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Missed the Social Good Summit, NY? Catch Our First Hand Coverage

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Editors Note – This is a guest post by Becky who is a nonprofit communications specialist and blogger.

The dust has now settled after Mashable’s Social Good Summit in New York last week, which united “a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: the power of innovative thinking and technology to solve our greatest challenges.” It was a star-studded affair, with speakers including former model, Christy Turlington Burns, actress Geena Davis, Lance Armstrong, singer Mandi Moore, and even a surprise appearance by Richard Gere. What do we all have in common? A commitment towards social causes and an interest in new technologies (except for Gere, who claimed to be a Luddite). You can still watch the recorded livestream too!

Having been immersed in the development sector for around six years, much of the information around the challenges of meeting the UN’s Millenium Development Goals was not new to me, but I was happy the issues were getting such great publicity.

Women’s issues got a lot of recognition, from Christy Turlington Burns & Heather Armstrong (Dooce) pushing for better maternal healthcare with Every Mother Counts, to Geena Davis’s Institute on Gender in Media which aims to increase awareness about the negative representations of women in film, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mary Robinson—the “Elders”—speaking against child marriage and promoting their new initiative, Girls Not Brides.

The influence of youth was another major area covered, which was fitting but unexpected. It makes sense that since these new “digital natives” are so tech savvy, they’re using it towards social good, but I hadn’t personally come across many examples before since I suppose I almost fit into this demographic myself. It’s a great twist to the normal power equation, where younger people are teaching others; as is the case with One Laptop per Child, some children are even teaching their parents how to read. Monique from GimmeMo said it beautifully, “You can do it all, you don’t have to choose between success and social good. You can contribute as you’re growing. Humanitarianism will find you!” Some orgs worth checking out in this field are One Young World and DoSomething.

The “Start-ups for Good Challenge” on the last day was a welcome change from the previous sessions, and it was an opportunity to hear about many burgeoning initiatives. It was especially nice to hear more about the small steps being taken towards tackling the big issues. Eight startups using technology to change the world pitched to a panel of experts, and the winner of the coveted $10,000 was an awesome 19 year-old brainiac, Eden, and her Sun Saluter solar panel rotation technology.

There were so many issues covered that by the end it all became a bit of a blur. Since the audience were among the most socially-connected globally, there were countless calls-to-action and pleas for tweets and mentions.

There are many ways to prescribe happiness but there is one way that is available to everybody, it’s not very expensive … it’s very democratic, and everyone has acess to it. It is: Find someone who needs help and help him for no ulterior motive. — Yossi Vardi, Entrepreneur

Were you there, or did you watch? Please share your impressions in the comments!

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    Becky Band Jain
    Becky is a communications specialist and digital storyteller who works with international organizations like the United Nations and Video Volunteers.