Advocating for the SDGs through poster challenge in Saskatoon, Canada

In 2015, 11 year-old Sumaya Murabit noticed that there was very little awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals in her local community in Saskatoon, Canada which made it difficult to actually mobilize others into action.

Eager to create awareness and mobilize action Sumaya brainstormed different ideas; in the end she felt that the most cost-effective and practical awareness raising idea was a poster challenge. “With posters it is more fun. Other things like essays make it feel too much like school work and for things like making videos a lot of us don’t have cameras or computers. So the posters were easier because we could do it in art class at the schools and even at home it is not expensive and its fun. And sometimes it’s easier to express your ideas in art.”

Picture 7
(c) A. Murabit – SDG Poster Challenge organizer Sumaya Murabit addressing the audience

After getting her family’s support, Sumaya approached her school teacher, principal and the Saskatoon Public School Board to tell them about the Goals and her idea for a “Poster Challenge” where students designed posters based on the goals. Sumaya also emailed the City Mayor, University Professor Keith Walker and well known radio personality David Kirton. She recruited them onto the “judging panel” and by creating more collaboration with other sectors was able to ensure greater public and media awareness. In the first year, three classes participated in the poster challenge.

Now in its second year, students from three grades in 14 schools – a total of 42 classes – in the city cake together at Roland Michener School Saskatoon where the final posters were viewed and the winner and finalists were announced.

Picture 5
(c) A. Murabit – SDG Poster Challenge Finalists with judges and speakers

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark spoke to students about the importance of local leadership and taking action, Chief of Staff Michelle Beveridge spoke about women’s leadership, Saskatoon Public Schools Director Barry MacDougall spoke about how an idea – with action – can transform the world, indigenous rights activist Andrea Ledding spoke about her work advocated for murdered and missing aboriginal women and the necessity to start now (even if that means starting small). Whitney Graves from Rock 102 told everyone to just “do whatever they put their mind to (unless it’s illegal)”.

Picture 6
(c) A. Murabit – Saskatoon City Mayor Charlie Clark with SDG Poster Challenge organizer Sumaya Murabit and SDG Poster Challenge four top finalists

The students each spoke about their posters, which Global Goal meant the most to them and what they felt needed to be done to actually achieve them. The winner of the poster challenge was 13 year old Jordyn Guan whose poster focused on “Quality Education”.

Jeff Shepherd, principal of Roland Michener School is incredibly excited to see the challenge continue to grow over the next 13 years, anticipating that next year at least 24 schools city wide will be involved. He encouraged all students with ideas, telling them that while it may seem small, it can impact so many and turn into something great.

All 17 finalist posters have been framed to be showcased by the Saskatoon Public School District and City of Saskatoon.

(C) A. Murabit – Quality Education by Jordyn Guan (Winning Poster)

#Connect2Effect Winning Teams Visit NYC for concluding activities

In the summer of 2016, Influx Trust approached the UN SDG Action Campaign with a simple yet ambitious idea: what if we could host simultaneous hackathons around the world, bringing together the best in social enterprise to crowdsource solutions for the SDGs?

From 16-17 May, the #connect2effect project held its concluding activities, bringing together winners from Bali, Chandighar, and London with diplomats UN colleagues, innovators, and many other stakeholders at the United Nations.

“Around the world, people who experience the daily challenges that the SDGs were created to solve also hold the solutions. Initiatives like #connect2effect ignite the creative spirit and foster collaboration, serving as the spark to convert ideas into actions. We remain committed to projects which support community led action for the SDGs.” said Mitchell Toomey, Director of the UN SDG Action campaign

 

In March, 750 social innovators completed a 48 hour hackathon, organized simultaneously in 9 cities around the world. These winning teams were coached to hone their ideas, which were presented on a new crowdfunding site,  https://crowdfunding.connect2effect.com/. This site will promote the ideas emerging from the hackathon and any other creative projects supporting the SDGs in the future.

“#Connect2Effect is testament to the power of collaboration possible between the UN and social entrepreneurs in addressing the SDGs together. We’re delighted that this joint effort by the UN SDG Action Campaign, Influx Trust have paved the way for optimising worldwide impact on the SDGs” said Max Kalis, CEO & Founder of Influx Trust.

The results this inaugural year were astounding:

  • 9 hackathons organized simultaneously in Bali, Bahrain, Chandigarh, Geneva, Lagos, Lisbon, London, NY and Rio
  • 750 social entrepreneurs, tech experts, UN experts and mentors participated
  • 90 pitches, with 9 regional winners and 3 global winners
  • Hundreds of thousands of social media views

K.GutekunstDuring their visit to New York City, the winners presented their ideas numerous times at the United Nations Headquarters.  The audiences of representatives from the United Nations, including the Office President of the General Assembly, UNDP, UN Women, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, witnessed the progress made, learned about the hacking process, and discussed the details of the ideas of the winners.

Following the pitching roundtable, the winners were invited to an intimate meet and greet with H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, the President of the UN General Assembly, who received them in the General Assembly Hall itself. The President mused about the ideas, congratulating the teams on identifying some interesting local problems, and coming up with very innovative solutions.

“The world is changing rapidly. We need to keep up with this change yet conserve our cultural values by incorporating more sustainable practices.” H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly

The President was impressed by the quality of all winning projects. He identified with Niskala’s cultural waste program, having attended Balinese traditional ceremonies many times as a Fijian. He applauded Paperless’ commitment to working with those most in danger of being left behind in India through their magnetic braille tablet, and he was intrigued by eQuality’s way of empowering consumers with the knowledge to make more ethical decisions.

The meet and greet concluded with a photo opportunity on the dais of the GA, with the President surrounded by the winners and organizers.

The final pitch was given by all teams during A View From the Cloud, organized by World Council of Peoples for the United Nations and the Streaming Museum. This event united artist, scientists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and civil society in a series of thoughtful discussions on how art and technology can influence and change our world.

“The experience of coming to New York and sharing their initiatives with UN representatives has been invaluable to this year’s winners of Connect2Effect. It has offered opportunities to improve not just the prospects for their work but has also provided powerful inspiration for these social entrepreneurs personally,” concluded Kalis.

For more information, please visit: connect2effect.com 

Security, justice, education and health rank as the most urgent issues for the people in Somalia

In a consultation recently conducted in Somalia, and despite the severe challenges the country is facing, most people perceived their situation in the past 12 months has improved in the country. Yet the report shows that greater attention and significant improvements must be made in security, justice, education, and health.  

The recently implemented e-consultation, a coordinated effort between the Federal Government of Somalia and UNDP, supported by the SDG Action Campaign, finds that SDG1 – poverty reduction, SDG 2 – food security and nutrition, SDG 3 – health & well-being, and SDG 4 – education, are among those goals in which progress is most notably perceived. Lowest in this ranking are SDG 11 – making cities inclusive, safe and sustainable, SDG 16 – promoting sustainable consumption and production, and SDG 12 – ensuring good and inclusive governance.

The preferred options to tackle these issues and achieve these goals: strengthening of national systems and developing clear strategies and plans. 

Cultural Barriers preventing women´s equal participation in decision making

undp_Women_Lawenforcement

That “women can bring leadership and value to development, when equally represented” was agreed among the majority of participants. The major perceived factor  preventing women’s equal participation in development in Somalia: the existence of cultural barriers, followed by lack of awareness about women’s rights and discrimination.

Why is this relevant?

This report harnesses the voices of a wide number of Somali people, their priorities and expectations, to put forward the key areas for investment in order to achieve the Goals. The initiative was specifically implemented at a first stage with the hope for furthering women’s inclusiveness and give the Federal Government of Somalia a better understanding of what is important to its citizens and the basis to create a strategy for implementing the SDGs.

security

Making the people´s voices count 

Consultations allow people to participate effectively in raising their voices to their governments on priorities and on the preferred methods by which these Goals can be achieved and holding them accountable. Through this process we learned some key lessons that will help us better implement these surveys in the future:

  • Consultations are a key tool to better understand people’s perceptions and consider them in planning processes, monitoring implementation of programmes and projects by asking people about their perceptions on service delivery.
  • In order to do this, it is key to reflect what are the findings expected from such a survey: what do we want to listen to? This will help us answer important questions such as: Should the consultation be conducted at a national o local level? What segments of the population do we want to engage? what are their preferred or available options to reach out? Should civil society be engaged?
  • A consultation can support and strengthen an ongoing process and be a useful exercise for the planning and implementation of government plans. Moreover, these exercises are key to improve State legitimacy and build strong institutions.
  • Nationally-owned designed processes are much stronger when linked to global initiatives.  

Read the full report :
Somalia e-Survey NDP-SDGs

Want to take action? Register your interest to translate, distribute or even roll out the survey in your country here: http://myworld2030-citizenadvisor.nationbuilder.com

 

Call for Applications: Youth for SDGs Scholarship with Peace Boat US.

Peace Boat US is an NGO working toward the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, recognizing that achieving the goals requires an unprecedented mobilization of the energy and skills of young people, who play a key role in promoting and advancing the SDGs through entrepreneurship, volunteering, research, education and other endeavors.

This summer, Peace Boat US is offering a program titled “Peace Education and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Latin America.” This unique program will take place onboard the Peace Boat ship as it visits Panama, Nicaragua, and El Salvador from June 20 – July 3, 2017 as part of a global voyage.

The program includes exchanges with indigenous communities, visiting the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) office, learning from youth working for the SDGs, lectures, cultural exchanges and presentations on peace and sustainability, climate change, visits to mangrove forests along the coast and joining educational activities including an exchange program at the University of Don Bosco in San Salvador.

The “Peace Education and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Latin America” is geared toward university students, and welcomes advanced high school students, graduate students, and lifelong learners, participating individually or in groups. But, Peace Boat US is also offering two full “Youth in Action for the SDGs” scholarships for the program!

The scholarship covers airfare from NYC-Panama, and El Salvador-NYC (or equivalent price); accommodation, meals, and travel onboard Peace Boat and in ports of call for the duration of the program and travel insurance and is open to candidates between the ages of 16-30. The scholarships will be awarded to one female and one male representative. Experience volunteering or working on SDG-related initiatives, and a commitment to continuing SDG-related work in the future will be one of the main considerations in awarding the scholarship.

Applications must be submitted by 5:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time) on April 25, 2017 For a full list of eligibility requirements as well as details on how to apply, click here.

9 startups compete to present their SDG solutions at the UNHQ

9 global startups have been selected to be part of a competition to seek support for their proposed solutions to one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and be selected to present their ideas to decision makers at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City in the margins of the STI Forum in May 2017.

On March 10-12th 800 participants from nine cities and five continents  connected and collaborated during the Influx Trust #Connect2Effect 48-hour global hackathon (an intense 48hr start up idea prototyping session) organised with the support of the UN SDG Action Campaign around three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 9, Goal 10 and Goal 12. These 17 Goals are the world’s greatest challenges as agreed by 193 member states. Influx Trust and its organising partner Adpreneurs have created a compelling and innovative way for people and organisations to get involved in the effort to pursue these goals

The hackathon kicked off in each region with a unique message from H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly: “Throughout the tenure of my Presidency, my office and I will remain firmly committed to fostering new methods of increasing awareness about the new agenda, and ways of working across sectors to achieve its implementation. As such, we look forward to closely following the outcomes of the hackathon, and will warmly welcome the winners to the United Nations Headquarters.” 

WHY THIS IS WORTH SHOUTING ABOUT?

In just one weekend the event generated 90+ world-changing startup ideas, 20K Facebook followers, 3 million impressions of #Connect2Effect and 200K views of H.E. Thomson’s, public endorsement video.

The nine #Connect2Effect winners will now spend the following month honing and marketing their idea, competing for the chance to pitch their ideas at the New York UN Headquarters in the margins of the second annual Science, Technology and Innovation Forum on May 15-16th 2017.

In the lead up, Influx Trust are launching a crowdfunding platform (crowdfunding.connect2effect.com) for the wider public to support the winning teams as the projects develop and go beyond the hackathons and into the real world. The success of the crowdfunding campaigns will form a component of the evaluation for who will win. Once the competition has ended, this platform will launch to the public as a crowdfunding platform specifically for solving ideas for the SDGs.

WHAT ARE THE 2017 SELECTED SDG GOALS?

The UN’s 193 member states have agreed to 17 goals as priorities for the world to tackle by 2030. This year Influx Trust focused on 3 of them:

SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation Infrastructure

SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities

SDG 12 – Sustainable Consumption & Production

WHO ARE THE REGIONAL WINNERS?  

  1. BAHRAIN (SDG 9): Paperless – E-receipts that cut down on paper waste
  1. BALI (SDG 12):  Niskala – Educate and reduce waste generated from religious festivals that are a large contributor to the severe waste issues Indonesia is suffering with
  1. CHANDIGARH (SDG 9): Help aid the education of blind children with a paperless Braille tablet
  1. GENEVA (SDG 12): 24/7 –  Access to Antiretroviral Treatment for people on the move
  1. LAGOS (SDG 9): Smart Transit – A culturally appropriate app to tackle poor transit in Nigeria by offering   local transport information in real time
  1. LISBON (SDG 9): Lettuce Grow – An app that connects small scale farmers directly with consumers to boost agricultural industry and local economy
  1. LONDON (SDG 9): eQuality – A system that allows shoppers to educate themselves around the ethical, political & environmental impact of their product purchases
  1. NEW YORK (SDG 12):  Kindred  – The world’s first closed-loop marketplace for sustainable garments.
  1. RIO DE JANEIRO (SDG 10): Jardim DigitaL – An app that connects refugees with jobs open and available to them by fair and honest employers .

Overall the #Connect2Effect initiative has proven that there is a widespread desire for open innovation between the public and the UN on the Sustainable Development Goals and that this work can be expected to grow in terms of impact and scope. You can learn more about this project  www.connect2effect.com

Check out the 9 SDG solutions and support your favourite ideaYou can also follow the story on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @InfluxTrust #Connect2Effect to see things unfold in real-time.

Bridges of Understanding brings SDGs to their annual gala

Bridges of Understanding Annual Gala, 12 December: New York

Bridges of Understanding is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, nonpolitical organization established in 2007 to enhance positive relations between the United States and Arab World through one-to-one connections between thought leaders and the creation of original youth focused programs.

The Campaign has had a partnership with Bridges of Understanding since June 2016 to promote empathy and understanding around the refugee crisis, co-develop educational and new media activities and to increase awareness and action around the SDGs.

The Campaign organized a We the Peoples hub during the annual Gala. The SDGs were on display, featured as a selfie tool at the step and repeat photowall. Guests also had the opportunity to watch Clouds Over Sidra & My Mother’s Wing on virtual reality headsets. The gala honored Arianna Huffington and Chaker Ghazaal for their contribution to promoting global citizenship, connecting people, countries and cultures.

 

Youth Entrepreneurs take center stage with Road to Nairobi 2016 Project at GPEDC

At the end of November, a diverse group of stakeholders met in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss critical issues at the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation’s second High Level Meeting. Building upon months of grass roots organization in the lead up, Building Bridges Foundation, with partners UN SDG Action Campaign and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ensured the ideas and opinions of young people had a special role at the conference.

For young people, by young people, the project highlighted the entrepreneurial solutions of 80 young entrepreneurs in eight countries. Their stories were shared on the Humans of MY World blog, in blog posts, in exhibitions, and in a final report that was presented to important delegates at the HLM2.

The project, Road to Nairobi 2016 has empowered young entrepreneurs across Eastern and Southern Africa to share their experiences, challenges, and ideas for local solutions to tackling the SDGs. The Building Bridges team departed South Africa in August with the mission of revealing the challenges and priorities of young entrepreneurs in eight countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. The team named a national Building Bridges Ambassador in each country who supported the local coordination on the ground. This included an open call for submissions of ongoing business solutions to addressing the SDGs in both rural and urban settings. The best were chosen to first compete to become the national winner in their country, and then were flown to Nairobi to compete in the global competition. The journey also included national youth forums with policy makers to discuss the results, where MY World 2015 results helped frame the discussions.

The youth entrepreneur’s stories were profiled on the Humans of MY World photo-narrative blog along with an identification of their most important SDG. Banners were printed for an exhibition at the conference, which also included UNVR demonstrations, selfie booths, Humans of MY World voting, previews of the publications created to support the project, the actual bus which was driven across the continent, and the ability to interact with the young people involved in the project.

Two side events were organized around the Building Bridges project. Firstly, the team presented the preliminary findings of an in-depth evaluation report of the project to Ms. Liliane Ploumen, co-Chair of the GPEDC and Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, who stressed the need to include young people in the decision making process:  “Too often we talk about young people without having them in the room.”

Ms. Sicily Kariuki, the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs of the Republic of Kenya stated “We must invest in youth so that they attain skills and nurture a culture of entrepreneurship.”

[wpvideo FpcOwp65]

The team also presented a draft of their report of the Humans of MY World – the storytelling project done in collaboration with the SDG Action Campaign. Mr. Seing Falu Njie, Regional Director for Africa, reinforced the UN SDG Action Campaign’s commitment to facilitating and ensuring people around the world have a means to voice their opinion through their diversity of projects, such as MY World 2030 and partnerships.

The second event presented the opportunity for 3 of the young Building Bridges ambassadors and others from the region to compete in the “Get In the Ring Competition,” occurring in Africa for the first time. The event mimics a boxing match, placing two competitors in the ring for lightning elimination pitch rounds until one is crowned champion. Unfortunately, the Building Bridges representatives didn’t get the gold this time, but it was a revealing lesson about capacity building with young entrepreneurs from the region for the next project.

The final report about the project will be released at the Global Festival of Ideas in March, 2017.

 

Next Generation, Cross-Curricular Global Learning through Immersive Technology

Blog by Neesha N. Rahim, Co-Founder Level Up Village

The Level Up Village (LUV) team joined forces with the UN SDG Action Campaign, Shared_Studios, VIF, The Qatar Foundation International & P21 at the 2016 Global Ed Forum in Philadelphia in October. With the goal of providing an immersive, perspective-building experience for some of the best and brightest educators working to build global competency skills in K-12 students,  the experience provided a unique interpretation of “cross-curricular learning” and showed how global competency could be infused in all aspects of education.

Thought leaders from around the world had the opportunity to immerse themselves virtually in the stunningly heartbreaking world of a Syrian refugee child named Sidra via Clouds Over Sidra. This set the stage to understanding what life is like in a Syrian refugee camp, adding depth and intimacy to an issue that many see only on the news.  Those who saw the film came away excited by the promises of VR, seeing the film and technology as an opportunity to effectively teach today’s digital natives about topics from the refugee crisis to the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

“Watching Clouds over Sidra in VR was an incredibly impactful experience,” said Connor Seidenschwarz of the Qatar Foundation International.  “Last summer I worked in a refugee camp in Lebanon, and the VR experience made me feel like I was right back there again.  I think this type of medium, along with the Shared_Studios portal and Level Up Village programs, will have a huge impact on anyone learning about refugee experience, especially in terms of what it can do to create humanize refugees.”

“I’ve worked in many countries, including in the developing world.  Yet this film drove home what life is really like for refugee children and made me see the differences and similarities between children here and there in a different light,” David Ross, Chief Strategy Officer at P21 said of the experience.

“Global education is the lens through which all teaching and learning should occur. Virtual exchanges, collaborative projects, and immersive VR experiences like Clouds over Sidra are critical elements for delivering quality education to all,” said David Young CEO of VIF, an organization that works districts and schools to develop global-ready teachers and students.

After watching the film, participants walked into a gold colored, sparkling Shared_Studios Portal tent where they connected in real time through full-body video conference with groups in Iraq, Pakistan and Nicaragua.  These live interactions pulled the world of each of these groups even closer, breaking down the wall of self consciousness that we often see via modes like Skype.  Through this opportunity, educators explored how students might be able to play and engage meaningfully with peers from around the world.    

Boys who fled the ISIS takeover of Mosul two years ago and are living in Harsham Camp for internally displaced Iraqis in the city of Erbil spoke directly to conference participants via the Erbil Portal, curated by UNICEF Iraq.  Amidst more serious conversations, one US educator spontaneously played a game of rock, paper, scissors with the children who taught her the Arabic words for the game.  The young Iraqi boys then taught a group of three women in the US a local dance.

Lindsay Mackenzie, communications specialist with UNICEF Iraq, explained that connecting with people around the world serves to build perspective and open the world for children in the camp, while giving voice to those who do not feel heard. Moreover, these opportunities represent hope and a moment of respite from otherwise harrowing situations.

Participants also connected in real time with educators and students from Level Up Village’s Global Partner programs in Pakistan and Nicaragua. iEarn Pakistan, led by Farah Kamal, has done incredible work in building global competency and tech skills in Pakistani students, often against seemingly insurmountable odds.  

“It was thrilling to stand right in front of my counterparts at the GEF 2016 and talk. We have the same hopes and aspirations – to have our students grow and thrive in a peaceful world,”  said Farah Kamal, Executive Director of iEarn Pakistan.   

Global Ed Forum participants interacted in real time with Level Up Village global partners NicaPhoto Nicaragua and iEARN Pakistan

At NicaPhoto in Nicaragua, Ronnie Maher has provided quality education, nutrition and other social services to hundreds of students who live in homes that were only recently wired for electricity.  Via Level Up Village programs, students in each location have engaged in one-to-one STEAM (STEM + arts) collaborations with students at schools in the US.

“The impact of Level Up Village programs on our kids is great, beginning with learning to use a computer, learning to form their own ideas, and to ask questions,” said Ronnie Maher, Founder & Executive Director of NicaPhoto. “The video letters and one-to-one connections help them to be less shy as they learn to express themselves. The project-based, small class environment is a unique opportunity that can have a big impact on learning here in Nicaragua.”

At the conference, we also demonstrated how Level Up Village’s social media-inspired platform facilitates the exchange of asynchronous video letters and project collaboration across the globe. In our courses, students in the US are paired one-on-one with partner students from around the world to learn cutting-edge STEAM skills and apply them to real-world problems, In addition, they collaborate on shared project files and exchange information about about each other’s daily lives and cultures through a guided exchange of video letters. The result is meaningful global collaboration and an enhanced understanding of the world – at a personal level.

Students in 20+ countries connect and collaborate using Level Up Village’s mobile-friendly Global Communications Platform in courses such as Global Inventors (3D printing). This type of innovative global STEAM collaboration with real-world applications teaches important 21st Century skills and creates meaningful personal connections

Participants at the Global Ed Forum experienced firsthand how a variety of exciting new technologies are proving to be game-changers in the field of global education. We look forward to further opportunities to collaborate with VIF, P21, The Qatar Foundation International, Shared_Studios and the UN SDG Action Campaign to move global education forward. In the next few years, we expect many more schools in the US and around the world will access the tools they need to bring the world into their classroom and the impact will be profound. Students will be able to develop social awareness, empathy and global competency in unprecedented ways, providing them with the framework they need to become compassionate leaders of tomorrow.

** Special thanks to GEF 2016 organizer Brandon Wiley & Dave Potter of VIF for making this experience possible.

About Level Up Village: A social enterprise based in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, Level Up Village (LUV) delivers pioneering Global STEAM (STEM + Arts) enrichment courses that promote design thinking and one-to-one collaboration on real-world problems between K-9 students in the U.S. and partner students in developing countries. Launched in 2012, LUV runs courses during school, after-school and in the summer at more than 150 U.S. schools, with 30+ Global Partner organizations in more than 20 countries.  For more information, visit at levelupvillage.com or find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter @LevelUpVillage.

Immersive exhibition brings delegates closer than ever to refugees, displaced, and migrants during UNGA

The 71st regular session of the United Nations General Assembly met this past September, which also coincided with the High Level Meeting on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants. In an effort to raise the voices are those most in danger of being left behind, the UN SDG Action Campaign brought two immersive technology experiences to the UN Secretariat Building, highlighting some of the most complex global challenges the UN faces. The particular focus on refugees, displaced people, and migrants allowed diplomats direct access and a deeper understanding of their everyday realities.

Above: Haider al Abadi, Prime Minister of Iraq speaking to Waleed, a young boy displaced from Mosul by violence now living in the Harsham IDP Camp. Below: Ewan MacGregor, Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF poses with Mirna, young girl he met on his last visit to the Camp in Erbil.

The United Nations Virtual Reality film series and Portals immersive experiences enables people to access locations and situations they would otherwise never experience, providing context for some of the most complex issues the UN is striving to mitigate. By doing so, the Campaign hopes it will help transform understanding of critical global issues that must be addressed in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals into a medium that is instantly empathetic and universally relatable.

Throughout the course of the week, Delegates were able to watch several films on the newly launched UNVR app (available at www.UNVR.org) about the everyday realities of refugees. Filmed in the Zaatari Camp in Jordan, Clouds Over Sidra recounts the new normal for a young girl from Syria, and Born Into Exile by UNFPA highlights the importance of providing safe births for mothers, revealing the amazing statistic that zero mothers have been lost at the camp. Beyond the Lake recounts the harrowing experience of a woman escaping violence in Burundi who is able to start a new life in the DRC through the support of UN Women safe spaces. UNOCHA also previewed Home, a new film documenting the UN Secretary-General’s humanitarian tour, highlighting the plight of refugees living in Lebanon, Syria and the DRC.

Delegates further had the opportunity to have full-body conversations with individuals living these realities, in real time, through the UN Portal, curated by the CampaignShared_Studios, and Bridges of Understanding. It is part of an international project with countless locations around the world by Shared_Studios. The UN Portal connected to the Harsham IDP Camp in Erbil, curated by UNICEF  Iraq, allowing delegates to speak to young Iraqis displaced by fighting in Mosul. It also connected to a refugee resettlement home outside of Berlin, where delegates could speak to people from Chad, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria in varying stages of asylum seeking, and to young people at the University of Kabul in Afghanistan with Turquoise Mountain Institute. In the afternoons, the UN Portal connected to Mexico City with an NGO called Proyecto Habesha that is supporting Syrian refugees in coordinates higher education degrees in Mexico.

This exhibition was made possible through the political support of the Government of the Netherlands, the Government of Germany, the Government of Iraq, and the UN Department of Information.

The Campaign also shared the space with UNICEF’s Time Machine, an installation that  translating childhood memories from data into unique sound – giving visitors and delegates attending the UNGA an opportunity to understand the data on children currently available and areas that fall short.

YouTube Change Ambassador, Ingrid Nilsen joins panel on LGBTQIA rights at Social Good Summit

See the full event here: http://livestream.com/Mashable/events/6346857/videos/136197230

YouTube Change Ambassador, Ingrid Nilsen joined a panel at the 2016 Social Good Summit entitled “LGBTQ in the Media: Shaping the Global Equality Narrative.” The panelists, which also included fellow activists Jazz Jennings, Tiq Millan, Sarah Kate Ellis (President and CEO of GLAAD) , highlighted the importance of having LGBTQIA people and issues represented in the media, discussing what it means to be accepted and to empower people around the world who may not be able to see themselves otherwise represented.

They noted the absence of such representation in media during their own youth, noting that seeing similar representatives helps to reinforce identity, especially for children and young people who feel alone in the world without it.

Ms. Nilsen celebrated the fact that stereotypes are being “obliterated.” She commented how being a public figure and YouTube Creator means her identity is constantly challenged. She recognized her role in empowering others and breaking stereotypes. She thanked those who have laid the “foundation” before her, “planting seeds in a garden we may never see… seeds that were planted a generation before me, and I want to build upon that”.

[wpvideo akhniOB1]

Photos&Video (c) K.Gutekunst