was then called the school Community Fund which I ran part-time while still at eBay and a few years later started you know decided that now is the time to really focus on a foundation and built it and brought in the incredible Sally Osberg as CEO and employee number one and Sally took me to meet her mentor John Gardner who was the Minister for health education and welfare under Lyndon Johnson and the architect of the Great Society programs in the United States in the 1960s and we asked John what could we do to best ensure the survival of humanity into the future and John said bet on good people doing good things and when we talked about that more he felt that there were are always going to be problems in society but there would be people who would stop at nothing to solve these problems and would dedicate their lives to making a difference and just around that time the term social entrepreneurship began to be known and we felt that there was an incredible opportunity to help this field of entrepreneurs in the nonprofit sector get going Bill Drayton I believe is here you know sort of coined the term social entrepreneurship but here we are all these years later betting on good people doing good things and I'd never answered your question about how I've been proven wrong but I do want you to respond to the next one which is so we have a fool of social entrepreneurs and leaders what are the qualities for good leadership and can you actually learn it can actually teach it I mean I guess you think so because otherwise you wouldn't have built that enormous school there or is it something more that comes with experience mm-hmm leadership is an interesting thing and I've I've learned more and more over time about what makes a great leader and I think the first thing is a moral compass an ethical direction of knowing right from wrong second is belief that you can accomplish something and rally people earnestly around whatever it is you're trying to accomplish so you're not putting on an act you're actually you you believe in something and it's profoundly impactful on you and you can naturally discuss this and get other people involved no Amanda is here and he's a you know branding expert and he says your brand is about being yourself on purpose I think great leaders are great leaders because they are themselves they know what their purpose is and they're dedicated to it stamina we mentioned the elders and we've been so lucky to work with incredible elders such as Kofi Annan and President Carter and Archbishop Tutu and graça Michele many of whom have have graced the forum over the years and we've traveled the world with with these folks and President Carter turned 90 last year and he runs rings around all of us and that that made me wonder well first you know how what was he like when he was younger but stamina just stamina hard work good values purpose knowing what you're doing all those qualities are the hallmarks of great leaders and I'm sure I'm forgetting a whole bunch but you're a great leader maple what do you have to say today I don't talk about we know you're referring to the elders and I'm actually curious so that's where we met each other seven years ago and we've seen them doing amazing work and we've also been privy to to their conversations about how they look at the world and and what they think they can change and if you look back at you know basically spending time and being educated by the elders what what are those things that that you feel you have learned from them either collectively or or maybe from some of them individually yeah I mean uh I'll start by going back and and and just saying that over the course of my lifetime I've been privileged to come across incredible leaders in all fields in you know teachers in schools like mine my family business leaders you know start starting eBay was an incredible opportunity to be around incredible incredibly wise people pyramid er for those that don't know him is one of the wisest people I've ever met and I think when we first started eBay pear was in his late 20s so I don't think wisdom is a function of age it's a function of some other quality and then and then again you know over time have have met incredible dynamic impressive leaders and especially in this world people that are dedicated to a cause to making you know making sure that the planet is is liveable for our future generations protecting the forests being on the front lines you know every year I see crackling bacteria of Pakistan and Sakina yaqoob' of Afghanistan back to that don't you worry but these are you know leaders who every year are so impressive by their experiences what they've learned and you know the the challenges that they have of leading their organizations and educating millions of girls and you know etc the elders collectively as a group has been an incredible experience I was lucky enough to come along early on when the group was just being formed and individually each of the elders are incredible people in their own right together it's it's like an exponential value and and you know some of the elders are from Africa somewhere from South America some are from Europe somewhere from America and you know all of them are global citizens but it's so impressive to have a conversation about UN reform with Kofi Annan in the room or about faith and belief with Archbishop Tutu in the room or about the Middle East with with with President Carter Lakhdar Brahimi Africa and the rise of Africa and making a difference with Miss Michelle and arch and and others and and it's sort of you know I I wish we could clone the elders and transfer those lessons so that everybody in the world can can see what we've been so privileged to see how the leading moral icons of our time are human beings and have you know just these lessons for for us all if the world was composed entirely of elders as we know them the world would be a much better place I agree and I think one of the things that's that really special about them is that they all are despite all their amazing achievements they have remained humble and and human I'm really curious and I mean I've been dying in a way to ask you this question for seven years who's your favorite Oh their hearts and cross Michelle and Mary Robinson are in the room so Oh Mary you see hello Mary I think she's here anyway well honestly I mean all of the altars are absolutely incredible and you know I I love questions I I mean that and you know together some of us have been to the Middle East and participant had a project on nuclear weapons at one point and grew Berland was a big part of helping us with with that and just a you know a long long story short all of the elders are involved in so many of the world's biggest issues Mary obviously now on climate change and also on girls rights and women's rights and collectively they're all my favorites how about you I must say I was always impressed how Archbishop Tutu could as the chair could manage that that group of people who are hard to manage but obviously he could threaten with the fact that if they didn't behave they would go to the holder place let's talk a tiny bit about about girls and women because I know that's an issue you you are very passionate about it's obviously not something that fits into global threats category of your work it's more you know on global opportunity I mean you've been supporting films in this field you have their Tolosa female social entrepreneurs here I know you're working now on a project that is really close to your heart which is it's you know Malala was here last year since then she got the Nobel Prize and now you are producing a film about malala's life what are you expecting from that film mmm yeah many many dimensions to that question I mean for a first off women's rights in in general are to my mind countries that have gender equality are the best off countries in the world you know and South Sally has been leading something called the social progress indicator and the social Progress Index for many years with Michael Porter and and others and the the SBI has come out with its rankings for the last couple of years and the countries that and by the way the the social progress indicator is sort of everything other than GDP so it sort of takes that out of the equation its how many doctors are there in the population and how well-off are people longevity woman's more child birth statistics things like that and generally countries that are gender balance are much better off than anywhere else many of the social entrepreneurs in this room do deal with human rights and many with education and – including including yourself maple with girls not brides and I think if there is a silver bullet in the developing world its girls education when girls are educated they they get married later they educate their children they can provide for their family they they have fewer children and they're healthier families their societies are better off and you know it's an incredible thing and you mentioned urgent threats well yeah you know we are working on these you know giant global threats like climate change and nuclear weapons and pandemics and so on but we're gonna get through those but when we do in the long term we want to have a world that's fair and sustainable and equitable and great and a pleasure for everyone to live in and girls education I think is one of those incredible opportunities that is right in in our in our laps and last year Malala gave a an incredible keynote presentation for those of you who were here it was it's kind of an interesting I think Malala was 16 at the time and she had she had her notes written in crayon and and she delivered just one of the most incredible lies engaging talks that we've ever had here at the Forum and Malala is the face of this movement of girls education and you know when I look around the room and I see people like Ann cotton and Camfed who educate two million girls and one of our new awardees educate girls in India and citizens foundation in Pakistan and I DSP in Pakistan and Afghanistan earning in Afghanistan and I can go on and on freed the children sort of Africa Latin America India and so on this the social entrepreneurs in this room touch hundreds of millions of kids in the developing world and I think collectively we have an opportunity with Malala as the face of this movement to make a difference so Davis Guggenheim who directed an inconvenient truth and Waiting for Superman which was a documentary about the American education system has directed a film on Malala which we are we participant are producing and we're trying to create the world's greatest campaign around girls education that the world has ever seen and the moment is now and we're very excited about it like you say you have a room full of people who can help create that movement and this is the time so let's let's do it as a final question and I mean I have a million other questions but we'll do that maybe the next time but the one I would like to know now is if you were to have a daughter what would you want for her hmm sorry Stephanie well yes first over to consult with my wife and ask well no I I mean I I think a universal human value is parents want their children to grow up in a better world than they experience and I Stephanie and I have been privileged to grow up in a pretty good world we would we would love our daughter to grow up in a better world than we've seen fairer equitable more peaceful more sustainable more more more more balanced and just you know the we're at the turning point in the world you know it's sort of there's been a race between these critical problems and these good people doing good things and we're finally at that Nexus where I think we're gonna change the trajectory we're gonna have a clean energy global in infrastructure within 10 years and that's gonna solve water problems and help alleviate extreme poverty and solve food dilemmas and solve a lot of the health problems that we're gonna have the breakthroughs in health I mean 15 years from now I think we're gonna be able to reverse aging the world is going to be an incredibly wonderful place and for our daughter Stephanie and I would love our daughter to have a wonderful long long life with every opportunity in the world and we would wish the same for every other parents daughters worldwide you know just you unite us all you inspire a little and please Stephanie and Jeff know that we will do everything all of us here together to make sure that your daughter will grow up in that world that you would like her to live in absolutely thank you

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