Alanna Petroff, Saïd Oxford The Skoll World Forum

What do Jude Law, Annie Lennox, Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu all have in common?

They are all well-known figures who were at Saïd Business School for the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship.

Social entrepreneurs from all walks of life come together to discuss pressing social issues at this annual, three-day event. Hundreds of delegates converge at the business school to attend speeches, networking sessions and plenaries, all aimed at solving major social challenges.

I was lucky enough to attend one of the panel sessions titled, “Deep leadership: interior dimensions of large-scale change.” The panelists, including Desmond Tutu, discussed the hardships and difficulties leaders face when they are trying to enact large-scale social changes, such as putting an end to modern slavery or ensuring millions of under-privileged people have access to healthcare. The words of the panelists were truly inspirational. They talked about the many times they had been discouraged and the many times they had failed. But ultimately, the main message was that you cannot give up, despite the setbacks. This point was understood by all the delegates in the room and people left the lecture excited and energised.

Business schools often face criticism over churning out destructive, single-minded capitalists. This Skoll World Forum simply reinforced my view that Saïd Business School is about more than pure capitalism, it is also about leadership and positive social change.