Meet Jyoti Sharma, First “Social Entrepreneur in Residence” at Brown

December 1, 2015

"For social entrepreneurs, the key lesson is that simply paying lip service to the term 'community empowerment' is not enough. We need to recognize the community's right to participate in informed decision-making and purchasing decisions. Even more, we need to recognize that an empowered community can be a strong contributor to a social entrepreneur's implementation plan." - Jyoti Sharma. Read the full interview here.

Social entrepreneur, environmentalist, and Ashoka Fellow Jyoti Sharma has been selected as a Taubman Fellow and the first Social Entrepreneur In Residence at Brown University.

The residency program, a partnership between the Swearer Center for Public Service and Taubman Center for Public Policy, brings an experienced social change leader to campus for a semester as an educator, advisor, and convener within Brown’s social innovation community.

Jyoti is the founder of FORCE, a nonprofit that works for water security and sustainable sanitation in India. Under her stewardship, FORCE is now an award-winning NGO with a partnerships- and innovations-oriented approach to these critical issues. Click here to read an interview with Jyoti about her background as a social entrepreneur and her goals for the residency.

Over 20 social change professionals submitted applications for the residency last spring.

“Jyoti stood out among them,” says Alan Harlam, Director of Social Entrepreneurship at the Swearer Center and a member of the selection committee. “She brings the invaluable perspective of a change leader working long-term within her own community. We believe she will deepen our students’ level of respect for the local knowledge and cultural context that comes from lived experience and careful listening.”

This spring, Jyoti will co-teach the course “Models for Sustaining Social Transformation” with Sonia Sarkar, the chief policy and engagement officer for the Baltimore City Health Department. Their course explores the dynamics of creating, managing and sustaining social change activities in order to achieve the objective of true social transformation. In addition to theoretical readings and present-day case studies, Jyoti and Sonia will apply their field learning and incorporate constituent perspectives into their syllabus. The course is open to all students interested in exploring social change and entrepreneurship, public policy, or sustainability during their time at Brown and in their future. It will also count as an elective within the public policy concentration’s Engaged Scholars Program requirements.

We look forward to welcoming Jyoti to campus in Spring 2016. Applications for the Fall 2016 residency will be open soon - please contact alan_harlam@brown.edu with any questions.