New York

During the week of September 18 to 24, New York City hosted an annual Climate Week, which has been taking place since 2009. This year it happened simultaneously with the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly. This event is devoted to debate the scale of global climate action and how to ensure jobs and prosperity for all segments of the society. It attracts attention of the most influential leaders from United States, cities, businesses and non-governmental organizations from all over the world. Various activities have been taking place in the course of the week. One of the most notable events is the Media for Social Impact Conference, which took place at United Nations Headquarters, on 14 September 2017.

The Media for Social Impact Summit took place in New York
The Media for Social Impact Summit took place in New York

The Media for Social Impact Conference 2017 gathered a diverse group of speakers, artists, celebrities and even astronauts. The speakers were, among others, Dan Thomas, Media for Social Impact 2017 Master of the Ceremony, Liba Rubenstein, Social Impact at 21st Century Fox, Christie Marchese, CEO of Picture Motion, Ahmed Musiol, Executive Producer at Wayfarer Entertainment, Jill Cress, CMO at National Geographic Partners and Ariana Stolarz, Global Chief Strategy Officer at MRM/McCann. They took the podium to discuss how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals could be achieved by 2030. Indeed, with 169 targets, the SDGs may be seen as an ambitious agenda. However, most speakers noted that some progress had already been made in the world for reaching these goals.

The Conference focused on ways to move forward in implementing SDGs by encouraging various stakeholders, such as NGOs, Corporations and Media Companies to adopt social good campaigns incorporating the SDGs. Many speakers believed that with sustainable development goals we could re-frame the larger context of our future, the image of which we always have to keep in mind. Many expressed optimism that by 2030 there would be notable improvements in health metrics and innovation in technology, among other fields.

However, the progress achieved so far is uneven. There is a dire need to lift people out of poverty. According to statistics from DoSomething.org, over 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty and subsist on less than $1.25 a day. Furthermore, UNICEF determined that almost 1 billion children worldwide are in poverty and 22,000 children are dying every day due to poverty’s acute negative effects. Providing everyone with sanitary and safe water, clean and affordable energy sources will contribute to attenuating poverty. As Dan Thomas, spokesperson of the UN General Assembly indicated, the resources are available, but we have to be mindful of the planetary limitations that we have while encouraging sustainable consumption. Echoing the main theme of the climate week, many speakers voiced strong concerns about climate change and urged world leaders, states, businesses and private individuals to be actively involved in addressing this major problem.

Perspectives of businesses with regard to SDGs were also discussed. Some participants noted progress that certain businesses have made in contributing to the sustainable development agenda. For example, progress could be seen in relation to industry, innovation, and infrastructure (SDG 9), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), as well as responsible consumption and production (SDG 12). Businesses were urged to inspire customers to engage in social good causes with a view to contributing to sustainable consumption. This could be done through call-to-action in social good campaigns and investments in advertisements focused on social good. The close alignment between business and consumer preferences may be more tangible for the youth subcategory of consumers. The youth segment was noted as particularly influential for the sustainable development agenda. The causes that the brands support, many thought, are important for consumption of the brand’s products by youth.

The conference is devoted to debate global climate action and how to ensure jobs and prosperity for all segments of the society.
The conference is devoted to debate global climate action and how to ensure jobs and prosperity for all segments of the society.

In this context, Jill Cress, CMO of National Geographic, stressed the importance of constantly reinventing and reinvigorating brands. The panel “Documentaries Impacting the World” discussed National Geographic as an example of a brand that has been present for many decades and is most followed in social media. Indeed, more than 60 million people worldwide viewed the documentaries created by National Geographic. These films reinvigorate the brand by telling smart and compellingly bold stories that have strong impact on people. Thus, National Geographic has been able to establish a diverse group of devoted viewers.

Brands are seeking to launch social good campaigns of their own to engage with the world more thoughtfully and more strategically. They do so for the purpose of building up not only larger audiences, but also more receptive and influential ones. The participants of the conference encouraged the audience to speak up to SDGs and connect closer with consumers that increasingly demand social justice. Targeted marketing campaigns, surveys, and polls could be several of the many ways of achieving this improved connection between the consumer and the brand.

Several speakers were of the view that some business models could be re-oriented around health-related qualities of products, as health appears to be one of the themes that resonate with certain audiences in relation to sustainable development goals.

In the panel on digital transformation of social impact, it was noted that a social good campaign should be moving “in the right direction” rather than “in some direction.” Such campaigns could be beyond impressions count and should incorporate concrete decision making based on data analytics. In addition, communication is important in not only achieving commercial success, but also in terms of helping people understand the social good causes that the brand is supporting. This is why comprehensive examining of consumer behavior becomes crucial. Accountability and measurability are both significant for companies to have an influence on their clients.

Partnerships in general are crucial for reaching target audiences to more effectively communicate the stories and see a much larger impact. They help a social media campaign reach a much larger audience than it would have reached independently. Creativity in delivering global issues and creating action around such issues was also stressed at the conference. In this respect, Horyou, the social network for social good, could be seen as a good example for a platform to channel creativity within its members.

Using the platform to amplify musicians’ works was also highlighted. Music can inspire a large and diverse audience to take action for social good. Moreover, art plays a vital role in the story and thus has the capacity to change and shift perspectives. For example, well known singers Aria and Miou along with other famous artists, regularly post about their art pieces for social good on the Horyou website.

Immediate and concrete action on the SDGs was called for. Bringing people together and motivating them around the SDGs is a very important step. For instance, presenting the SDGs in unique and captivating manner was considered useful. The example of using comic books for this purpose was highlighted by Sean Southey, co-founder of Comics Uniting Nations who pointed out that “comics play a significant role because we can reach people in a very engaging way.”

The ultimate goal of the modern society is to prepare the world for the next generation. Dan Thomas in his opening speech said: “It’s all about the future.” Many participants of the Conference explored ways and means to inspire the next generation to adopt the causes that we feel strongly about. All agreed that driving next generation to play an active role in supporting social good was crucial at this time. Leadership is important, both in the family, as well as in the community. Certainly the Media for Social Impact Conference was a very interesting event, and it was worth attending.

Written by Elena Tarrassenko

On 17 of September, I attended the Social Good Summit 2017, which took place at 92 Street Y Club in New York. A diverse group of speakers and performers got together and vividly presented in nearly 40 panels what social good means to society. All of the panels were thought provoking and inspiring. Some put forward incredible performances for a diverse audience, which consisted of acting, singing, cooking and displaying innovative medical devices.

Social Good Summit 2017
Social Good Summit 2017

I particularly enjoyed Erika Ender’s panel called “A Conversation with Erika Ender.” Erika Ender, a famous singer and songwriter is from Panama. She performed several songs in an inspirational show. One of the strong messages of her truly moving songs was about young people growing up in modern society and needing more support and better opportunities to become productive members of society.

Madame Gandhi, a singer, activist from Los Angeles, as well as graduate from Harvard Business School, put on a video aimed at inspiring various segments of the society, especially young people, to work for social good, to which she dedicated her entire career. Madame Gandhi expressed the strong belief that social media is one of the most powerful tools to be used to motivate people to work towards achieving the U.N. sustainable development goals.

Benj Pasek, an American songwriter and composer pointed out that music can be a tremendously influential force in the society. He is a strong believer that music helps people of all ages, and the youth in particular is strongly influenced by music. Similarly, art can be very powerful in leading the young generation. Aaron Huey, National Geographic photographer stated that art is more than beauty and decoration. According to him, art can be a weapon and a shield, and it can be used as a compass for children, guiding them into the future.

The importance of the focus of the society on youth resonated throughout this incredibly moving and artistic gathering. Notably, according to the UN studies the youth group of age 15-24 was portrayed as key in terms of their potential to make a difference for the world and its future and help the world achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It is interesting to note that the Social Good Summit in New York was echoing concerns that were expressed at the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum organized by Horyou, the social network for social good, in Astana, Kazakhstan on 5-7 September 2017. At SIGEF 2017, Yonathan Parienti, CEO of Horyou pointed out: “we live in a world of exacerbated consumption at all levels that is seriously hindering the implementation of critical sustainable development goals. SIGEF 2017, is set to explore, define and share new ideas that advance social innovation and social good for a sustainable growth for all. It is clear that the involvement of the younger generation, that everywhere is acting for change, alongside stakeholders of all ages, is a positive indication that we are moving forward in the right direction of shaping better times to come.”

Many speakers at the Summit in New York echoed this positive message. No doubt, the youth can become truly productive members of the society if society invests in their education. Education for youth was one of the key themes in the Summit.

The statistics in relation to education worldwide demand urgent action. Statistics are one of the important indicators of progress highlighted in SDG 4, Education. According to statistics shared at Social Good Summit, half of the young people in the primary school age group regrettably are not in primary school, and nearly ¾ of youth in the secondary school age group are not in secondary school. In order to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030, there is an acute need for urgent action. At the Summit, youth was portrayed as being key innovators to drive forward new products and designs. This age group is often receptive to and friendly with new technologies and trends. Hence, youth can influence United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

Certainly, young people are significant in terms of influencing businesses. They look to companies for the latest trends, and companies, in turn, look to influence youth. Many speakers noted progress in achieving the sustainable development goals for businesses. The great majority of youth seem to care about the causes the business is supporting. Young people are also key drivers of innovation.

Youth may even be able to influence economic growth by becoming loyalty customers, long-term customers to the various brands. This will help shape the formation of businesses in terms of their demand patterns and various preferences in product selection. Customers who value the brand for the causes it stands for are likely to be both early adopters of new products, as well as loyalty customers, as they feel connection with the brand. As such, they will be a driving force behind the brands and thus contribute to both industry and economic growth, foreseen by SDG 9 and SDG 8, respectively.

Many speakers expressed strong views that to achieve the sustainable development goals youth and other sectors of society need proper housing, food, and affordable health care services. In regards to proper housing, SDG 11, it was pointed out that nearly 15 million children are currently on the move and lack permanent housing means. Being often on the move makes it difficult for them to complete school.

Poverty concerns figured highly on the agenda at the Summit. According to statistics shared at the meeting, while overall poverty levels have declined since 1990, a substantial part of the world still lives on less than 1 dollar per day. In this connection, many participants stressed substantial ongoing hunger in the world, while there is also a lot of food waste. This food could potentially be distributed among those who are in need in inexpensive and effective ways. One speaker expressed a particular view that billions of dollars can be made by alleviating hunger and providing other sustainability resources to people in acute poverty.

In regards to inadequate access to sustainable energy sources, it was stressed that twenty percent of people worldwide do not have access to electricity at all.

There is no affordable healthcare in many parts of the world. More than 400 million people still lack access to healthcare worldwide. This problem is substantial. Whoopi Goldberg eloquently stressed the particular problem of having people turned away from hospitals when they are ill. Some were in favor of universal healthcare coverage, as is the case in many countries, and argued that it would allow for more affordable healthcare.

Global warming was also stressed. Many urged to take proactive action on this important issue. While some highlighted that solutions have been constantly put off, others were alarmed that even one degree of warming is significant.

All agreed that it is important to give people a sense of worth through education, jobs, poverty reduction and access to various energy sources, pursuant to relevant Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The Social Good Summit is an event that happens annually, and it is worthwhile attending it.

Written by Elena Tarrassenko

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. Horyou is also the host of SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, taking place in Astana, Kazakhstan during the EXPO 2017, from 5-7 September. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Xurus1

Horyou had the opportunity of sitting down with Nilou Safinya, VP of Customer Service at Xurus, a small family-run luxury wine business with a vineyard located in Lake County, CA. “My father [Kambiz Safinya] and uncle [Ali Namdar] started the company back in 1999 when they planted the first grape,” Safinya said. “Initially they sold grapes to other winemakers, then in 2007 they began to make their own wine.” According to Safinya, her father and her uncle had always wanted to work together, and wine is something they are both passionate about. So together, they decided to create Xurus.

Xurus2_small

In Zoroastrian philosophy, the creator’s energy is represented by fire and the sun, both enduring, radiant and life-sustaining. The rooster, or xurus (pronounced ‘khoo-roos’), was the companion of the angel that guarded humankind at night. The xurus’ crowing signaled the transition from the evil of darkness to the goodness of daylight. As early as 3000 BCE, this time of day was celebrated with a morning cup of wine poured from a rooster-shaped pitcher.

The name and label of Xurus Wine celebrate centuries of elegance, art, culture and joie de vivre. The dual roosters in its logo signify the close relationship and collaboration of the two founders.

The vineyard is managed using sustainable practices to preserve the environment in which it is located. Native plant growth is controlled between the rows of grapes with a no-till practice and scheduled mowing. Fruit thinning occurs early in the growing season, leaving only the finest clusters to ripen through the summer. “The fermentation is based on the Bordeaux style of winemaking, which means the sulfites used are natural and not made in chemical factories,” Safinya said. “There is much attention to detail and quality, to the extent that each grape is hand selected.”

Xurus4

The family has always endorsed social-good and displays a commitment to charity work. “My father is a businessman and a physicist. He is quite a unique person in that he also has artistic inclinations,” she said. “My uncle shares the same dual passion as a writer and a businessman. They are both appreciators of all arts and culture. As a family we are very socially conscious, always aware of social challenges and try do our part in supporting charities.” This past May, Xurus was a partner at the Horyou Foundation Gala during Horyou Village at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. “The idea of participating in a charity gala was something my father was very interested in,” Safinya stated. As Xurus grows, they hope to increase their ability to continue donating their products to charities and social-good causes, events and fundraisers.

Xurus_wine-set

Horyou asked Safinya for her opinion on the importance of company commitment to social good. She explained: “In an ideal world, most companies would have a social-good component in their structure. How people and companies give can be different based on the industry, the commodity and the capacity. Whether it’s through financial giving, in-kind donations, socially-conscience business and hiring practices or active engagement with the broader global environment – I do think we each should do our part in being socially responsible for the greater good.”

By ToniMarie Illuzzi

    Michèle and Michel Auer

    Written by Cintia Pino. English article can be read here.

    En passant par Versoix en bordure de Genève, la nouvelle galerie “Boléro” située à proximité immédiate de la gare nous accueille avec l’exposition “Les trésors de la Fondation Auer pour la photographie.”

    Les deux monuments de la photo que sont Michèle et Michel Auer accueillaient les gens à coups de petits fours dans une ambiance conviviale. Cette exposition est en place jusqu’au 7 juin et présente l’histoire de la photographie dès 1839 à nos jours, à travers les plus grands trésors de la Fondation qui comprennent des appareils et des tirages originaux de photographes historiques et contemporains.

    La Fondation Auer a pour objet de conserver et promouvoir la collection existante, de faire des expositions, d’acquérir objets et œuvres photographiques, de mettre à jour et de diffuser l’Encyclopédie Internationale des Photographes. Ils éditent des ouvrages contribuant à une meilleure connaissance de la photographie, diffusent l’œuvre de jeunes artistes, d’artistes oubliés ou méconnus, et organisent des stages ou des workshops, accueillent des chercheurs, artistes, élèves et stagiaires.

    À Hermance tous reconnaissent le plus haut toit du village, la Fondation. C’est là qu’un magnifique travail d’archivage, conservation et répertoriage prends place, durant 4 expositions chaque année. Du à la dimension incalculable de la précieuse collection entretenue par Michèle et Michel Auer, elle n’a jamais pu être exposée intégralement d’un coup, mais au Boléro nous trouvons des petites perles bien représentatives de son patrimoine.

    La prochaine exposition, “Louis Stettner, 40 ans d’amitié Paris New-York,” débutera le 30 mai à Hermance, un jour qui marque aussi l’anniversaire de notre amphitryon, le gourmand de la photo, Michel Auer. Chaque exposition fait naître un carnet avec les tirages du photographe concerné, des chefs-d’œuvre susceptible de collection qui en sont à ce jour à leur douzième volume.

    A la suite du SIGEF 2014 et l’exposition « Les Peuples du Monde », Horyou et la Fondation Auer se sont rapprochés. Si Horyou n’est pas spécialisé en soi dans le monde de la photographie, elle reste un sujet d’une universalité sans concessions. C’est un sujet universel, reflet de diversité et issu d’une fascination générale pour la représentation de l’existence, rien que cela. En plus de refléter l’histoire, transmettre des émotions, immortaliser un moment, la photographie amuse aussi. Comme témoin de notre existence elle peut montrer la réalité ou bien la distordre, mais sans nul doute qu’elle concerne tout le monde.

    Horyou Documentary Screening

    A REFLECTION:

    “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” -Kofi Annan

    ACTIONS: Recently, the Horyou team started a new initiative in the United States by visiting universities in New York and California. The first school visited was the Tisch School of The Arts at NYU, followed by Chapman University and the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California (downtown LA and Orange County). It was very rewarding to experience the understanding and enthusiasm of students regarding the importance of social networking with a purpose.

    California Presentation

    We had the opportunity to discuss and share different views on the use of social media in todays modern World. Questions such as: How can the creation of positive content facilitate the process of social commitment via social networking? To what extent is social networking creating a positive impact in society, locally and globally? Students were diving in! They shared their thoughts and aspirations, but they also discussed the challenges and opportunities ahead when using technology for good.

    THE FUTURE: The sharing of knowledge, exchanging of ideas, conversation starting, and the promotion of social good are a fundamental part of what Horyou promotes. In the coming year, Horyou is planning to explore the world of academia by sparking innovative conversations among students and youth regarding social networking with a purpose, when applied to a cross-cultural setting in different fields of expertise.

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    Each presentation aims to explore this concept, while creating space for open discussions and the exchange of ideas, creativity, and much more. Horyou wants to encourage younger generations, to become involved with technology in constructive ways, while promoting and reciprocating knowledge and sharing ideas.

    MORE TO COME!

    Horyou considers this initiative a valuable exchange. Therefore, the team will continue on a global sphere, bringing social networking with a purpose to the classroom. More news to come!

    Horyou Screening California

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