Peoples Voices at the World Education Forum


For the past two and a half years, the United Nations has asked people around the world to tell them what matters most to their lives. Thus far, 4.9 million of the 7.5 million people who voted in the MY World Global Survey have chosen “A better education”. This trend is true regardless of age, gender, education level and is similar across most countries in the world.

Anthony Lake, Executive Director UNICEF
Anthony Lake, Executive Director UNICEF

From May 18-21, we partnered with UNICEF in the production of an exhibit to amplify the voices of people around the world at the 2015 World Education Forum in Incheon, South Korea. The forum, co-convened by UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR & UN Women, brought together stakeholders from all sectors to look at achievements and shortfalls from the Millennium Development Goals and the Education for All targets. Participants agreed on the Incheon Declaration which sets out a renewed vision in education, one that aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.

The exhibit featured data visualizations on the importance of education for people around the world, such as the MY World datasetMY World priority heat mapUN Global Pulse MY World Twitter mappingWorld We Want key word visualisations, and stories of why people voted for education through the Humans of MY World communications campaign. UNICEF showcased two innovations targeting the out-of-school children:  Raspberry Pi Learning Initiative from Lebanon provides non-formal education to the millions of displaced children as a result of the Syrian crisis, and E-learning, offers accelerated learning opportunities to some of the 1.8 million out-of-school children in Sudan.

Executive Directors Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka UN Women and Irina Bokova, UNESCO visit the exhibit
Executive Directors Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka UN Women and Irina Bokova, UNESCO visit the exhibit

The exhibition centered around Clouds Over Sidra, a virtual reality experience about the daily life of a Syrian refugee. Clouds Over Sidra tells the story of a 12 year old Syrian refugee living in the Za’atari Camp in Jordan. Sidra talks about the important support structures in the camp, including education, football for girls, wrestling and computer labs for the boys. She also talks about the children who don’t use these support structures:

Some kids don’t go to school. They want to wait until we are back home in Syria. I think it’s silly to wait. How will they remember anything? And there is nothing to do here anyway.

Continue reading “Peoples Voices at the World Education Forum”

The role of culture in implementing the post-2015 agenda

written by Roudabeh Jamshid Ein Global Youth Advocate at UNMC

On May 21  we celebrated the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Emphasizing the importance of understanding cultural diversity to raise human living standards, and following the adaptation of UNESCO’S Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in 2001, the UN adopted resolution 57/59 on December 2002 . From that time forward, May 21 has been declared the World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. UNESCO celebrated this day with events in Costa Rica, South Sudan, France, and Brazil.  These were streamed on the web and via the radio. The results of these efforts has brought the attention of their population towards the importance of this day for peace building, cultural diversity, and other relevant issues to sustainable development.

Recognizing the importance of overcoming cross-cultural barriers to define the sustainable development goals, we at the United Nations Millennium Campaign celebrated this day as well.

Key priority: Career / Autonomity; “One day I will become president, or the first lady. I want to prove to Ivorian and African society that women have more to offer then only their beauty. Yes I am beautiful but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be smart or have my own career!” -‪#‎bb2015UN‬ Building Bridges

Each specific cultural group has their own logic to interpret any specific notion in their own community. To ensure that we have a diverse and ambitious post-2015 agenda with global ownership, our work has focused on social inclusion and social participation.

Our team at World We Want 2015 supports this day by welcoming all stakeholders with different cultural backgrounds to join the global thematic consultations about culture and development. Understanding development has different interpretation in different cultures. The UN Millennium Campaign recognizes the importance of creating an environment to give a chance for diverse cultures to raise their voices and be recognized globally among others. This has been done by providing a forum, and open space for discussion and participation on the design of the post-2015 agenda. Furthermore, by providing the latest reports and other information such as different case studies and introducing selected publications, our team aims to raise awareness of the key role that culture plays in implementing the post-2015 agenda. The UNDG Dialogues on Implementation was a multi-stakeholder global discussion in over 50 countries and with 6 relevant streams. One particular stream focused on the role of culture on the implementation of the post-2015 agenda.  Cultural diversity and awareness  are and will continue to be central to our efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030.

Key priority: A better education system; “The education system in Morocco is not well organised. If I want to have a good career, I have to study in a private school and these schools are really expensive. I study in a public school and the quality of education is not that good.” – From Marrakesh, Morocco #bb2015UN Building Bridges

If you want learn more about cultural differences on the priorities of the lives of ordinary people around the world we invite you to visit Human of My World’s Facebook page. Through this qualitative data sample culture and humanity of MY World voters are highlighted. For example:  the key priority for the woman featured above from Cote d’Ivoire is job opportunities and autonomy.  For the girl from Morocco, also featured above, a better education  is her top priority.

HAVE YOUR SAY in The Future of Social Development in the Post-2015 Era

Consultation logoDear colleagues, civil society representatives, friends:

The international community has deemed 2015 as a time for global action.  At national, regional and international levels, through dialogue, policy and wide spread advocacy, Governments, civil-society actors, United Nations entities, philanthropists and other stakeholders have been working to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and other commitments to global development, while planning ahead for an ambitious and demanding post-2015 development agenda, for people and planet.

To plan our future steps in a way that surpass past barriers, we first need to look back.  We have to methodically assess and acknowledge what we have achieved and what we haven’t, where we thrived and where we failed, as only then we will be able to appraise and avoid past mistakes while continuing to build on past successes.

It is with these things in mind that World We Want 2015 and the United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs seek to engage you in our online dialogue on the “Future of Social Development in the Post-2015 Era.”  

Twenty years ago, Member States met in Copenhagen at the World Summit for Social Development to outline what remains one of the most comprehensive set of commitments to social development to date. How do these sets of commitments translate into the new post-2015 context? Is the understanding and approach to social development still relevant today? What has changed in our understanding of people-centred development and how do we account for those changes as we aim to move development forward in an inclusive and sustainable way post-2015? These are some of the areas that we are hoping to explore with you during the course of our conversation. Together, with you, we want to examine the evolution and contributions of social development to the process and practices of sustainable development over the past 20 years.

With this interactive online dialogue we hope to engage civil society and other stakeholders from various regions in a global dialogue on the evolving understanding and orientation of social development and social policy and to highlight the importance of creating more inclusive societies that support and encourage people to remain active and equal participants in all areas of society.

The outcome of this dialogue will help both World We Want 2015 and the UNDESA Division for Social Policy and Development, to better understand and incorporate into their policy advocacy work, civil society’s thoughts and perspectives on critical social development issues. The platform will be open from 18 May to 31 July 2015.

This initiative is part of a series of actions commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development and the adoption of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action[1], while building up to a people-centered post-2015 development agenda.

We hope you will join us by actively participating in this joint e-dialogue and encourage you to forward this invitation to your colleagues and networks.


 *Please join the e-discussion by visiting:

[1] Adopted as the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen, 6-12 March 1995, the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action set an ambitious people-centered agenda aimed to promote social progress, justice and the betterment of the human condition, based on full participation by all.

Today is the International Day of Families

Post by Roudabeh Jamshid Eini, Global Youth Advocate

Make a global change on the International Day of Families!


Take the MY World Survey today and choose the issues that matter most for you and your family!

More than 7 million people have voted in this global survey to show decision makers what are their priorities and to be heard in the United Nations!

Details here:

If you want to be more active by creating sustainable impacts on your family, participate in the global conversation online platform at World We Want 2015! Raise your voice by contributing to the post-2015 agenda and political process!

Show to your local government officials and community leaders what are your standpoints and priorities. All hosts can analyze and visualize the solutions that other stakeholders vote as their priorities! You can read consultation reports about family issues such as: Gender, Inequality, Children & Young People, etc. Details here: World We Want 2015

In addition, if you are curious to know that how other stakeholders who mentioned “Family” voted for the given priorities, or you want to visualize how people voted above or below average, you can check it at: Here are the results for the added words “family,” “parents,” and “children”:

Family Day

Data Playground, Virtual Reality, and Humans of MY World Heading to Bangkok!

By Kristen Grennan, Global Youth Advocate

The Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development is being held in Bangkok, Thailand from May 21-22 and the UN Millennium Campaign will be there displaying the peoples’ voices through the Data Playground, virtual reality, and Humans of MY World.

What is the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development?

The forum will be a multi-stakeholder dialogue on three key issues: (a) practical approaches for integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development; (b) the potential for a regional monitoring and accountability framework; and (c) the form and function of the Forum beyond 2015. The theme of this year’s session is “Strengthening integration, implementation and review for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific.”

UN Millennium Campaign will be hosting a Data Playground at the forum for visitors to explore and interact with the MY World data, a virtual reality film screening called Clouds Over Sidra, and a Humans of MY World photo exhibition.

Social Media

What is a Data Playground?

Data Playground at the Cartagena Data Festival
Data Playground at the Cartagena Data Festival

The Data Playground is an interactive display of the MY World data. Using large touch screens, viewers can touch and play with the data, making “big data” fun and exciting. This is perfect for all ages and will be on display at the Forum in Bangkok on May 21.

Here are sample tweets you can use to post on your twitter account, so don’t be shy, join the conversation on Twitter!

  • Interact w/ @myworld2015 data on May 21 at the Data Playground at the @UNESCAP Asia Pacific Forum! #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • You’ll be in #Bangkok for the @UNESCAP Forum? Join us on 5/21 at our @myworld2015 #DataPlayground! #dataviz #bigdata  #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • Can’t wait for the #DataPlayground at the @UNESCAP Forum, showing #PeoplesVoices from around the globe! @myworld2015 #BKK #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • .@myworld2015 & @mcampaign hosting a #DATAPLAYGROUND @UNESCAP Asia Pacific Forum on #SustDev in Bangkok on 5/21! #sustdevAP #APFSD

Virtual Reality


The Millennium Campaign offers the unique opportunity to get right into the life of a little girl living in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan–thanks to the technology of virtual reality. The film Clouds Over Sidra is a virtual reality film made in collaboration with renowned virtual reality filmmaker Chris Milk that allows you to feel as if you were really in the Zaatari refugee camp with the main character, Sida. As Chris Milk recently stated in a TED Talk, “When [Sidra] is sitting in her room, you’re sitting there with her. You look down and you can see the carpet you both are sitting on. And because of that you see her humanity in a different way.” See what opportunities virtual reality has in store for the future of development!

Sample Tweets:

  • #VirtualReality brings you right into the life of a Syrian child. See #CloudsOverSidra @UNESCAP forum for yourself #VR4Dev #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • #VR4Dev? Check out #virtualreality at @UNESCAP forum in #BKK to see for yourself what it is like to be #childrenofsyria #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • #VirtualReality can change how we perceive crisis & conflict, see @UNESCAP Asia Pacific Forum @mcampaign #VR4Dev #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • Get into the world of a Syrian refugee via #virtualreality at the @UNESCAP Asia Pacific Forum! @myworld2015 #VR4Dev #sustdevAP #APFSD

Humans of MY World

Humans of MY World

The Millennium Campaign will also be hosting a photo exhibition displaying the peoples’ voices behind the data. In this intimate photo series, people explain what their top MY World priorities are for Post-2015 and why it is so important to them. Go beyond the numbers, get into the stories, and see the human side of MY World.

  • Beautiful stories of experiences & priorities of ppl from around the globe from @myworld2015, @UNESCAP Asia Pacific Forum #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • #Storytelling that brings you right to the heart of #Development View the gallery in #BKK @UNESCAP #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • “It feels mostly like I’m waiting for death to come” Photo gallery in #BKK, @UNESCAP @myworld2015 #sustdevAP #APFSD
  • #PeoplesVoices #BKK: “It’s stressful, but we keep going” Gallery on 5/21 in #BKK @UNESCAP Forum #sustdevAP #APFSD

Finally, don’t forget to join the Peoples’ Voices Challenge!



Celebrating Families!

written by Catherine Williams – Global Youth Advocate at the UN Millennium Campaign

May 15 is the official UN International Day of Families, a day that emphasizes the international community’s importance of family needs. This year’s theme is “Men in Charge? Gender Equality and Childrens’ Rights in Contemporary Families”. A panel discussion organizied by UNDESA-DSPD will be held that day from 1:15-2:45 at UN HQ Conference Room 12. The panel will focus on men’s roles in supporting gender equality in context of the family. Patrick Parkinson, Law Professor at the University of Sydney, will moderate the panel and presentations will include themes such as:

“Changing families around the world: The American family in a global context” Frank Furstenberg, Zellerbach Family Professor of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

“Gender and equality in Muslim family law” Marwa Sharafaldin, Women’s rights activist & Board Member, Musawah (The Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family) International Advisory Group)

“Gender equality and children’s rights in family laws: An African perspective” Fareda Banda, Professor of Law, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

“Family violence prevention in South Asia with a focus on India” Srimati Basu, Associate Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Kentucky


The 2015 focus on this day will also highlight prevention of family violence through fair family law frameworks and a variety of programme interventions. These themes of violence and gender equality are critical for creating truly sustainable post-2015 goals and are a big focus of the World We Want campaign. The focus on men brings to light men’s roles in taking charge of a more feminist world and the need for those roles to be understood and actualized for a more equal world and home. Equality starts in the home and one way men can contribute to a more equal world is making sure that equality is reflected in their family roles. The discussions will provide global perspectives on the importance of these issues in their countries and how they can be achieved in those cultures.

You can follow @UNDESADSPD @WorldWeWant2015 for more information and join the discussion on twitter using the hashtags: #Action2015 #ForPeople #DayofFamilies

Check out the data on family and find out more about the peoples voices coming from the global conversation via