Last night I returned home after attending my third Social Good Summit in New York City, this year as a United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow. The Social Good Summit is a unique convening of world leaders, new media and technology experts, grassroots activists and voices from around the world that come together for a two-day conference coinciding with the United Nations General Assembly meeting held during UN Week.
“Social media is one of the most powerful tools in creating social change” ~ #JimmyCarter #2030Now
The theme of this year’s summit – #2030NOW: Connecting for Good, Connecting for All – challenged speakers, participants and a growing worldwide community to explore how technology and new media can be leveraged to benefit people everywhere, to spark discussion and ignite change in creating a better world for all by the year 2030.
This year’s conversation #2030NOW centered around one critical thought: Where do we want to be in 2030 and how can we inspire and engage the millennials of the world to stand up, use their voice, and disrupt the system to demand change. #2030NOW challenged people to deeply reflect and act upon critical issues – such as climate change, women and girls empowerment, gender and racial equality, eradication of poverty, improving maternal and child health, and promoting peace – that are threatening to destroy the world we want to have by 2030. It was a powerful summit reminding us that as we are approaching the end of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) how are we going to continue to pressure our global leaders to be held accountable for and make positive change. How we going to ensure that the world in 2030 is the world we want to have.
So where do we want to be in 2030? What kind of world do we want to live in? Here are some of the most powerful conversations and quotes from #2030 that inspire us to act.
“Behind each of the 50 million people displaced, there is a human story.” #2030NOW @Refugees Chief Antonio Guterres
“A Refuge is not a number. Today there are more than 50 million, the highest number in history. It is easy to get numb with the numbers”. @Refugees Chief Antonio Guterres
“Most important thing we can do is show tolerance. Diversity is a richness not a problem. All societies are much better with different perspectives and cultures. We need to look into movement of people as a positive thing in society.” @Refugees Chief Antonio Guterres
“There has been a renewed effort to stifle education here and around world”. #2030NOW @mroth78
“Education can be threatening when it produces empowerment. It threatens the status quo”. @mroth78
“Why are people so afraid of education? Because it is through education that we can change the world” @mroth78
“We don’t go to college to learn to do well on test. We should go to college to set our hearts aflame!” @mroth78
“Gender discrimination is the most tolerated violation of rights on earth today.” – @phumzileunwomen #2030NOW
“Achieving social good means that the poor must no longer face these challenges in isolation” – Former President Jimmy Carter #2030NOW
“I took the journey to the darkest parts of human nature. Message is that it is possible to be in a place where you can reconcile and have peace in the world”. #BeyondRightandWrong.com
“If you take the hard numbers, then science is clearly telling us that we’re running out of time.” – Achim Steiner #climatechange #2030NOW
“Women with a laptop are more powerful than men with a gun.” @WorldPulse #2030NOW
“You don’t judge a society by how you treat the rich. You judge a society
by how you treat the poor and the condemned.” #2030Now #WeAreHere
“For 1st time in history 1 in 3 black men born in America today is projected to be incarcerated at some point in his life” #WeAreHere #2030NOW
“Social media isn’t just clicking when you like something, it’s contesting when you don’t”. #2030now .@stengel
“The narrowing of freedom of speech is happening all over the world.”
“I want to make incredible change for women and girls in my lifetime, but it’s going to take all of us to do it.” – MelindaGates #2030Now
“At this rate, by 2030 we could virtually eliminate extreme poverty, needless child death and offer everyone a shot at a good, dignified life that doesn’t jeopardize future generations. In 2030 we could live in one of two worlds. Which do we want? Our action in 2015 decides 2030”. – Jamie Drummond, Co-Founder of ONE.org
Some of the most inspiring moments that touched my soul
Singer Alicia Keys speech and presentation where she launched her movement and charity #WeAreHere. Alicia Keys thought about why we are here and what kind of world we want for our future. Her inspiring speech ended with a live performance of “We Are Here” and brought tears to my eyes.
Below is Alicia Keys unbelievably moving speech about the “We Are Here” Movement. Her speech is 35 minutes long but it is like a TED Talk and highly inspiring and worth your time to watch.
Alicia’s live presentation at the Summit:
Listening to Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates is one of the most amazing philanthropists of all time and hearing her speak about her passion and commitment to changing the world was amazing.
Meeting Adepeju Jaiyeoba, a young Nigerian activist and human rights attorney who decided to change the lives of women and children in her country by creating a safe birth kit after her friend died during childbirth. Per Adepeju, every woman in Nigeria knows a woman who has died during childbirth. When a woman survives childbirth, she celebrates. When her child survives his or her first year, there is hope. Over lunch, she had all of us crying as we could feel her pain and sadness.
The overall theme that by 2030 we can decide the world we want to live in. That by empowering the youth who by 2030 will make up over half the world’s population by 2030 will inspire the next generation to lead.
It is important to ask yourself why you are here and what world you would like to see by 2030.
One like this?
Or one like this?
It is up to us.
I want to thank you for your interesting and thorough blog. As someone who would have loved to attend such a summit, your update is greatly appreciated. I would like to inquire about the number of “millennials” actually in attendance at the summit. The speaker list is stacked with inspirational people who have done, and continue to do, wonderful things in the world, yet very few of them are students or young activists. The conversation of what we want the world to look like in 2030 is one that we must have. Yet, I wonder if instead of asking how to engage millennials, it would be better to bring them straight to the table. As a millennial myself who is pursuing a future in improving women’s health and well being, I am constantly questioning what the world will look like in the future. I am wondering how to bring my generation together for global development in the same way we came together for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. And I also know that there are other young adults like myself who are working daily to show that our generation is not defined by laziness. I do not want to claim that I represent an entire generation, but I know that there are many millennials like myself that want to join you in the conversation about all of our futures.
Once again, thank you for your always interesting blog, and I look forward to more updates in the future.
Thanks so much for the comment! Great question too. Actually I felt like the “old lady” at the conference compared to all the young 20-30 years olds that were there! At 42, I am much older than the hundreds of young people that were attending and on twitter tweeting things out. We actually did have quite a few young people present. The list online was not complete as it was just a draft and usually there were about 4-5 people speaking during a session. So it is too bad the list is not complete as I was amazed at what some of these young citizens of the world are doing! Wow! There are so many ways you can get involved. Attending the summit is one, engaging in social media is another great way, and the UN Foundation also has lots of fellowships for young people too. We had some roundtables with the young citizens who are changing the world already through blogging and social media campaigns. If you want further details I can also go through my notes and send you directly some of the young leaders who are doing amazing things! For instance, the young man in charge of the Poverty Project just organized the huge Global Citizen event in NYC and he did this all on his own. Extremely inspiring! Let me know. I’d be happy to help!
Thank you so much for your response. It is incredibly encouraging to hear your perspective, and to know that there was an effort to make many voices heard. It sounds like a wonderful experience. Also, thank you for all the suggestions, and I will be sure to look into them in the future. I am always interested in opportunities that focus on women’s health and well-being, and would love to hear about what was discussed on that topic. I know you are a busy woman, so thank you for your time and if I ever have the opportunity I would love to talk to you further about your work as well.
PS: As a fellow UW alum…Go Badgers!
You should check out the blog “Girls Globe”. It is fabulous and all on girls and women. Also, you can join and follow ONE.org who recently launched a women’s and girls movement. I’m going to another conference they are hosting next month. There is so much out there and so much you can do! So get inspired! We need more people like you and I trying to change things! 🙂
A “Social Good Summit”, how absolutely refreshing 🙂
Yes, it is amazing and the highlight of my year in blogging!
Another memorable experience to add to your advocacy as well as build knowledge and networks.
Yes indeed. I was there during the huge Climate Walk too. I didn’t get to attend but we were talking about it. It was so exciting to be there.
You have left us with some powerful words and images to contemplate Nicole. Thank you for this moving post.
That sounds so interesting. Thanks for sharing it. Appreciate it!
It was amazing! 🙂
A great initiative, Nicole. Your starkly contrasting images are very powerful. I wish Adepeju Jaiyeoba much success in her noble endeavours.
Thanks! It was an amazing time. I always leave feeling so incredibly inspired. More inspired even than traveling which is huge.
I want to help