Social Activism's Digital Revolution: UNDP, Gates Foundation co-host 2013 Social Good Summit

22 Sep 2013

image Mr. Patrick Haverman, Deputy Country Director of UNDP China said in the opening remarks that "As digital audiences multiply across global outlets, so will societal dialogue on all levels".

UNDP and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today closed the China chapter of the 2013 Social Good Summit with an interactive theme of “Youth + Technology”, which engaged the public in idea-sharing via social media.

Part of a global set of conferences convened during UN Week, the Summit will gather innovators from the worlds of technology, philanthropy, and social activism to share ideas and address how new media can be used to make the world a better place.

This year’s Summit in China is being held alongside the China Charity Fair to promote cooperation and communication between local and international nonprofit organizations. Individuals who have made positive contributions to the social good will be honored during the event, followed by multiple creative sessions and a keynote speech given by representatives from major foundations.

“With this opportunity, UNDP is leading construction of a forum for the open exchange of ideas that can help organizations on all levels learn and continue to build environmentally sustainable growth models,” said Patrick Haverman, Deputy Country Director of UNDP China, who presented opening remarks.

“The Social Good Summit provides a global conversation platform, bringing together social activists, development workers, forward-thinking technologists, young entrepreneurs and the wider public to share ideas on how to tackle global development problems,” said Sebastian Majewski, Senior Communication Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Responding to the question “how new technology create solutions for my community,” the hugely successful 2012 Summit saw 379 cities across the globe participate in their own ways and also marked China’s first time hosting. Influential figures in attendance included the likes of Mr. Jet Li, founder of One Foundation, Kate James, Chief Communications Officer at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Renata Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in China.

The 2013 conference focused on investigating the role of youth as current and future leaders and innovators. China’s own “Youth + Technology” tagline acted as an extension of the Summit’s global theme #2030NOW, created to lead idea-generation on how digital tools can be used to effect major social change by 2030.

To support the global and China themes, the Summit in Shenzhen included three phases: Innovation and Charity, Business Responsibility in Civil Society, and Social Governance.

Also in line with these themes, UNDP China engaged with users on Weibo and WeChat a week prior to opening day and collected over 150 audience responses to the question: “youth + technology = a __________world.” Ten winning participants were invited to attend the Summit as public representatives.

Interactive, social-media based activities continued throughout the three-day conference to emphasize the importance of public contribution in building a better society.