Tag Archives: United Nations Foundation

A Look Back on 2016

A Look Back on 2016

PicMonkey Collage-5Reviewing the past year always helps me to move on to the new one, and here we are already heading into the last week of January! I just now feel like I’m catching up to the start of 2017!  It doesn’t usually take me this long to re-group and find the quiet time that I need to reflect after the holidays end, the kids get back to school, and visits with family and friends slow down. The election results left me distracted this January, but the Women’s March in DC last weekend has helped me to get back on track. Now I feel I can really take a look back at what unfolded over the past year and start to set some new goals for the new one ahead.

With a busy work schedule in 2016 I posted less on my blog than I would have liked.  While it was great to be busy, it left me finding less time for my own projects. I hope that in 2017 I can set aside time to do more with video and the writing that I love. Among my social media clients for the past two years I had the pleasure to work in strategic partnerships and as the Digital and Social Media Specialist for a local non-profit that I greatly admire. I worked with Edesia through the transition into a newly built factory where they produce life saving Plumpy’Nut and other ready-to-use foods to treat and prevent malnutrition in the world’s most vulnerable populations. It was exciting to witness the progress from plans to the grand opening of this amazing facility that helps to save millions of children’s lives each year from right here in Rhode Island.

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Other work highlights included attending the RESULTS conference in Washington, DC for the first time. RESULTS is a grassroots organization that builds momentum to tackle the complex and layered issues contributing to poverty. As a member of the RESULTS Social Media Corps I shared moments from the conference over digital channels highlighting the power to end poverty both at home and abroad through grassroots efforts. The United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Conference was also held in Washington, DC, and in 2016 I spoke as a Champion Leader about shaping the narrative of global health. Both conferences are opportunities for constituents to meet with their representatives on Capitol Hill to advocate for these important issues. A number of World Moms Network editors and contributors met up to attend the Social Good Summit in New York City during United Nations General Assembly week. As Managing Editor of World Moms Network I work with regional editors on each continent to support our global community of mothers and writers, During the same week I was part of a  Twitter Takeover of the GAVI  account along with a team of fellow Shot@Life Champion Leaders, keeping global vaccines front and center in the development conversation.

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By far the most amazing opportunity for me this year was to travel to Haiti where we met Artisan Business Network artisans who create pieces for the Macy’s Heart of Haiti line. This was a dream trip for me where I soaked in a glimpse of the thriving visual arts culture that is everywhere you look. The Heart of Haiti program was launched in response to the devastating 2010 earthquake as a way to help the many talented Haitian artists rebuild through economic recovery. I was deeply touched by the testament to spirit and creativity displayed in the Haitian Artisans whom we were able to meet. I still have so many great stories to write from this trip I can’t wait to share.

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Standing in the spot at the Ciragan Sarayi in Istanbul where we became engaged 20 years ago, Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy & old town Split in Croatia

50th birthday celebrations inspired my husband and I to travel to some incredible destinations in 2016.  Our travels took us to Scotland, Iceland, Italy, Norway, and Turkey. With a growing appreciate for the fact that as our kids get older, our opportunities to travel as a family are dwindling, has also inspired us to take family trips each summer while we can. Last summer the six of us had a fantastic trip to Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia.

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Coffee on the beach and meeting the author of A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James.

I have to include the 2016 Nantucket Book Festival  in my recap.  Aside from Nantucket being one of my favorite places, the book festival is a heavenly event for any reader and writer.

Yes, 2017 has gotten off to a slow start, but attending the Women’s March on Washington last weekend gave me hope. Being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people who, despite our differences, all believe in human decency and basic human rights, made me feel that love will ultimately prevail. Bring it on 2017, I’m fired up!

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What Is A Twitter Takeover ?

What Is A Twitter Takeover ?

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Sounds pretty dramatic, right?!? A Twitter Takeover is kind of dramatic, but it’s not about illegal hacking. A Twitter Takeover is when a brand or organization hands over their twitter account to a new voice to run temporarily. It may be a celebrity, spokesperson, or in our case for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization this week…. a bunch of moms…I mean social media influencers!  Twitter takeovers have become a great way for brands and organizations to increase engagement and reach audience populations they might not already have access to. They nurture a feeling of authenticity, and bring in fresh voices to followers.

That is where our group of writers, digital media producers, travelers, moms, and advocates come in. We deeply believe that all children should have global access to lifesaving vaccines.  I know you are still wondering WHY GAVI would let us takeover the @vaccines twitter account. Collectively between us we have nearly 44,000 followers comprised, in part, of many other moms who also care about child health, but who may not already follow the @vaccines twitter handle. This is an important demographic to reach on the topic of global vaccines because as long as a virus is a threat anywhere in the world, it is a threat to all of us.  We have the vaccines to prevent some of the most threatening diseases, but they only work if they are delivered. Our Twitter Takeover team of UN Foundation Shot@Life Champion Leaders is made up of myself, Nicolette Springer, Nicole Morgan, and Ilina Ewen. We were asked by GAVI to takeover the account to tweet from the Social Good Summit and UNGA, which are both taking place in NYC this week.  Our goal is to help spread the message that Vaccines Work. No mother should lose her child due to a vaccine preventable disease when we have the life saving vaccines available. All children deserve a shot at life. Read the rest of this entry

When Moms + Social Good Come Together

When Moms + Social Good Come Together

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The first week of May I was in New York City for the 4th annual Moms + Social Good conference at the New York Times Center.  When Moms + Social Good come together, great things are bound to happen.  I gathered there with some of my “tribe”, like-minded friends from World Moms Blog, the United Nations Shot@Life campaign, and the Social Good world.  The one day event was hosted by The United Nations Foundation and Johnson & Johnson, with support from BabyCenter, Global Citizen, Fatherly, and Charity Miles. The goal of the Moms + Social event, in honor of Mother’s Day, was to highlight some of the greatest challenges women and children across the globe are facing today.

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The buzz word that came up in almost every panel and topic of conversation, whether the discussion was on the refugee crisis or the importance of global vaccines, was EDUCATION. The importance of education to rise above any circumstance was underlined again and again.

“For refugees we need to focus on quality #education for girls and women.”- Mari Malek

Mari Malek, Model/DJ/Advocate/Founder Stand4Education and former refugee

Mari Malek, Model/DJ/Advocate/Founder Stand4Education and former refugee

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 Save The Children usually conducts a State of the World’s Mother’s Report released around U.S. Mother’s Day, but the surprising statistics on maternal and child health in the USA in last year’s global report (The US ranked number 33 worldwide) inspired the compilation this year of The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight Into The Resilient American Mother instead. The Save The Children special report was especially impactful to us as moms in the USA. The study polled 1000 mothers in the United States of various backgrounds. The findings were surprising.

  • Overall 85% of American mothers polled think that the US is becoming a worse place to raise a child.
  • Despite this alarming finding, almost all moms, also said they are optimistic about their future and their children’s future.
  • 6 in 10 said that the US business culture makes it “nearly impossible” to balance work and family.
  • The top stressors for American moms were bills and expenses.
  • American moms are conflicted whether technology and social media do more good than harm for their children.
  • When it comes to helping kids, American mothers overwhelmingly want the next president to focus on education.

World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden had the opportunity to interview Save The Children CEO Carolyn Miles about the report. (go to World Moms Blog to find the interview soon!)

World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden, interviews Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children at the Moms + SocialGood event in NYC on May 5th, 2016.

World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden, interviews Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children at the Moms + SocialGood event in NYC on May 5th, 2016.

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Gene Gurkoff and Elizabeth Atalay

Gene Gurkoff and Elizabeth Atalay

I first met Gene Gurkoff,, Founder and CEO of Charity Miles, three years ago at Moms + Social Good. Charity Miles is an app that lets you donate to the charity of your choice when you work out, and I’ve been logging in my Charity Miles ever since.  In the mean time it had been exciting to watch his company grow and do more and more good in the world each year.

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US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power led a panel where she spoke about working hard to take out Boko Haram, and the importance of education.  Just last month, Ambassador Powers was in Abuja, Nigeria visiting with the mothers of the Chibok Girls. There, she met fellow World Moms Blog contributor, Aisha Yesufu, at the sit in, and World Moms Blog Founder was excited to get the opportunity to tell her about the connection to Aisha, and our support for the moms in Chibok! 

US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power with Jennifer Burden, Founder and CEO of World Moms Blog, at Moms + SocialGood in NYC May 5th, 2016.

US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power with Jennifer Burden, Founder and CEO of World Moms Blog, at Moms + SocialGood in NYC May 5th, 2016.

 

Ambassador Power a few weeks earlier in Abuja Nigeria side by side with World Mom, Aisha Yesufu! 

2016 Aisha Yesufu and Ambassador Power 600

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As good friend and fellow Shot@Life Champion Leader Ilina Ewen said on her panel, From local to global challenges: Focus on the whole child, “The sisterhood of motherhood is universal”. This is what keeps me coming back to Moms + Social each year. I believe in the power of mothers when we come together for a better future for not jus our own children, but for all the children of the world.

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Photo credit of Aisha and Ambassador Power to Aisha Yesufu.

Looking Back on 2015

Looking Back on 2015

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As the first week of 2016 comes to a close I wanted to take a quick look back to savor the fantastic year that was 2015 before moving on. Last year flew by, full of family, work, and travel, and as excited as I am for upcoming 2016 plans, I want to make sure to take the time to pause and savor the highlights, and small successes of the past year before forging ahead.

2015 was an exciting year of travel. Skiing in Aspen. The Nantucket Book Festival. Yoga in Bali.  It will be tough to top! On our family trip we explored a glacier lake in Iceland and climbed crumbling castles in Ireland.  2016 does have a few exciting destinations on the horizon so far, so we will see!

This past year work fulfilled me and helped me grow. I challenged myself by agreeing to do a “media day” of television and radio interviews at the National Press Club in Washington, DC for the United Nations Foundation. As a Shot@Life Champion advocating for global vaccines I was paired up with Dr. Mkope a Tanzanian Pediatrician to do 22 TV and radio interview with stations from across the USA to highlight World Pneumonia Day. In 2015 I continued to work with local non-profit Edesia, the world’s 2nd largest producer of Plumpy’Nut, an amazing product used to treat malnourished children around the globe, and save the lives of nearly a million kids a year. Some of my photography and writing was included in a book put together by ONE.org that went to the US Congressional representatives to support the Electrify Africa Act which was ultimately passed by congress. As a United Nations 2015 Social Good Fellow I attended the Social Good Summit in New York City for the launch of the new Sustainable Development Goals. As Managing Editor of World Moms Blog I attended the United Nations Correspondents Association Award Gala at Cipriani with Founder Jennifer Burden to accept Senior Editor Purnima Ramakrishnan’s UNCA Award for journalism covering a UN topic on her behalf.

As wonderful as the travel and work accomplishments were this year, the moments with family and close friends are my most cherished every year, and there is nothing like being home, especially after an adventure away. I am so grateful to my husband and the supportive women in my life who cheered me on, and provided the incredible opportunities of the past year, and  I’m excited to see what the New Year brings!

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Social Good Fellowship & #GlobalGoals

Social Good Fellowship & #GlobalGoals

share-globalgoalsI am thrilled to be in New York City as a United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow this week during the historic adoption of the new Sustainable Development Goals by world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly. This opportunity comes through my advocacy efforts with the Shot@Life campaign to help all children around the world get access to life saving vaccines.

This new set of Global Goals continues the mission of the Millennium Development Goals that had been set in the year 2000 and expired this year. The seventeen goals are archingly broad and ambitious, but through the success of the Millennium Development Goals it is clear that with the right dedication, funding, and collaboration true progress can be made. Global poverty and under five mortality were cut in half over the past fifteen years. The world needs to maintain that momentum and learn from mistakes made along the way to do better. We have many of the solutions to pressing issues, often access to those resources is a barrier to the most remote populations. Environmental disasters and man-made conflicts hold back progress, and in many cases erase it. Experts believe that we can reverse damage to the environment if we act swiftly, and avoid worsening and more frequent natural disasters by doing so. Man made conflicts are as old as time, strong positive world leaders need to step in and take charge. When I think of the world working together towards the Sustainable Development Goals I think of Carl Sagan, and The Pale Blue Dot.

The United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellowship is designed to provide Fellows with the latest information on pressing global issues and then explore their intersection with technology. Fellows will have access to leading experts, policymakers, and opinion leaders over the course of the Social Good Fellowship. Fellows will also attend the Social Good Summit which brings together world leaders, experts, grass-roots advocates and new media and technology around creating a better world.

I am looking forward to delving deeper into the Global Goals this week as I learn more through the Social Good Fellowship, and organizations lay out their plans for working towards these goals. I remain hopeful that between today’s leadership and the next generation we will rise to the challenge of achieving these lofty goals, and leave the world a better place for generations to come.

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