I was enraptured a couple of weeks ago as I soaked in information at the three-day Social Good Summit in NYC sponsored by Mashable, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 92Y, the United Nations Foundation, United Nations Development Program, and Ericsson . This to me is what being front row at the Super Bowl or The Oscars would be for others. The summit coincided with both the United Nations General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative, and so the city was abuzz with global leaders, humanitarians, media, and advocates, and the vibe was infectious.
The Social Good Summit is a three-day conference where big ideas meet new media to create innovative solutions. Held during UN Week from September 22-24, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges. The most innovative technologists, influential minds and passionate activists will come together with one shared goal: to unlock the potential of new media and technology to make the world a better place, and then to translate that potential into action.- www.Mashable.com/SGS
To kick off the conference World Moms Blog founder Jennifer Burden hosted a pre-game dinner party the night before for World Moms Blog editors & contributors in from out-of-town. Wave Bars sponsored our travel into the city the next day and kindly supplied us with a treat basket including a cache of their healthful snack bars for sustenance. To make us feel fully feted the creator of Dragonfly Designs had sent over a basket of gorgeous custom wine glasses, “Eat,Drink,Blog” perfect for our evening, and to get us going the next morning for a packed conference schedule.
Bright and early Sunday morning a Wave bar served as breakfast on the train into NYC to take part in the RUN10FEED10 10K with fellow Shot@Life Champion Myrdin Thompson, and my cherished childhood friend Maria. This was my first 10k and I could not have done it without their company. I loved the idea that between Maria, Myrdin and I, we started off the morning of the Social Good Summit having donated 30 meals with the run, while providing life saving vaccines, and supporting Parkinson’s Research by using the Charity Miles app we used. All before 9am. I knew that both Gene Gurkoff, Founder of Charity Miles, and Lauren Bush Lauren, Founder of FEED projects (two people I greatly admire!) would be speaking later that week at the summit.
Each day in fact, for the following three days, many of the people whose work I admire most took the stage and elucidated us further on the impact we can all have for social good, on emerging technologies, and best practices leading the way. The speaker line-up was star-studded (for the humanitarian world) and included Melinda Gates, Richard Branson, Al Gore and Malala Yousafazai, and tackled ending poverty by 2030, food security, Global health, and how mobile technology is transforming our world. Speakers ranged from humanitarian celebrities such as will.i.am, founders of inspiring NGO’s and non-profits, representatives from UNICEF and the World Food Program to HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. The full list of speakers and their topics can be found on the Mashable site. Each panel offered hope, solutions and actions toward the universal goal of ending extreme poverty by the year 2030 (hence the hashtag), and tackling the multifactorial root causes collectively.
A couple of my favorite snapshots include the National Geographic photographer Marcus Bleasdale calling us all out for using technologies that have conflict zones minerals in them. With his photographs he documented mineral mines where lives are lost for the necessary elements found in our cell phones, iPads and cameras. He urged us all to be more conscientious consumers, and let companies know that we will not purchase products produced in an environment that is harmful to others. An important message for a room full of social media producers. Jessica O. Mathews demonstrated the soccer ball that she invented with her company Uncharted Play, Inc., that harnesses power during play. To me her brilliant design was such a hopeful example of how young people are creatively solving the challenges we face. And Sir Richard Branson pointed out that the choice between saving the planet or saving our economies is a false choice. Al Gore would later expand on that calling the climate reality the most pressing challenge to the survival of human civilization as we know it.
As electric as the energy was inside the 92Y, some of the highlights for me occurred outside of the summit itself, such as meeting our World Moms Blog Tanzanian contributor Nancy Sumari. Attending a roundtable lunch session with ONE, the Gates Foundation, and Save the Children focused on the Syrian refugee crisis and tackling the MDG’s. Joining other bloggers at a dinner meeting with WaterAid where we heard an update on implementing running water in the Madagascar schools several of us have written about. Attending a ONE.org panel at the United Nations on Millennial Factivism, and an inspiring blogger breakfast with (RED) to discuss upcoming products that help fund the fight against AIDS. Gathering in person with so many of the amazing people that share my passion for raising awareness and striving towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals, and the true possibility of ending extreme poverty by 2030. I am still processing all of the information that came home with me, in what feels like unpacking a duffle bag stuffed with the whole world of issues. One by one I aim to pull them out, and write.