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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.


The Social Good Summit in NYC 2013 #2030NOW

The Social Good Summit in NYC 2013 #2030NOW

Elizabeth Atalay at Social Good Summit 2013

 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.

Elizabeth Atalay w/ World Moms Blog Crew

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.Elizabeth Atalay at theRun 10 Feed10

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.

#2030 Now

Jessica O. Mathews, Marcus Bleasdale, and Sir Richard Branson

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.

LtoR: WMB Tanzania contributor Nancy Sumari, Carolyn Miles CEO of Save the Children, Nicole Melancon Third Eye Mom, Jennifer Barbour Another Jennifer, the author, Phil Carroll  of Save the Children

LtoR: WMB Tanzania contributor Nancy Sumari, Carolyn Miles CEO of Save the Children, Nicole Melancon of Third Eye Mom, Jennifer Barbour of Another Jennifer, the author & Phil Carroll Save the Children Media & Communications