Rodrigo Baggio – Founder and President
Rodrigo Baggio, 44 years old, is one of the world´s most recognized and respected social entrepreneurs. Pioneer of digital inclusion in Latin America, in 1995 he founded CDI, (Center for Digital Inclusion) the first non-profit organization to fight the digital divide in the region. Baggio is a fellow of all four global renowned organizations to support social entrepreneurship: Avina, Ashoka, the Schwab Foundation, and the Skoll Foundation. In 2003, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by DePaul University in Chicago.
Baggio is recognized nationally and internationally for his pioneering projects and vision. The World Economic Forum recognized Baggio as one the “100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow” and Time named him as one of the leaders of Latin America that will make a difference in the third millennium, selecting him for their “Local Heroes” campaign. In 2006 he was selected by CNN, Time and Fortune as one of the “Principal Voices” in economic development alongside Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus.
Baggio has received a Certificate of Recognition from the Clinton Global Initiative and was recently invited to join the Strategy Council of the UN’s new Global Alliance for ICT and Development. He and CDI have won more than 60 national and international awards from prominent organizations including Unicef, Unesco, the Technology Museum, Time, Fortune, the International Economic Forum, and the Abrinq Foundation in Brazil.
His pursuit of social change began at 12 years of age, driven by his two interests: volunteer work with children living on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, and computers, which became his choice of profession. Self taught, he started a technology consulting firm in 1990 and taught computer classes in Brazilian schools. He also worked as a specialist in Artificial Intelligence (Accenture), and as a manager of the Reinventing Education program (IBM Brasil).
Feeling unfulfilled and stressed by the distractions of his career, at 26 Baggio followed his interest in technology back to the communities-in-need with whom he had worked as a child. His idea was to achieve greater social inclusion by achieving more digital inclusion. He founded “Informática para Todos,” Brazil’s first campaign for donated computers and shortly thereafter, in 1995, opened the first Information Technology and Citizens Rights School (ITCRS) in Dona Marta, a favela in Rio De Janeiro. He subsequently founded CDI to aid in the administration and funding of the school. In the 18 years since, Baggio has helped to improve CDI’s effectiveness and expand its reach to over 780 CDI Inclusion Sites in 12 countries.