World Moms Blog editors, Jennifer Burden, Nicole Melancon and Elizabeth Atalay reunite at the Social Good Summit in NYC on September 23, 2012.

This long weekend was out of control good!  Social good. World Moms Blog planned to be at the Social Good Summit in NYC, but we also received press credentials for the Clinton Global Initiative meeting, too.  Both conferences overlapped, and we found ourselves back and forth between uptown and midtown Manhattan and listening live to the likes of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Former US President Bill Clinton, Republican US Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, author Nicolas Kristof and US President Barack Obama! Yes. Wow!

DAY 1 Social Good Summit:

The editors of our World Voice column, Nicole Melancon and Elizabeth Atalay, were part of the World Moms Blog delegation to the Social Good Summit!  The Social Good Summit is sponsored by Mashable, the UN Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNDP and the 92nd Y. The theme this year was Digital.Global.Action. The purpose of the conference was “to explore how communities and audiences are connecting with each other through social and digital innovations to solve global problems.”

On Saturday the session on “Maintaining the Momentum: Delivering Solutions for Girls and Women” was my favorite on that day because it related to the problems facing women and girls in the world.  It included speakers, Jill Sheffiield President of Women Deliver and Chrysula Winegar, Community Manager of the Million Moms Challenge. Sheffield explained, “If women can’t plan their fertility, they really can’t plan their lives.” She also explained that unintended births increase the amount of unintended complications, and she put out the call for less unintended births and less unintended complications in the developing world.

Also here’s a Social Good Summit fact on women’s health: According to Dr. Jennie Francis, the US has the most teenage pregnancies in the developed world.

Now to change the subject back over to technology’s role in social good…I had no idea how much could be done with Google Earth.  Rebecca Moore, Engineering Manager, Google Earth Outreach and Earth Engine Google, Inc., gave a jaw dropping presentation on how she used Google Maps to protect schools and forests and how the maps have also been used to save a coral reef from oil drilling.  Three-dimensional is where it’s at!

Also, Devi Thomas, the Director of the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign announced the release of the campaign’s new app for new moms!  I had a chance to review the app ahead of time, and my favorite part is the ability to “shotatlifeify” your pics with really cool Shot@Life themes!  The app also makes catching up on documenting your child’s milestones a breeze and keeps you in the know of what to expect for each pediatrician’s appointment from newborn to age 5 years.

[L-R] Shot@Life Champions: Holly Pavlika, Lashaun Martin, Nicole Melancon (WMB) and Myrdin Thompson at the Social Good Summit on September 22, 2012 in NYC. We used the new Shot@Life app to enhance this photo!

Nicole and I wrapped up Saturday with dinner with our fellow Shot@Life Champions, Holly Pavlika of MOMentum and Myrdin Thompson of the National Family Engagement Alliance, and a new friend, Meghan Johnson of Soulshine Traveler.

Day 1 Clinton Global Initiative: 

Sunday, we picked up our press passes, and headed to the Clinton Global Initiative to hear Former President Bill Clinton speak and introduce this year’s meeting.  The theme of the conference was “Designing for Impact.” President Clinton stated, “Today we want to talk about how you can design your actions in advance to make it more likely they will succeed.” President Clinton spoke of how the CGI has been bringing corporations and nonprofits together for social good since 2005. In 2012 at CGI over 150 new commitments were made, valued at $2 billion, expected to impact nearly 22 million people. Formidable.


Bill Clinton opens the Clinton Global Initiative Meeting September 23, 2012.

President Clinton also brought many people up on stage who are doing exactly that to help solve the world’s problems. An example was how Tom Golisano, founder and Chairman of the Board of Paychex, Inc., made a $12 million commitment for the “Healthy People, Health Community” campaign to provide healthcare to participants of the Special Olympics. This was just one of many examples of businesses funding important global programs, such as programs to end human trafficking, to empower women and increase food supplies.

The opening plenary panel included Queen Rania of Jordan; Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon; President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim; Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO; and Kiran Sethi, Founder and Director, The Riverside School, Ahmedabad-India, along with President Clinton, on Designing for Impact. Tim Brown said, “If we don’t deeply understand the communities we’re serving, we can’t design for impact.”  This is important because how can we help people if we don’t understand their lives first?

Queen Rania spoke of the current demographics in the Arab world — a large, young population with access to cell phones that are helping receive, provide and share information. She also stated, “We haven’t harnessed the potential of technology to save lives.” My favorite quote of the Queen’s, “We need to have the intellectual courage to do what’s right even if it isn’t popular.”

Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, encouraged everyone to play a part in the world.  He said, “We have to put this world on the right track for humanity. I need all of you to get involved with the United Nations.” Although Ki-Moon’s address was to a room of many business men and women and heads of state, his message was relevant to everyone.  How can you get involved with the United Nations? Take a look at the UN Foundation website, a nonprofit that helps carry out the work of the United Nations.  There are many grassroots initiatives you can participate in, for example, the work World Moms Blog does with the Shot@Life campaign. Ban Ki-Moon also announced the launch of a new global education initiative with UNESCO and the former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

My takeaway from CGI is that a lot of great work is being done in the world, but there is still so much more to do — more women to empower, more people to be fed, more jobs to be created, more global health care needed.  This event is an example of a successful exchange between businesses and foundations to increase funding and create solutions for the world’s problems that need solving, as well as great inspiration for more businesses to want to get involved.

We have more to report, so tune into World Moms Blog this week for the continuation of our special report on the Social Good Summit and the Clinton Global Initiative!

Photo credits to the author. 



Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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