Alan Khazei: National Service Provides ‘Foot Soldiers for Social Entrepreneurs’

[ 0 ] July 2, 2013 |

Alan Khazei believes that national issues plaguing the U.S. can be solved with something simple: national service.

The social entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Be the Change, Inc. spoke about the impact citizens can have on the world at this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival 2013. “Throughout our history, it’s actually the citizens that have driven change,” Khazei told genConnect in Aspen. “Young people from all backgrounds can be used to solve big national challenges, such as veteran reintegration, poverty, the environment and conservation and so many more.”

Watch Alan Khazei discuss national service and citizen service and how it impacts social entrepreneurs at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival:

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Alan Khazei

Khazei and the Aspen Institute developed the Franklin Project, which encourages the idea of a year of service as a voluntary, universal right of passage. The program targets people between 18-28 and asks them to join a common opportunity to serve their country in some way. “It’s not mandatory, but we want it to be a social norm that institutionalizes citizen service so that every generation can become a greatest generation,” he said.

Social entrepreneurs are always working on generating new ideas and according to Khazei, there is a great synergy between national service and social entrepreneurs. “National service can be the foot soldiers for the social entrepreneurs,” says Khazei.  “The more we fuel national service, the more social entrepreneurship will emerge.”

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With an increase in citizen service and social entrepreneurship, large national challenges and issues can be remedied. “By taking [citizen service numbers] from 50-75 thousand to one million, you will see these problems get solved,” Khazei said.

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Category: Aspen Ideas Festival 2013

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About Alan Khazei: Alan Khazei has pioneered ways to empower citizens to make a difference. In 1987, as a young graduate from Harvard Law School, he co-founded a nonprofit organization called City Year with his friend, Michael Brown. [...]
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