Unlocking Change at #SkollWF

Insights from Skoll World Forum 2024’s Dynamic Opening

StartingUpGood Magazine


Explore additional insights from our comprehensive conference coverage of the 2024 Skoll World Forum.

Now in its 21st year, the annual Skoll World Forum brings together visionary leaders, innovators, and change-makers from around the globe to share insights, forge partnerships, and drive systemic change.

Day One of the 2024 Skoll World Forum included an engaging plenary that set a powerful tone for the entire conference, and introduced the overarching themes of resilience against adversity and the power of collective action.

2024 Skoll World Forum Opening Plenary

Introduction: Honoring Legacy

The session opened with hosts, Stefan Chambers and Alessandra Orofino, who not only introduced the 2024 forum but took a moment to honor Jess Search, a long-standing member of the Skoll community. The tribute was touching, reflecting on Jess’s enormous impact, love for documentary filmmaking, and dedication to activism, setting a deeply personal and reflective tone for the forum. Poet and philosopher David Whyte recited literature that resonated with the themes of loss and continued connection, drawing parallels between personal grief and the collective challenges faced by communities.

Key Takeaways

Power of Collaboration

In her opening remarks, Minister Sonia Guajajara, Brazil’s first Minister of Indigenous Peoples, emphasized the critical role of indigenous communities in preserving biodiversity and combating climate change. Her message underscored the importance of cross-sector partnerships in addressing global challenges.

The Christchurch Call, initiated by Dame Jacinda Ardern, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, serves as a compelling example of how governments, tech companies, and civil society can work together to tackle online extremism and protect vulnerable communities. As change-makers, we must actively seek out innovative partnerships and initiatives that leverage our collective strengths.

Urgent Need to Invest in Sustainable Solutions

Wanjira Mathai, a prominent African environmental leader, stressed the importance of supporting low-carbon, climate-resilient economies around forests. By prioritizing projects that align with these goals and empower local communities, investors can catalyze meaningful progress towards a more sustainable future. The insights shared by Minister Guajajara and Mathai serve as powerful reminders that our investment decisions have far-reaching consequences for both people and the planet.

Importance of Diverse and Inclusive Leadership

Dame Jacinda Ardern’s empathetic approach to leadership, coupled with her unwavering commitment to kindness and compassion, demonstrated that women can be strong, decisive, and courageous while embracing their unique leadership styles. Mary Robinson and Zeid Raad Al Hussein, both former UN High Commissioners for Human Rights, called for moral consistency and adherence to international law in addressing global challenges. As leaders in the social impact space, we must cultivate qualities of adaptability, resilience, and inclusivity to effectively navigate an ever-changing landscape.

Maintaining Optimism and Resilience in the Face of Adversity

Dame Jacinda Ardern’s call to maintain a sense of expectation and optimism resonated deeply with attendees. The Skoll World Forum’s vibrant community of regenerative leaders serves as a testament to the power of perseverance and collaboration. As we work towards a better future, it is essential that we give ourselves permission to step back when necessary and plan for long-term success.


Speakers from diverse backgrounds shared stories and strategies reflecting the belief that persistent and informed efforts can lead to substantial social impact. By embracing the power of collaboration, investing in sustainable solutions, cultivating diverse leadership, and maintaining optimism, we can collectively drive the systemic change needed to address the world’s most pressing challenges.

Featured Speakers

  • Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand (2017–2023)
  • Stephan Chambers, Director, The Marshall Institute London School of Economics
  • David Whyte, Poet, Philosopher, Speaker
  • Sonia Guajajara, Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Brazil
  • Wanjira Mathai, Managing Director for Africa and Global Partnerships, World Resources Institute
  • James Mwangi, Founder and CEO, Africa Climate Ventures
  • Alessandra Orofino, Founder and Executive Director, Peri Productions
  • Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Member, The Elders, President, International Peace Institute
  • Mary Robinson, Chair, The Elders, Former President of Ireland

Our StartingUpGood team believes that events and conferences are great places to learn, share ideas, and innovate. We are committed to using our innovative tech tools to share key insights and learnings from top conferences. This article uses Otter.ai to create transcripts and various LLMs to generate content summaries. All work is hand-checked for quality.

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