The Social Good Summit is a two-day conference examining the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world. Held during UN Week from September 21-22, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders and grassroots activists to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time. Our theme, #2030NOW, asks the question, “What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?” During the Social Good Summit, global citizens around the world unite to unlock the potential of technology to make the world a better place.
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Social Good Summit 2013 Highlights:
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10 Powerful Lessons from the 2013 Social Good Summit
An end to AIDS, an epidemic that has killed 35 million, is logistically possible within our lifetime, experts explained at the Summit. Activists and researchers are working especially hard in Sub-Saharan Africa, home to 69% of the world's AIDS patients, where they've brought treatment and education to the people.
British photographer Marcus Bleasdale, who has been photographing violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1999, discussed conflict minerals, such as gold and diamonds, that are responsible for some of the region's worst conflicts. Three other conflict minerals — tantalum, tungsten and tin — are used to make electronics, such as laptops and cameras.
Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire entrepreneur behind space traveling pioneer Virgin Galactic, said commercial space travel could be available as early as next year. At $250,000, the first tickets aren't cheap, but they provide an important initial step toward more commonplace above-Earth travel.
4. Taliban victim Malala Yousafzai continues to rally for education, less than a year after she was attacked.
In October 2012, The Taliban targeted schoolgirl and blogger Malala Yousafzai because she was outspoken about girls' rights. Less than a year after being shot, she rallied for education at the Summit, explaining that every child has a right to education.
When he was 15 years old, Jack Andraka developed a new, smarter test to detect pancreaticcancer. Now, he wants to help other budding researchers by advocating for more accessible scientific articles and research. Fees make knowledge become a privilege for the elite, he said.
Big data is a powerful tool governments and organizations can use for social good, but some datasets are so large, they may create challenges to privacy. To protect individuals' rights and strike a balance between big data and Internet freedom, protection principals must be adopted, explained Robert Kirkpatrick, the director of the U.N.'s Global Pulse data initiative.
Space and the ocean, both ripe for exploration, are duking it out for the right to be called the real final frontier. At the Summit, Dr. Paul Bunje, senior director of prize development and ocean health at the XPRIZE Foundation, and Alexandra Hall, senior director of Google Lunar XPRIZE, debated which research opportunity deserves more attention.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women, explained that both men and women can use social media to bring an end to violence against women. Discussing the topic shines a light on the issue and helps educate people through technology, she said.
The U.N. Foundation's mPowering Action app is making social good accessible to smartphone owners. With a target demographic of people under the age of 25, the app allows users to search a database of non-profit organizations and share ways they're making a difference.
Malaria No More, an organization working to end the disease, is seeking solutions through an unexpected medium: cell phones. The group collects $1 text message donations and uses them to fund life-saving malaria tests and treatments for African children.