Tag Archives: social entrepreneurship

Visiting Lang Professor Denise Crossan Touts Social Entrepreneurship

By Ryan Dougherty
September 9th, 2015
Swarthmore College website

Dr. Denise CrossanIs social entrepreneurship an oxymoron?

It has been for many philanthropists, who worry that building a business model will compromise their mission, and for businesspersons who deem the social part too “touchy feely.” But that’s changing, says Denise Crossan.

“Increasingly, I have students and community members coming to me saying, ‘I have this great business idea, and it’s also going to address a societal problem,’” she says. “There’s definitely space for both.”

Crossan will navigate students through that space as the Eugene M. Lang Visiting Professor for Issues in Social Change this year, responding to a budding interest in doing well and doing good.

“There’s real appetite from students here who want to be engaged in giving back to society through sustainable enterprise,” she says. “It’s about building an organization that makes money that can be reinvested into social purpose or impact.”

Crossan is offering two courses this year through the Peace and Conflict Studies program. This fall, she is teaching a class on what social entrepreneurship is and how to engage in it. In the spring, she will teach a course she calls “finding your inner social entrepreneur,” targeting students who have identified a social issue to which they would like to apply a business model.

“It’s about giving them the space to convert their idea into a viable, sustainable enterprise that creates measurable social change,” says Crossan, emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of the subject.

“If anyone wants to have a conversation about their research or interests or work that might potentially spin out into social entrepreneurship and wants to come talk with me, I’d be delighted,” she says.

Crossan comes to Swarthmore from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Business, where she was appointed assistant professor of social entrepreneurship — the first post of its kind in Ireland — in 2009. However, it was her background as community business advisor for the European Union Program for Peace & Reconciliation that helped pave her way to Swarthmore.

John Van Til ’61, professor emeritus of urban studies and community planning at Rutgers University, Camden, was one of Crossan’s external examiners for her Ph.D. Noting her deep knowledge of community organizations in Northern Ireland, he mentioned that Swarthmore was looking for someone to set up a study abroad program there. Crossan’s discussions with Steven Piker, former professor of anthropology and advisor to the Off-Campus Study Office, and Rosa Bernard, assistant director of the Off-Campus Study Office, yielded a successful Northern Ireland Program based in Derry and Belfast that has sent 12 Swarthmore students to study peace and reconciliation with Trinity College students since 2005.

Visiting Swarthmore’s campus each year, Crossan developed admiration for the people and purpose of the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility.

“I thought, ‘We need the Lang Center in Ireland,’” she says. “They inspired me to work toward setting up the Trinity Centre for Social Engagement [pdf], which will foster social innovation and entrepreneurial action and help us to understand meaningful engagement in society.”

Crossan also sits on a panel of experts in social entrepreneurship for the European Commission, whose responsibilities include advising the commission on the development of the Social Business Initiative across the European Union. She is creating a digital map of social enterprise and eager to engage Swarthmore students in mapping social entrepreneurship in Philadelphia and beyond.

Before she could outline her academic plans for the coming year, though, Crossan had to overcome what she called the “information overload” of re-locating to the U.S.: “new house, new job, new car, new I.D.”

But since she was born and spent the first 10 years of her life in Ohio, it’s not all new.

“Things that I remember from when I was little are coming back to me,” she says. “It’s the small things, like the sounds of people cutting their grass at night or the bugs in the trees.”

And she already feels at home in the Swarthmore community.

“They’re just the most engaged and incredibly deep-thinking group of individuals you could possibly meet,” she says. “Even better, it comes without judgment. It’s an incredible institution with fabulous thinkers, which is also very humble, open to new thoughts and people and contributions. That, I absolutely love.”

Fall 2015 Line-up of Peace & Conflict Studies Courses

In addition to all of the excellent courses offered across campus that may be counted toward a minor in Peace and Conflicts Studies, our own program curriculum is expanding next year!

PEAC 015. Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies

In Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies, we learn that peace and conflict are not mutually exclusive. To paraphrase Conrad Brunk, the goal of peace and conflict studies is to better understand conflict in order to find nonviolent ways of turning unjust relationships into more just ones. We examine both the prevalence of coercive and non-peaceful means of conducting conflict as well as the development of nonviolent alternatives, locally and globally, through institutions and at the grassroots. The latter include nonviolent collective action, mediation, peacekeeping, and conflict transformation work. Several theoretical and philosophical lenses will be used to explore cultural and psychological dispositions, conflict in human relations, and conceptualizations of peace. The course will take an interdisciplinary approach with significant contributions from the social sciences. U.S.-based social justice movements, such as the struggle for racial equality, and global movements, such as nonviolent activism in Israel/Palestine, and the struggle for climate justice around the world, will serve as case studies.

1 credit. Tues/Thurs. 1:15-2:30 pm

Instructor: Sa’ed Atshan

 PEAC 039. Social Entrepreneurship for Social Change (NEW COURSE!)

By integrating innovative approaches with revenue-generating practices, social entrepreneurs and their ventures open compelling and impactful avenues to social change. In this course, students will learn about the pioneering individuals and novel ways that social entrepreneurship responds to social needs that are not adequately served by the market or by the state through in-depth case analysis of social change work (locally, nationally, and globally).

1 credit. Mondays 1:15-4:00 pm

Instructor: Denise Crossan, Lang Professor for Social Change


 

 PEAC 053. Israeli-Palestinian Conflict  (NEW COURSE!)

This course will examine the historical underpinnings of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how they have shaped the contemporary context in Israel/Palestine. We will approach this from a demography and population-studies framework in order to understand the trajectories and heterogeneity of Israeli and Palestinian societies and politics. For instance, how has the relationship between race and period of migration to Israel impacted Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Israeli sub-populations differently? What explains divergent voting patterns between Palestinian Christians and Muslims over time? How can we measure inequality between Israeli settlers and Palestinian natives in the West Bank in the present? The course will also synthesize competing theoretical paradigms that account for the enduring nature of this conflict. This includes—but is not limited to—the scholarly contributions of realist political scientists, US foreign policy experts, social movements theorists, security sector reformers, human rights advocates, international law experts, and negotiations and conflict resolution practitioners.

Eligible POLS and ISLM credit.

1 credit. Tues./Thurs. 2:40-3:55 pm

Instructor: Sa’ed Atshan


PEAC 071B. Research Seminar: Strategy and Nonviolent Struggle

(Cross-listed as POLS 081 and SOCI 071B)

This research seminar involves working with The Global Nonviolent Action Database built at Swarthmore College. This website is accessed by activists and scholars worldwide. The database contains crucial information on campaigns for human rights, democracy, environmental sustainability, economic justice, national/ethnic identity, and peace. Students will investigate a series of research cases and write them up in two ways: within a template of fields (the database proper) and also as a narrative describing the unfolding struggle. Strategic implications will be drawn from theory and from what the group is learning from the documented cases of wins and losses experienced by people’s struggles.

1 credit.  Mondays 1:15-4:00 pm

Instructor: Lee Smithey

Dr. Denise Crossan to join Peace and Conflict Studies Program as Lang Professor

The Peace and Conflict Studies program is thrilled to join the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility in welcoming a new colleague in Peace and Conflict Studies for the 2015-2016 academic year!

Dr. Denise Crossan
Lang Visiting Professor for Issues of Social Change
2015-2016

Dr_Denise_Crossan-236x300.jpg

As the Lang Professor, Dr. Denise Crossan will engage with alumni, community members, faculty, staff, and students through instruction, research, and engagement activities surrounding the topics of social innovation and social entrepreneurship.

Dr. Crossan will offer two courses on social entrepreneurship in 2015-2016:

  • PEAC 039 Social Entrepreneurship for Social Change (Fall 2015)
  • PEAC 049 Be the Change: Social Entrepreneurship in Principle and Practice (Spring 2016)

Dr. Crossan joined the School of Business at Trinity College, Dublin (TCD) in January 2009 as Ireland’s first Lecturer in Social Entrepreneurship, and is the founding director of TCD’s new center, Initiative on Social Entrepreneurship.  There she has taught courses such as “Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation: Organisation and Management,” and has consulted with many groups as they develop earned income strategies to sustain their work for the common good.

All members of the College community are encouraged to connect with Dr. Crossan during her time at Swarthmore as she is an incredible colleague with expertise in the areas of innovation, leadership, NGOs, social entrepreneurship, as well as strategic management and marketing.

Endowed by Eugene M. Lang ’38, the Lang Visiting Professorship brings to Swarthmore outstanding social scientists, political leaders, and social activists whose careers demonstrate sustained engagement with major issues of social justice, civil liberties, human rights, and democracy.

Along with the sponsoring academic program, Peace and Conflict Studies, this Lang Visiting Professorship is co-hosted by the Lang Center.

Nimesh Ghimire ‘15 Awarded Davis Project for Peace Grant to Establish ‘Peace Innovation Camp’ in Nepal

Congratulations to Nimesh Ghimire ‘15 for winning a Davis Project for Peace Award.  Here is the organization’s press release:

106-year-old philanthropist renews Projects for Peace grants for college students

 Swarthmore College Student Project to Provide a Wireless Internet Network and Runs a Week long ‘Peace Innovation Camp’ in Rural Nepal

 MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – College students across the country are once again being challenged to design and undertake “Projects for Peace” around the world, thanks to philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis. Now 106 years “young” Davis launched Projects for Peace on the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007 and has renewed her commitment every year since. In 2013, over $1.20 million will be awarded in $10,000 grants to students submitting the winning proposals for projects to be completed over the summer of 2013.

Davis is eager for motivated young people to come up with effective building blocks for peace-building in the world, and she is providing the money to make their plans a reality. Projects that address conflict resolution and reconciliation, foster understanding, provide opportunity, and build community are among the many successful endeavors to date.

Undergraduates at 90 partner schools of the Davis United World College Scholars Program (see www.davisuwcscholars.org), as well as those at International Houses Worldwide, Future Generations, the Graduate Institute in Geneva, and the University of Maine are invited annually to submit plans for Projects for Peace. Winning proposals selected from competitions at all these campuses are funded through Davis’ generosity.

“Competition is keen and we congratulate the students whose projects have been selected for funding in 2013,” said Philip O. Geier, executive director of the Davis United World College Scholars Program, which administers Projects for Peace. “Kathryn Davis feels a great urgency about advancing the cause of peace in the world, and she is investing in motivated youth and their ideas in order to accelerate efforts for peace in the 21st century.”

nimeshSwarthmore College student, Nimesh Ghimire ‘15 proposes to use the Davis Projects for Peace grant to direct and establish a wireless internet network and run a week long ‘Peace Innovation Camp’ at Shree Gyanodaya Higher Secondary School in Sahilitar, a rural village of Lamjung district in western Nepal. The wireless network project will introduce a new world of technology to the village and the Peace Innovation Camp will allow the students with the creative freedom to design new, interesting projects to solve local peace-building challenges in their local communities. Both programs of the project will also strengthen the recently started Peace Innovation Lab (www.tinyurl.com/peaceinnovationlab) – Nepal’s first local peace innovation hub, located at the proposed school – as a resource hub to create, promote and sustain inclusive peace building efforts in Sahilitar village in Lamjung district. The project will start at the beginning of June and conclude in August, 2013.

“I want to use my birthday to once again help young people launch some initiatives that will bring new energy and ideas to the prospects of peace in the world,” said Davis. “My many years have taught me that there will always be conflict. It’s part of human nature. But love, kindness and support are also part of human nature, and my challenge to these young people is to bring about a mindset of preparing for peace instead of preparing for war.”

For more information on Projects for Peace, see www.davisprojectsforpeace.org.

Prof. Denise Crossan lecture on social entrepreneurship

Dr. Denise CrossanThe Creative Destruction of Capitalism and the Rise of Social Entrepreneurship

A lecture by

Dr. Denise Crossan

Assistant Professor in Social Entrepreneurship

School of Business

Trinity College Dublin

Regional Director of the Swarthmore College Northern Ireland Semester Programme

Monday, November 5, 2012

4:15 p.m.

Science Center 101

Maps and directions to Swarthmore College

An influential 2011 Harvard Business Review article hailed the re-construction of capitalism and the development of a “shared value” approach to business practice. In this talk, drawing on public policy initiatives around the world, Dr. Denise Crossan will explore the complexity of the concept of social entrepreneurship and review how the private sector and international governments are supporting and growing new organisational forms that strive to deliver an equally weighted social and economic return value for their stakeholders.

Dr. Denise Crossan was appointed to Trinity College Dublin’s School of Business in January 2009 as Assistant Professor in Social Entrepreneurship; the first post of it’s kind in Ireland.  She currently teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and her research interests include mapping social entrepreneurship in an international context; the measurement of social value and ethical practice in social entrepreneurship; international public sector policies to grow social entrepreneurship and understanding corporate social responsibility and blurring sector boundaries.

In 2012 she received the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, Highly Commended Award Winner, for her paper entitled “The Hologram Effect in Entrepreneurial Social Commercial Enterprises: Triggers and Tipping Points” published in the Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development (Vol. 18, No. 4, 2011).  Dr. Crossan’s in-field experience includes working as Community Business Advisor under the European Union’s Special Programme for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland from 1996 to 2002, and Dr Crossan acts as the Regional Director of the Swarthmore College Northern Ireland Semester Programme.

Sponsored by Swarthmore’s Study Abroad Office, Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, Peace and Conflict Studies, and Sociology and Anthropology

THURSDAY Information Session: Northern Ireland Semester

Interested in conflict and peacebuilding? Social entrepreneurship and sustainable organizing?

Come learn about the Northern Ireland Semester, a study abroad program of Swarthmore College. We will hold an orientation session on Thursday, September 20th at 3:30 in SC145. Dr. Denise Crossan (Trinity College Dublin), our in-country supervisor and instructor, will join us via Skype.

The program provides students a unique opportunity to study conflict, ongoing peacebuilding efforts, and social entrepreneurship in local communities in Northern Ireland, a region in a critical transition after 30 years of violent political and ethnic struggle. Students work (for supervised credit) within local community organizations while studying conflict, peace, and reconciliation at the Irish School for Ecumenics of Trinity College at its Belfast campus. Community placements can be tailored to fit your particular academic interests (e.g. theatre as peacebuilding, culture and conflict, transitional politics, segregated education, cross-border economics, etc.)

The Northern Ireland Semester is based in two geographic locations, Derry / Londonderry or Belfast, but student involvement with community groups may take place elsewhere in Northern Ireland. Students may register for one semester or two, and further possibilities for summer research and /or service work may arise.

Visit the Northern Ireland Semester website where you can read more about the program, including student contributions to the program’s blog.

All students are welcome to participate in the program. For Peace and Conflict Studies students, all four credits may be applied toward the minor.

Download, print, and hang a flyer, and invite your friends!

Information for this and other programs is available in the Off-Campus Study Office Visit the OCSO web site.

Contact: Lee Smithey at lsmithe1 or Rosa Bernard at rbernar1

 

Culture and conflict in Northern Ireland. Photo credit: Lee Smithey
Bonfires and national flags, such as this Union Jack and the Tricolour on the hill, assert political claims and identities in Northern Ireland

One of our own, Theresa Williamson ’97, returns to talk about community development in Rio de Janeiro

Theresa Williamson ’97 graduated with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies, and she is coming back home to tell us about her work with Catalytic Communities, a development organization she founded and directs. Come to her talk on December 5 in the Scheuer Room.

Catalytic Communities: Entrepreneurship in Community Development in Rio de Janeiro

A Talk by Theresa Williamson ‘97

Theresa Williamson '97
Theresa Williamson '97

Monday, December 5, 2011

4:30 p.m.

Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall

(maps and directions)

Theresa Williamson will discuss her work after Swarthmore in creating Catalytic Communities (CatComm), a successful nonprofit organization supporting Rio de Janeiro’s favela communities. Founded in 2000, CatComm has provided communications, networking and training support to over 1500 leaders from over 250 different neighborhoods across Rio.

Since 2009 CatComm, has been increasingly recognized as a watchdog organization as Rio prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, and local officials begin intervening significantly in the city’s favelas.

Williamson will discuss the organization’s development with a particular emphasis on the organizational philosophy that made it possible to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing urban policy shift and evolving needs of its community partners, all within the setting of one of the most dynamic cities in the world today. Topics Williamson will include in her talk: Rio de Janeiro, slum upgrading, alternative and mainstream media, nonprofit management, urban planning, and dynamism.

Theresa Williamson received her Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and has published articles in Progressive Planning, The Journal of Urban Technology, and Cidadania.org. Williamson is the founder and executive director of Catalytic Communities and received her undergraduate degree from Swarthmore in Biological Anthropology.

CatComm has been working extensively around issues of forced evictions as Rio prepares for the Olympics.

 

Sponsored by the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, Peace and Conflict Studies, Alumni Relations, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Latin American Studies