Blair Glencorse is Founder and Executive Director of the Accountability Lab, an incubator for creative, youth-driven ideas for accountability and transparency around the world. Blair is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Anti-Corruption and Transparency and a Social Impact Fellow at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, Blair was an advisor to the now President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, and worked for the World Bank on issues of governance and development. He is an Echoing Green Fellow and winner of the World Technology Award.
Be accountable for change…share hope with Blair Glencorse #isharehope Episode 91
Summary: Blair’s answer to the five questions! Listen to the full conversation on the player above; also available on iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud.
Question 1: How do you define hope or what is your favorite quote about hope?
My definition of hope would be tomorrow is better than today.
Question 2: Who has shared the most hope with you?
My mother definitely. She’s an amazing lady. My father died when I was very young and she brought up four young children on her own. As you can imagine, that kind of thing must have been incredibly difficult and the fact that she came through that and gave us such incredible educations and opportunities and values and sensibilities is amazing, so she gives me hope.
The people that we work with at the Accountability Lab are also a gigantic hope for me. They are young people. Most of the people we work with are under the age of 25, students, social activists, leaders within civil societies in different places. These are places generally that are very, very difficult. They have some of the most challenging context and most difficult problems in the world and these young people are trying to change their societies in really meaningful ways and they’re doing it for the right reasons. That gives me hope that the future can be different and that tomorrow will be better than today.
Question 3: How have you used hope to make it through a difficult time in your life?
Given some of the places that I’ve worked, I’ve got the privilege to say that my story is not particularly difficult. I was lucky enough to grow up in the UK, I’ve got a good education, I worked hard, but I was very lucky. I think part of that again comes back to sort of the way you’re raised and the sense of empathy that my family helped me develop and trying to generate meaningful experiences and relationships that could help me understand why different parts of the world or different people were in different circumstances.
I would say I’m incredibly lucky and haven’t had terrible setbacks more than your average person growing up in the west might have had. I suppose it indicates hope and efforts to try and make the world a better place can come from anywhere as long as it’s authentic and meaningful.
Question 4: How are you sharing hope today?
One of the moments where I’ve been proud as to what we’re doing which is The Accountability Lab supports young people with great ideas and we engage them in ways that they understand. One of the things we’ve done in a number of countries is set up film schools to train young people in film for films about how to improve their communities and change their societies and find their voice around issues that they care about. We set one up in Liberia and we found a young girl on the street. Her parents had been killed during the war, she was involved in prostitution to make ends meet and she came into our film school and really going to film. She has made now tons of films. She made one in particular about sexual harassment which was a big hit when we put it out locally. She won a local film festival prize and has since gone to make more films and become a totally different person. It’s really put her on a totally different trajectory.
The Accountability Lab grew out of the work that I’ve done around politics and governance in difficult countries and the idea that young people have to engage in these issues, we need a generational shift in thinking if we’re to address some of these problems. We set up the first ever film school in Liberia and have been training people to make films about issues they care about and this was incredibly valuable during the Ebola crisis when we made local films in local languages with some of the students and did mobile cinema to make people aware of what the virus was doing and how they could stay safe. I think it’s saved thousands of lives that way.
I’ve been working in Liberia on how to use music for social change and the value of their voices as a trusted mechanism for engaging young people. We have been working in Pakistan with some civic education advocates to really help change the way that citizenship and ideas of citizenship and what that means in terms of rights and responsibilities. We’ve run a very fun and now increasingly popular global TV show called Integrity Idol where we ask people to nominate honest government officials.
Question 5: How should I (the listener) begin to grow in hope or share hope today?
(1) Think through what they can do to make tomorrow better than today.
(2) Get out there and start doing it.