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GoodxGlobal Ignites Discussion About Utilizing New Media and Technology for Social Good at SxSWi

     
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Sophia Bush challenges Millennials to speak out about the issues they care most about at GoodxGlobal. Photo courtesy of @GoodxGlobal

On March 10, World Food Program USA, United Nations Foundation and Social Good Summit Austin hosted a day of programmed discussions, talks, breakout sessions and mentoring at Austin’s City Hall. This day, dubbed “GoodxGlobal” took place during SxSW, the wildly popular, annual music, film and interactive festival held in Austin. We recently caught up with Aaron Sherinian, VP for Communications and Public Relations for the United Nations Foundation and asked him a few questions about the event.

As we go forward, we’d love to hear from the TwitChange community. Where are you seeing new media and technology making a difference in your community? And what can we be doing to help bring those solutions to light on the global stage?

What is the inspiration behind GoodxGlobal? Why this event? Why SXSW?

The idea for the event really came from two different directions.

Last year, during the Social Good Summit in September, nearly 300 communities around the world met up around the promise of new media and technology for social good.

The team that organized around the Social Good Summit in Austin was a big part of that dialogue has been working together ever since. They approached us with the idea of hosting an event around SxSWi (South by Southwest Interactive).

At the same time, our friends at the World Food Program USA were working with Kenyan nonprofit tech company Ushahidi on SXSW programming focused on how tech was helping solve issues like hunger in new ways, with an eye towards bringing established NGOs together with social entrepreneurs and increasing representation from developing country innovators at the conference. The two teams worked together to develop and produce GoodxGlobal.

The Social Good Summit partners have been thinking a lot about how to lead conversations in this way around important gatherings.  We are building opportunities for what some people call “constructive disruption” that match influencers, big ideas and new technology together — so this collaboration naturally captured our imagination.  How can we provide the global social good community with access to events and conversations they might not otherwise be privy to? And how can we ensure global perspectives are reflected within those conversations?  These were key questions that came together in Austin around GoodxGlobal.

SxSWi helps sets the new, next tech agenda each year around innovation and big thinking. With GoodxGlobal, the organizing teams had the opportunity to shine a light on how technology can serve as a powerful tool in addressing critical world issues and bring together social entrepreneurs, innovators from Africa and South America and Silicon Valley/Silicon Alley players.

What was the turnout/impact of the day of events?

There was a terrific turnout, with nearly 500 people registering for the event, and more than 2,000 tuning in via live stream, and over 20,000 viewing sessions on demand. Over 3,500 comments online during the talks and panels helped bring the dialogue outside the walls of the event into the community that follows these issues and is driving innovation.

It’s not to late to watch GoodxGlobal online. Check out the recorded event in this video

Beyond the event itself, each of the teams also forged important connections with the local and global communities.  In Austin, the team has launched a program to help reduce carbon emissions in their region, and will be working with local leaders and constituency members to help identify what they take on next.

The GoodxGlobal Tech Fellows from Africa and South America not only presented their remarkable work during the event, they also were able to then attend SXSWi and build new relationships to support their work.  Representing organizations doing everything from mFarm’s support of small scale farmers to recent Kenyan election monitoring by Ushahidi, to groups like Frontline SMS using mobile to help respond in times of crisis and Matternet, which is using drones to deliver critical humanitarian supplies and medicine in some of the toughest terrain, it was a very impressive group.

Are there future similar events planned for the future?

Yes. The connections we’ve seen come out of GoodxGlobal, and our earlier engagements with Social Good Brazil and around the World Economic Forum in Davos have demonstrated the appetite for this kind of global conversation, and energy behind building a global community that engages regularly around these issues. We’re working with social good communities around the world to take this concept to scale.

We’re collaborating with the team at Women Deliver to bring new voices and new audiences to their upcoming conference in Kuala Lumpur,  and are exploring other opportunities where the social good community can play an important role in helping to shape the global agenda.

Watch for more details as we build tools and opportunities for engagement that connect innovators, leaders, decision-makers and influencers around Social Good.

We’ve also begun planning for the next Social Good Summit this September, and are getting great guidance and inspiration from organizers like the teams in Austin and in Brazil, and partners like World Food Program and developing country innovators on how we can take this model even further in 2013.

GoodxGlobal was a truly community-led, collaborative event, and it was inspiring to see global and local organizers come together to bring global issues and a conversation about Social Good to the SxSWi community.

As we go forward, we’d love to hear from the TwitChange community. Where are you seeing new media and technology making a difference in your community? And what can we be doing to help bring those solutions to light on the global stage?

Follow @GoodxGlobal on Twitter
Follow @UNFoundation on Twitter
Like United Nations Foundation on Facebook
Follow @SocialGoodATX on Twitter
Like Social Good Summit Austin on Facebook
Follow @WFPUSA on Twitter
Like World Food Program USA on Facebook
Follow @Ushahidi on Twitter
Like Ushahidi on Facebook
Follow @MFarm_KE on Twitter
Like M-Farm on Facebook
Follow @FrontlineSMS on Twitter
Like FrontlineSMSon Facebook

Melody Harstine Foster

Written by

I'm a freelance writer with a penchant for Pugs and a portfolio of articles from tech to beauty and beyond. A communicator at heart, my true passion is covering issues promoting positive change in our world. Connect with me on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, or at melodyharstine.com.