Solving Wicked Problems: Lessons on Systems Change from Diverse Fields

Three Open Society Fellows discuss how they have supported complex systems reform to address some of society’s most intractable challenges. Combining perspectives from three movements—disability rights, workers’ rights, and global health—the panelists draw lessons that can be applied across a range of issues and sketch out common approaches that can be used by advocates across the globe.


  • Michael Bach is a disability rights advocate who recently returned from Bulgaria, where he is providing technical assistance to civil society groups on the verge of a breakthrough in legal recognition of basic rights for people with mental disabilities.
  • Jennifer Gordon is developing a strategy to hold global labor recruiters and the employers that contract with them accountable for the abuse of guest workers.
  • Gregg Gonsalves has examined why health systems fail and how lessons from the HIV/AIDS scale-up can be applied to other global health challenges.
  • Emily Martinez (moderator) is director of the Open Society Human Rights Initiative.
Date: January 14, 2015
Time: 12:30 p.m.