The root of most problems are education and poverty. How do we educate in the face of poverty? Alfie Kohn is a social innovator because he has the courage to show why conventional schooling systems (like in the US) are broken. I wouldn't call him a hero -- that's just Evoke's silly video game rhetoric -- but he understands children and learning so clearly and explains his views clearer than any social activist or researcher I've ever seen. To me, what he is talking about is not just about learning, but also sustained happiness and community empowerment.
He has a twitter: http://twitter.com/AlfieKohn
and a website: http://alfiekohn.com
I hope to get in contact with him soon so I can get some ideas for what kind of future experimental research with learning needs to be done. I'm traveling to Kenya this summer and hope to work with students and children on these kind of issues!