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Social Good Summit 2014 Inspired Me

At the start of this week I was fortunate to attend the 2014 Social Good Summit in New York City. Held at the 92|Y in partnership with Mashable, the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Social Good Summit is a two-day global conversation on how we are using social media and technology to change some of the world’s dire emergencies.

This year’s theme was #2030now and basically asked the global community one thought-provoking question: In a global digital landscape that focuses on the now, where do we want to be by 2030 and how can social media help the global community reach its goals, such as ending poverty by 2030.

This year’s intense two-day summit covered a broad range of the most urgent challenges such as climate change, poverty, women’s rights and education, and pulls together some of the most influential thinkers and global change-makers in the world. I got to hear such incredible visionaries such as Melinda Gates, Pharrell Williams, former US President Jimmy Carter, Nicholas Kristoff, Dr. Jim Yong Kim and more. In addition, the global reach of the Social Good Summit was huge: It was livestreamed worldwide, translated into seven languages and  people around hosted international Social Good Summits with physical gatherings in more than 70 countries making it truly a global event.

For me, it was the first time that I attended the Social Good Summit and it proved life-changing, inspiring and overwhelming. I learned so so much and became inspired over the past few days that it is going to take me quite awhile to process all the information I gleaned from all the panels.

I wanted to share a few highlights of the Summit below and look forward to sharing more stories over the next couple of days on my blog.  Highlights of the Summit includ my first visit to the United Nations Foundation offices in NYC where I got to listen and meet the amazing Chris Whatley, attending an intimate roundtable discussion hosted by the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) on the crisis of maternal and infant mortality, and meeting online social good bloggers, fellows and friends.

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Some things I gleaned from the Summit:

  • The power of this generation’s voice via engaging social media platforms can make change. This, in itself, inspires and encourages me to take on these causes by continuing to cover social good stories.
  • “The key to all social movements is allies.” – Roxanne Rahnama, Student Activist
  • For the first time in human history there is hope of eradicating poverty across the globe. A pretty impressive and proud moment in the midst of ongoing question of progress.
  • Climate change is a literal hot topic, think “Winter is Coming” and all have to do our part and listen to what Nature is trying to tell us!

The Summit made me realize that there is hope for our future: The panel with Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, authors of Half the Sky, spoke about their new book, A Path Appears and about how their new work attempts to identify ways in which we can “spread opportunity” through well-targeted, intelligent one-on-one settings. They learned that researchers have identified early-life interventions targeted at infants and toddlers as having potential extraordinary impact, such as encouraging parents to talk and read to their children, the push for universal pre-K, improving access to primary health care for underprivileged new and expectant mothers and at-risk young children. I believe all the research points towards how more and more do-gooders are relying on trust-worthy specifics and hard evidence to describe, create and implement successful results. I left feeling inspired that someday the world will be a better and more equitable place for all.

Favorite Quotes/Tweets from Social Good Summit that inspired me:

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