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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Working with Governments to Deliver High Impact Solutions

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Session Description

Social innovators often work with governments to leverage existing infrastructure and to deliver the highest impact. These partnerships offer tremendous promise for scaling and pave the way for sustainable approaches to other social challenges. Four successful social entrepreneurs describe their breakthrough initiatives and high-impact results in the public sector –each with different approaches, issues and geographies, but with similar challenges.

When | Where

11:00 - 12:30 Thursday, March 31

Session leaders

  • Gary Cohen Speaker
    Co-Founder and President, Health Care Without Harm
    Gary Cohen has been a pioneer in the environmental health movement for thirty years. He has helped build coalitions and networks globally to address the environmental health impacts related to toxic chemical exposure and climate change. Cohen is Co-Founder and President of Health Care Without Harm (, and Practice Greenhealth ( In 2006, Cohen received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. In 2007, he received the Frank Hatch Award for enlightened public service. In 2011, The New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded Cohen an Environmental Merit Award in recognition of exceptional work and commitment to the environment. Cohen was named by the Huffington Post as a Game Changer in Healthy Living, as well as being named an Ashoka Fellow. In 2013, he was awarded the Champion of Change Award for Climate Change and Public Health by the White House. In 2015, Cohen was named a MacArthur Fellow and was a recipient of a “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation.
  • Lakshmi Karan Speaker
    Director, Global Strategy, Riders For Health
    Lakshmi Karan is Global Strategy Director of Riders for Health, a social enterprise delivering transportation solutions to millions in the last mile. In the social sector, she was the Skoll Foundation’s Director of Impact Assessment and served as a strategic advisor to global non-profits. In the private sector, she was a management consultant to Fortune 500 companies. Her expertise is in growth strategy and social impact.
  • President and Executive Director, Visayan Forum Foundation
    Ma. Cecilia Flores-Oebanda (Cecilia) spent most of her life as a Freedom Fighter. She fought against the Marcos regime as a freedom fighter. She was captured when she was pregnant with her second child and for four years, raised two of her kids in jail. Upon her release after the People Power revolution, she established the Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc. (VF), a non-proft recognized worldwide for its innovative solutions to end modern slavery. She is an Anti-Slavery Awardee, a Trafficking in Persons Hero, and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship Awardee. She was featured by The CNN Freedom Project in a full-length documentary entitled “The Fighters". She is also featured in BBC, PBS-US and CCTV. The safehouse VF operates now houses trafficking victims who are on the way to healing, economic empowerment, prosecution of their abusers and re-integration to mainstream society.
  • Vicky Colbert Speaker
    Founder and Director, Fundación Escuela Nueva
    Vicky Colbert is founder and director of Fundación Escuela Nueva and co-author of the Escuela Nueva educational model, worldwide known for its proven effectiveness in improving the quality of education. She has developed, expanded and sustained this innovation from different organizational spheres: as the first Escuela Nueva National Coordinator, Director of Distance Education in Javeriana University, ViceMinister of Education of Colombia, UNICEF’s Regional Education Adviser for the LAC region and now, from Fundación Escuela Nueva, a nonprofit she founded in 1987 to ensure the quality and sustainability of the Escuela Nueva model in Colombia and abroad, and to further adapt its proven, cutting-edge pedagogy to new contexts and populations. Under Colbert´s leadership, FEN has adapted the Escuela Nueva model to urban settings (1987) and for migrant, displaced populations in emergency situations (2001) and just recently was ranked 42nd by The Global Journal among the Top 100 Best NGOs worldwide. Colbert has been recognized as an Outstanding Social Entrepreneur by the Schwab Foundation and by Ashoka. She has been awarded with the World Technology Award in Social Entrepreneurship (2005), the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship (2006), the first version of the Clinton Global Citizenship Award (2008). In 2009 she was awarded with the Qatar Foundation´s WISE Award for her efforts in education for pluralism and in 2011 received the Kravis Prize in Leadership. She was honored as the 2013 WISE Prize for Education Laureate from the Qatar Foundation. She completed her undergraduate Sociology degree in Javeriana University in Colombia and earned two M.A.´s in Sociology of Education and Comparative International Education from Stanford University in the United States.
  • Albina Ruiz Speaker
    Founder and President, Ciudad Saludable
    Founder and President of Ciudad Saludable, President of the Board of Peru Waste Innovation SAC and President of Healthy Cities International Foundation, all belonging to Healthy City Group; External Consultant for the InterAmerican Bank – IADB and the World Bank. Albina obtained her Ph.D. summa cum laude in Chemical Engineering, at the Universitat Ramón Llull, Spain (2010). Graduated as Industrial Engineer at the UNI (National University of Engineering), and as Sanitary Engineer in Solid Waste, as second specialty, Peru. M.A. in Ecology and Environmental Management at Ricardo Palma University (2000), Peru. Specialization studies in “The Management of Hazardous Waste”, University of Basel, Switzerland and in “Local Management and Direction” University of La Rábida, Spain. Ashoka Social Entrepreneur Fellow since 1996, she is considered among the world’s best social entrepreneurs. Also chosen by Schawb Foundation and by Skoll Foundation as Outstanding Social Entrepreneur and Avina Leader as well, as a result of the work she develops in environmental issues and especially in solid waste and water care; she has performed several environmental studies of the basin of the Santa River, of the Yarinacocha Lagoon and of others, due to the impact that solid waste and sewage water have on this water bodies. She is a Clinton Foundation Fellow and has been chosen by Ashoka for the world program GLOBALIZER. Board Member at the Global Fairness Initiative and also Board Member of Alma Sana Inc., both organizations located in the US. International Consultant with expertise in local development, environmental management, sustainable solid waste management and other areas. Member of the Board of the Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon – IIAP 2015-2018. She was Member of the Advisory Council at the Ministry of Environment since 2010 until 2013.