At this year’s Media That Matters conference, American University School of Communication Executive in Residence and Center for Media & Social Impact Co-Director Caty Borum Chattoo spoke about humor as “an incredibly powerful way to communicate about social issues.” On Friday, April 17 at 6:45am EST, she will be taking this message global.
Borum Chattoo has been invited to speak at the 2015 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship’s session “What’s So Funny? The Role of Comedy in Social Change,” moderated by Jess Search of BRITDOC. Listeners are invited to “explore the power of humor to spotlight issues in a serious world.”
The session is one of a handful of “core sessions” that will be live-streamed so that people all around the globe can tune in. Other speakers include political satirist Bassem Youssef, Mechai Viravaidya of the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation, and Jack Sim of World Toilet Organization.
The annual Skoll World Forum began in 2004 and invites delegates from more than 60 countries to come together in Oxford, where they can share and expand upon ideas that advance social entrepreneurship and ultimately public good. This year’s opening plenary features Archbishop Emeritus Desmund Tutu. The Forum’s theme for 2015 is “belief,” particularly the belief that “even the most intractable problem offers an unsurpassed opportunity for change.”
Borum Chattoo’s recent work has emphasized comedy as one of those opportunities for change. In her Media That Matters keynote address, she broke down the research detailing the persuasive power of humor and shared her own experiences on the documentary TV two-part series,“Stand Up Planet,” for which she served as executive producer and producer, as well as evaluation director. Borum Chattoo’s impact evaluation report on the project found that using humor around the topic of global poverty may have helped audiences care more about the daily lives of the people they saw on-screen, a key component of motivating audiences to action.