social change | December 18, 2012

Learning from a “Social-Good Rock Star”: KIVA’s Jessica Jackley is Now Teaching

Who do you hire when you are looking for the perfect candidate to teach a course on Entrepreneurial Design for Social Change? Well, a "social-good rock star," of course. That's exactly what Drew University thinks of Jessica Jackley; and it's why she—and her husband Reza Aslan, a writer and religion scholar—was chosen as the "perfect role model" for teaching students how to make the world a better place.

“The social entrepreneurship world is nothing exclusive or far away," she tells students in her class, "it’s a world students can opt into, at any time, by taking action.” Jackley's message really hits home because she practiced what she teaches and turned her own dreams of eliminating poverty into one of the fastest-growing peer-to-peer microloaning websites in the world. Not only that, but she co-founded Kiva.org when she was only in her 20s. She advises her students to go after their dreams as soon as they can. “Just get started,” she tells them. “Whether it’s something very small, or whether you have a grand vision for a huge endeavor, just start taking steps in that direction.” She also requires that each student identify a real-life problem and solution while in her class, to emphasize practical action over classroom dreaming.

Jackley is a Barer Visiting Fellow at Drew’s Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict (CRCC) at Drew University. In her class, she lectures on the potential for global transformation that exists in the digital age and how it has democratized social entrepreneurship. Aslan, a Wallerstein Distinguished Professor at the CRCC, joins her to share his insights on the subject as well.

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education | December 17, 2012