World Voice: Social Good Summit + UNGA: Education is Key for #2030NOW

World Voice: Social Good Summit + UNGA: Education is Key for #2030NOW

Muzoon Almellehan, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador; former Syrian refugee

Muzoon Almellehan, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador; former Syrian refugee

For the past three years, I have attended the Social Good Summit in September and have always been excited to hear speakers address issues that deal with SDG’(Sustainable Development Goals). This year’s speakers did not disappoint. In addition, I was invited to be a part of the SDG Media Zone during the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) in the same week, where media influencers and high-level delegates from around the world came together to address the global problems facing us today.

With celebrities like Aasif Mandvi speaking on the fairness of media when covering politics and Whoopi Goldberg, whose involvement with the AIDS Foundation in collaboration with Quinn Tivey, Elizabeth Taylor’s grandson, there was no shortage of inspiring changemakers whose goal was to further the conversation of the SDG’s for #2030NOW; but of those that I heard, one speaker made the biggest impact on me.

Muzoon Almellehan is the youngest Syrian refugee who changed her unimaginable circumstances to one of inspiration. She was 14 when her life was upended and had to escape to Jordan with her family to escape the war. For most children, the thought of starting a new life in a different country, let alone a refugee camp, would be daunting, but for Muzoon, it was more than that; she had to leave the school that she considered her second home.

Facing the reality that she couldn’t go back to Syria, she decided to pursue the one thing that the war couldn’t take away from her: education. Relieved to find out that the refugee camps in Jordan offered education to children, she dedicated all her energy to continue her learning. It was during her stay at two refugee camps in Jordan that made her realize the impact she could make for her community. She used her voice to raise awareness of the importance of education for children, especially for girls. Muzoon knew too well that the fate of young girls was bleak since her community believed early marriage was the only way to protect girls. She made it her mission to convince organizations in the refugee camps that education was the way to break the cycle of poverty and traditions that threaten the safety and future of girls.

Her commitment to bringing SDG 4 (Education) to the forefront of the Social Good Summit speaks volumes. Muzoon is not content in spreading the value of educating girls only in her community, but to the rest of the world. It is her passion towards education that has earned her the distinction of being the youngest UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

While I was not a refugee, like Muzoon, my family came to the United States to escape a Philippine dictatorship when I was 10 years old. Before we left, I was lucky to have been taught English as my first language by two aunts who were teachers before the national language, Tagalog. Like Muzoon, I had to leave my home, friends, and school and start over. My family had to rebuild our lives in a different country, but the one thing that was never compromised was my education. I didn’t realize how much I would be grateful for learning English at an early age because it made me feel like I belonged, even though I looked different.

My education has allowed me to pursue a career that I love, which may not have happened had we not left the Philippines. Now, as a Mom of an eighteen-year-old woman, I am so grateful that she will not have to fight to get an education and pursue her dreams, unlike girls in countries whose education is suppressed, thus affecting their future.

Muzoon’s commitment to implement SDG 4 (Education) for everyone is inspiring and should be heeded as a wake-up call. Education makes it possible for anyone to dream big for themselves and their communities. Her parting words say it best: “Even if we are young, even if we have challenges in our lives, we really can make a change. Yes, life is difficult, yes we face difficulties like war, conflict, poverty, but when we believe in ourselves, and when we believe that we are strong enough to make a change, we will make this change and we can actually make a difference in this world. No matter who we are, no matter where we are and no matter how old we are. Just remember that we are all humans, and at the end, we have the same feelings and same rights. So let’s be one and let’s come together for making our world much better”.  

I, for one, am ready to join her mission of bringing education to every single person.

How about you?

 

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Tes Silverman

Tes Silverman was born in Manila, Philippines and has been a New Yorker for over 30 years. Moving from the Philippines to New York opened the doors to the possibility of a life of writing and travel. Before starting a family, she traveled to Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, and France, all the while writing about the people she met through her adventures. After starting a family, she became a freelance writer for publications such as Newsday’s Parents & Children and various local newspapers. Fifteen years ago, she created her blog, The Pinay Perspective. PinayPerspective.com is designed to provide women of all ages and nationalities the space to discuss the similarities and differences on how we view life and the world around us. As a result of her blog, she has written for BlogHer.com and has been invited to attend and blog about the Social Good Summit and Mom+Social Good. In addition, she is a World Voice Editor for World Moms Network and was Managing Editor for a local grass roots activism group, ATLI(Action Together Long Island). Currently residing in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, fourteen year-old Morkie and a three year old Lab Mix, she continues to write stories of women and children who make an impact in their communities and provide them a place to vocalize their passions.

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WORLD VOICE: World Moms Attend the 7th Social Good Summit in NYC

WORLD VOICE: World Moms Attend the 7th Social Good Summit in NYC

Last week, I attended my fifth Social Good Summit in New York City along with five other amazing friends from World Moms Network. The Social Good Summit is a unique convening of world leaders, new media and technology experts, grassroots activists and voices from around the world that come together for a two-day conference coinciding with the United Nations General Assembly meeting held during UN Week. The Summit is held at the 92nd Street Y and is truly a global conversation as it streamed around the world in multiple languages.

The Crew of World Changers from World Moms Network and other social good bloggers

The Crew of World Changers from World Moms Network and other social good bloggers

The theme of the summit– #2030NOW: What kind of world do you want to see in 2030? – challenged speakers, participants and a growing worldwide community to explore how technology and new media can be leveraged to benefit people everywhere, to spark discussion and ignite change in creating a better world for all by the year 2030. The 7th Annual Summit was kicked off with a great promise to connect the world with more humanity and give everyone a voice in improving poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change through the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed upon last year by 193 global leaders at the UN General Assembly.

In July, the first report card was released that maps the scope of the SDGs progress, giving leaders an idea of the challenges that lie ahead in order to ensure the SDGs are achieved and no one is left behind. Much progress has been made thanks to the successes of the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) yet much needs to be done in order to achieve the SDGs.

Some challenges that lie ahead include:

  • While poverty has been halved, 1 in 8 people were living in extreme poverty in 2012.
  • An estimated 5.9 million children under 5 died in 2015, mostly from preventable causes.
  • 216 women died in childbirth for every 100,000 live births.
  •  In 2013, 59 million children of primary school age were out of school and 26 per cent of women aged 20-24 reported that they were married before their eighteenth birthday.
  • In 2015, an estimated 663 million people were still using unimproved water sources or surface water.
World Moms Network contributors talking with Stephanie Sinclair, Founder of Too Young to Wed, about her quest to end child marriage around the world.

World Moms Network contributors talking with Stephanie Sinclair, Founder of Too Young to Wed, about her quest to end child marriage around the world.

As we sat at the conference and listened to all the heartbreaking and inspiring tales facing people around the world it was hard at times not to get overwhelmed or discouraged. The amount of issues and acute challenges at times seem almost impossible. Quite frankly, it can also make one feel quite powerless.

Throughout the two day summit, we learned that there is much work to be done yet there is hope. The Social Good Summit is all about making a plan for the future.  The world has a plan and 14 years to deliver it. Despite how enormous the challenges may seem, they are achievable and the Global Goals are our guidelines to make the world a better, more equitable place. It is clear that the future of our planet and our people depend upon it. And, every single human being has a role and a responsibility to make it happen.

Top Tweets of the Social Good Summit:

(Click here  to watch a powerful video on what the Global Goals mean).

I also asked my friends and fellow World Moms Network contributors what was the most meaningful quote or event of the Summit. Here is what they had to say.

For Jennifer Iacovelli

For Elizabeth Atalay

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For Tes Solomon Silverman

For me, Two things stuck: Carolyn Miles of Save the Children talking about refugees: “Refugees are people with skills great for opportunities”. And Tiq Milan, Journalist & Spokesperson for GLAAD re: LGBTQ in the Media: “My existence may complicate yours, but it doesn’t invalidate yours.”

For Jennifer Burden

“The UNICEF vigil for refugee children was the most moving for me. Standing in a crowd, holding up candles near the UN and listening to the stories of 4 children from around the world who were refugees was incredibly important and moving. The story of the boy who was kidnapped and was going to be sold if his parents didn’t pay ransom broke my heart. And when the high school choir sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” at the end, I lost it.”

For Nicole Morgan

Loved this … Imagine a world where children are innoculated for measles AND cancers. This is not about some day … but a moment, the days, a month … there is much we can do. #cancermoonshot is about never giving up. It is about promise. And hope. VP Joe Biden.

For all of us

Being together with such wonderful like-minded friends who we could share our hopes, our dreams and our fears together was amazing. Often during our busy lives as a mother, we don’t get much time to spend together with each other. It was amazing, inspiring and fun.

I was so moved by the Social Good Summit and the dedication, enthusiasm and commitment people have towards changing the world and making a more equitable place. Despite the immense challenges, there is hope. We can’t give up. We all must do our share.

This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Nicole Melancon.

In your mind what is the most pressing Sustainable Development Goal?

Nicole Melancon (USA)

Third Eye Mom is a stay-at-home mom living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her two children Max (6) and Sophia (4). Her children keep her continually busy and she is constantly amazed by the imagination, energy and joy of life that they possess! A world wanderer at heart, she has also been fortunate to have visited over 30 countries by either traveling, working, studying or volunteering and she continues to keep on the traveling path. A graduate of French and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she met her husband Paul, she has always been a Midwest gal living in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Chicago. This adventurous mom loves to be outside doing anything athletic (hiking, running, biking, skiing, snowshoeing or simply enjoying nature), to travel and volunteer abroad, to write, and to spend time with her beloved family and friends. Her latest venture involves her dream to raise enough money on her own to build and open a brand-new school in rural Nepal, and to teach her children to live compassionately, open-minded lives that understand different cultures and the importance of giving back to those in need. Third Eye Mom believes strongly in the value of making a difference in the world, no matter how small it may be. If there is a will, there is a way, and that anything is possible (as long as you set your heart and mind to it!). Visit her on her blog, Thirdeyemom, where she writes about her travels and experiences in other lands!

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WORLD VOICE: Embracing Diversity & The European Refugee Crisis

WORLD VOICE: Embracing Diversity & The European Refugee Crisis

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 9.26.15 PM

Photo Credit: Jennifer Lovallo

In a time where one’s ethnicity is being questioned or disregarded, as evidenced by the treatment of Syrian refugees, I thought it timely as one of the topics at the recent Social Good Summit.

I’ve attended the Social Good Summit three times, and each time, I came away wanting to be involved more than I ever had before. The topics ranged from human rights to AIDS activism and most importantly this year, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that are being discussed and implemented by 2030. One of the speakers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, spoke about the importance of being involved at a time of intolerance. The topic was titled “Refugees: The Route to Resettlement” and the panelists outlined what must be done to resolve this issue.

For UNHCR Guterres, it wasn’t just Syrian refugees that need to be addressed as he states, “let’s not forget that 86% of refugees are in the developing world”. It’s become almost “normal” to hear about refugees from Syria looking to resettle, but that’s where the problem lies. Developed countries like the US and Europe should be taking in more refugees, but whether it’s a matter of logistics or fear of being replaced, it has affected the plight of Syrians. Currently, there are more than 4 million Syrian refugees displaced globally and while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced this September that the United States would accept 200,000 refugees, that is a fraction of those who are currently displaced. For Guterres, it’s not enough that we open our doors wide; he believes that the international community must do more and time is of the essence if these issues are to be resolved. These “refugees” should not be shunned but embraced because “diversity is a richness, not a problem”.

Another panelist who made an impassioned plea to find some solutions for this issue was UNCHR Ambassador of Goodwill Ger Duany. Duany was a former child soldier, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, until he fled to the United States in 1994. For Duany, being a former refugee makes him a great barometer for what could be the future of refugees. When he became a political prisoner, he turned his life around and has become an example of what one can accomplish given the chance.

What is becoming dangerous at this time and affects the future of anyone looking for asylum are the economic ramifications that result from helping them resettle. In addition to economic instability, there is a pattern of xenophobia that is being experienced in Lebanon, Jordan and currently, Europe. Xenophobia is an unfortunate byproduct of the unknown, but it should not shape or affect how we treat others, especially those who are in danger.

It is necessary that as a society, we remember that so many of us came from places where we were forced to leave our homes, families and lives. It is vital to remember that without “refugees” our society would not have the richness of cultures that we have today.

It is disconcerting that a “refugee” , whose primary goal is to find a safe haven for themselves and their families, has evoked negative responses from those who feel threatened by their presence.

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Photo Credit: Jennifer Lovallo

As someone whose parents came to this country to escape martial law in the Philippines, it is heartbreaking to see photos and read of the plight of these refugees, seeking asylum and freedom from their suffering. As a wife and mother of a teen, I can only imagine how I would be if I were ever in the same situation. My family was lucky to have escaped from a dictatorship, but I also know that it could have gone quite differently.

While the Social Good Summit has come and gone, there is more work to do if we are to solve the refugee crisis at hand. The SDG’s and conversations are great starting points, but concrete actions are needed to ensure that refugees are not ignored or forgotten. It is my hope that the implementation of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals will propel actions to resolve this crisis.

Does your own family have a history that includes a refugee tale?

643977_4650501065206_366589375_nThis is an original post written for World Moms Blog by guest  contributor Tes Silverman of www.pinayperspective.com

Tes Silverman was born in the Manila, Philippines and has been a New Yorker for more than 30 years. Moving from the Philippines to New York opened the doors to the possibility of a life of writing and travel. Before starting a family, she traveled to Iceland, Portugal, Brussels, and France, all the while writing about the people she met through her adventures. After starting a family, she became a freelance writer for publications such as Newsday’s Parents & Children and various local newspapers. Four years ago, she created her blog, The Pinay Perspective. PinayPerspective.com is designed to provide women of all ages and nationalities the space to discuss the similarities and differences on how we view life and the world around us. As a result of her blog, she has written for BlogHer.com and been invited to attend and blog about the Social Good Summit and Mom+Social Good. Currently residing in Huntington, NY with her husband, sixteen year-old daughter and nine year-old Morkie, she continues to write stories of women and children who make an impact in their communities and provide them a place to vocalize their passions.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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SOCIALGOOD: World Moms’ Top Highlights at #2030NOW

SOCIALGOOD: World Moms’ Top Highlights at #2030NOW

Melinda Gates being interviewed at the Social Good Summit in New York City on September 22, 2014.

Melinda Gates being interviewed at the Social Good Summit in New York City on September 22, 2014.

“The Social Good Summit is the Grassroots equivalent of the UN General Assembly” – NY Times Journalist and author, Nicholas Kristof

Five editors from World Moms Blog attended the Social Good Summit in New York City this past weekend. So, what’s the best way to get a wrap-up of the event? We asked them all to tell us their highlights from the weekend.  Here’s what they had to say…

Kyla P’an of “Growing Muses” and WMB Managing Editor responds, 

Since I started writing and editing for World Moms Blog four years ago, I’ve been hearing about the Social Good Summit. Since the first time WMB founder, Jen Burden, attended — outfitted with baby sling and infant–back in 2011, I’ve been curious. Curious about the format, curious about the attendees, curious about the messaging. Today, I assuaged that curiosity by attending day two of the two-day summit. In concert with the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA to industries insiders), the Summit pulls together journalists, bloggers, foreign press,  grass-roots activists and social entrepreneurs.

Together with fellow Sr. Editors, Elizabeth Atalay, Nicole Melancon and our tireless founder, Jen burden, we attended social enterprise boot camps, UN Foundation Fellows workshops, panel discussions and keynote addresses, interviews with philanthropists and entrepreneurs. The day was a series of sound bites. Presenters spoke for as little as five minutes or as long as 37. The topic and hashtag was 2030 Now but why that was chosen remains a bit of a mystery to me. And though I did not walk away from the actual summit feeling changed, I didn’t walk away unaltered.

Here are my three highlights: Robin Roberts interview with Melinda Gates; the Ugandan rappers Weasel and Radio who performed at the Every Woman, Every Child reception; and the exclusive briefing with Save the Children, the ONE Campaign, the Gates Foundation and actor Idris Elba. So would I drive eight hours round trip for 24-hours of Social Good again? In a heartbeat!

Jennifer Burden, Founder & CEO of World Moms Blog, says,

1.  The Social Media Fellows lunch with Adepeju Jaiyeoba, a human rights lawyer and activist from Nigeria. Adepeju founded motherskit.org, which has distributed over 7,000 birth kits to mothers in Nigeria. Her passion for rocketing my interest in advocating for the health of women was contagious, tearful and inspiring all at the same time. And, yes, I know what you are thinking — we immediately connected her to World Moms Blog contributor, Kirsten Zalota of Cleanbirth.org, who distributes birth kits in Laos. They are planning a Skype chat already!

2. I found the conversations that came up in our Social Media Fellows session with MAMA on the topic of family planning important and sad. My wish is that more woman can have control over when they have babies and how many they have, which leads me to my only regret about the Summit — not being able to stay later in the evening for the Engender Health event, which launched the “WTFP?!” campaign, meaning, “Where’s the Family Planning?”.  Engender Health has been working for decades towards maternal health and family planning, and this campaign focuses on women’s health in the developing world. I hope to hear more about their work on family planning in the future!

3. Seeing the Summit for the first time this year through the eyes of World Moms, Kyla P’an and Sarah Hughes. Kyla has been integral to the editing of our site for years, and I am thankful she joined us in NYC to experience the global conversations we both, report on and contribute to.  Sarah, also new to the event, has been a social media editor at World Moms Blog. She covered the Summit on Sunday on our World Moms Blog Facebook page, and I can sum up her enthusiasm in a picture:

World Moms Blog Editor Sarah Hughes

Awwwww! Go, Sarah, go!

World Voice editors, Elizabeth Atalay and Nicole Melancon, seasoned Social Good Summit attendees, were (as always!) active and important parts of global conversation!

Sarah Hughes of “Finnegan and the Hughes” and WMB Social Media Editor, writes: 

I loved everything about Social Good Summit!!  The air was filled with excitement and possibility.  The overall vibe of changing the world was apparent and obvious. Here are my top three highlights from the event!:

1. Meeting Susan Can, Director of Corporate Equity in the Global Marketing for Johnson & Johnson.  Susan and I had breakfast together and chatted about the importance of maternal health.  We chatted about J&J mobile health iniative Text4Baby and how it is helping underserved mothers in the US.

2. Listening to Graca Machel telling us we must NOT leave any woman behind!! Hearing her speak with such authority and assertiveness in her tone really left me feeling like we CAN do this and we MUST!

3. I left feeling sad after the session on maternal and infant health and how far off we are on reaching MDG 4 and MDG5.  My passion is maternal and infant health and it just seems like we are failing our world mothers by not doing better.  Yes, some are trying but it’s just not enough and I want to know how to do more and WHAT to do!

Elizabeth Atalay of “Documama” and WMB Senior Editor, writes:

I had to stop and think when a friend asked what it was about the Social Good Summit that I loved so much. “Was it the connections, the panels, or the events surrounding it?”,  she wondered. I decided that most of all it was the culture of the event, where the room is full of innovators and change makers that I find so inspiring.

The Social Good Summit makes me feel like I have a finger on the pulse of the Social Good movement.

I confess to at times being torn between socializing with all of the amazing people there doing cool things, sitting in the auditorium taking notes and hanging on every word of the amazing speakers in the line up, or catching sound bites, and photo ops in the media lounge. It is always refreshing to spend the couple of days with like minded global optimists as passionate as I am about making a difference in the world.

My highlights this year were:

1. Attending the Every Woman Every Child #MDG456Live event where we ran into our friend Phil Carroll from Save the Children, danced to Ugandan pop stars and then got to catch up with other World Moms and friends at an amazing South African restaurant.

2. Sitting in with the Social Good Fellows and Shot@Life director Devi Thomas to learn about another UN Foundation initiative the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action referred to as MAMA.

3. Listening to my hero Melinda Gates talk about her plans for putting women and girls on the forefront of the global agenda and just being in close proximity to her greatness.

4. Getting a debriefing at a round table discussion with ONE, Save The Children and the Gates Foundation on the Ebola crisis from Actor Idris Elba,  President of Save The Children Carolyn Miles, Jamie Drummond co-founder of ONE, and Dr. Chris Elias President of global Development for the Gates Foundation. Discussing the “Trillion Dollar Scandal” report on transparency, and the continuing Syrian refugee crisis.

As always I leave the Social Good Summit completely inspired and at the same time a bit overwhelmed with information. Amazing, powerful, and hopeful information.

Nicole Melancon of Thirdeyemom and WMB Editor says: This was my third year attending the Social Good Summit and each year it gets better and better. After two, highly intense and emotionally charged days I walk away inspired to use my voice to promote good and help change the world. For me, the key highlights were the fact that we are fortunate to live in a world where we have a voice so let’s use it. Let’s engage in the issues that mean the most to use, and use our voice to disrupt the system and ignite change. So many people around the world do not have this power and freedom to use their voice and now it is more important than ever to be heard. Where do we want to be in 2030 is up to us. So what kind of world do we want? It is up to us.

World Moms, Elizabeth Atalay, Kyla P'an and Nicole Melancon at the Social Good Summit in NYC.

World Moms, Elizabeth Atalay, Kyla P’an and Nicole Melancon at the Social Good Summit in NYC.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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USA: Who Cares? WE Care. #2030NOW

USA: Who Cares? WE Care. #2030NOW

#Moms4MDGs! World Moms Blog editors, Elizabeth Atalay, Jennifer Burden & Nicole Melancon pose with the ONE Campaign's Jeannine Harvey just before heading into UN Headquarters.

#Moms4MDGs! World Moms Blog editors, Elizabeth Atalay, Jennifer Burden & Nicole Melancon pose with the ONE Campaign’s Jeannine Harvey and writer Jennifer Barbour just before heading into UN Headquarters in New York City on September 23, 2013.

In the late 1970s, a popular saying then was, “Who cares?” — equivalent to the “Whatever!”, which was more frequently used by myself and my peers decades later. Back in the day, my older teenage family members and friends would use the “Who cares?” in natural conversation when I was running around the house as a toddler. I would immediately respond by turning my head to one side and saying, “I care!” My family found this entertaining, and they kept saying, “Who cares?”, to get me to do the silly head turn. (Yep. I just admitted that.)

Too young to explain then, I still remember why I turned my head. I wanted them to know that someone cared, but I didn’t want anybody to know it was me.

Fast forward 30 something years later, and I have found a place where fellow “I Care!” folks convene. Like a Trekkie at a Star Trek conference, I was among the masses of people “Who Care” at the Social Good Summit this year, including Richard Branson, Melinda Gates (who follows World Moms Blog!), Al Gore, will.i.am and Malala.

This year was World Moms Blog’s third year in attendance at the event, which is a “three day conference where big ideas meet new media to create innovative solutions” that coincides with the UN’s General Assembly in New York City.

Nicole Morgan, Jennifer Barbour, Jeannine Harvey, Elizabeth Atalay, Kelly Pugliano and Jennifer Burden at the Social Good Summit September 24th, 2013 in NYC.

Nicole Morgan, Jennifer Barbour, Jeannine Harvey, Elizabeth Atalay, Kelly Pugliano and Jennifer Burden at the Social Good Summit September 24th, 2013 in NYC.

The first year in 2011, our website was less than one year old, and I attended with my husband in tow to help me watch my baby girl. I knew not a soul, and stepped out of my comfort zone to do things like introduce myself to super model Christy Turlington Burns after being inspired by her session on working alongside bloggers to improve global maternal health. I also connected further with the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, which I later traveled to Uganda with last year and the GAVI Alliance, for which we have hosted global tea parties in support of life-saving vaccines for children.

Our second year at the summit in 2012, World Moms Blog had newly made the FORBES list of “Top 100 Websites for Women 2012” for our first of two times, and I couldn’t wait to listen to and meet Moira Forbes, who heads FORBES Woman. By this time I had roped some amazing, like-minded friends from my blogging circle into the conference, too — Nicole Melancon of Third Eye Mom and Elizabeth Atalay of Documama. They are the World Voice editors at World Moms Blog and cover social good and human rights.

That year, we met some incredible people, such as Nicholas Kristoff, coauthor of “Half the Sky“, a must-read book on the nightmare realities of modern day slavery.  The summit was also a great opportunity for a reunion with fellow Shot@Life Champions, whom we had met earlier that year at training in Washington, D.C. in support of global vaccines, and our fellow #ONEMoms who support eradicating global poverty.

Our third time at the Social Good Summit this past September, our World Moms Blog team expanded, and I was also thrilled to be invited as a #2030NOW “Global Influencer” Fellow by the UN Foundation and Plus Social Good.

#2030NOW Global Influencers

I attended small “Master Class” private sessions throughout the conference and networked with some new amazing peers. One of which was Wall Street power house, Whitney Johnson, who recently named me to her list of the few people who made a lasting impression at the Social Good Summit. I am entirely humbled. The list also includes one of my total heroes who spoke at the Social Good Summit, Malala, the brave girl in Pakistan who was shot in the face by the Taliban and addresses the world on the importance of education girls.

I also got the chance to rub elbows with the fiery Feminista Jones, who is not afraid to stand up in a room of over achievers and a princess and give an effortless tirade on why AIDS is killing black women in America at alarming rates and no one seems to care. I didn’t know if I wanted to hug or tweet her afterwards. We were discussing HIV/AIDS with HRH Mette-Marit, the Crowned Princess of Norway to add some context here.

In addition to the #2030NOW Global Influencers team, the Shot@Life Champions and #ONEMoms, I was also proud to be part of another social good posse. We’re made up of women who happen to also be moms and writers, and we all live for this helping people all over the world stuff. It’s in our blood. And it matters.

Nicole and Elizabeth came back this year, and we added Nicole Morgan, Kelly Pugliano, Jennifer Barbour and the former Miss Tanzania and Miss Africa World  and current social entrepreneur, Nancy Sumari to our pack. Nancy happened to be in NYC on a work-cation, and meeting her was a total highlight!

World Moms Blog contributors took the stage at the Social Good Summit, too!  LaShaun Martin spoke on the “Mothers Connect” panel with Johnson & Johnson and Shot@Life, and Nicole Morgan was asked to speak on her wishes for her children on the same panel. Well done, World Moms!

This year our normal schedule was also highlighted by additional invitations from ONE.org, WaterAid, Save the Children, Shot@Life, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Women Deliver, and the GAVI Alliance to talk social good and network outside of the summit. This included two invitations to UN Headquarters for discussions, one on Millennial Factivism with ONE.org and Okay Africa and another on Harnessing the Power of Global Public-Private Partnerships with the GAVI Alliance and the Global Fund. We have learned so much that we’ll carry along with us.

For example, at a private meeting with Mark Suzman, Managing Director of International Policy and Programs for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he gave us a stat that I have continued to turn over and over in my head ever since,

“In Ethiopia 1 in 15 children die before the age of 5 years old.  But, not too long ago that statistic had been 1 in 5 children.”  A true reminder that the world is making progress when it comes to the Millennium Development Goals, but there is still much work to be done.

There were internal lessons for us on gaining the self-confidence to speak up and carry out our work, too. For example, being at a press event when they’re fielding questions for Carolyn Miles, the CEO of Save the Children, about refugee children in Syria and the questions were coming from TIME Magazine, ABC and….well, World Moms Blog. (We care about kids!)

#Moms4MDGs -- Nancy Sumari, Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, Nicole Melancon, Elizabeth Atalay, Jennifer Burden and Jennifer Barbour just after a discussion on children refugees from the Syrian conflict. September 23, 2013 in NYC.

#Moms4MDGs in NYC — Nancy Sumari; Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, Nicole Melancon; Elizabeth Atalay; Jennifer Burden; and Jennifer Barbour just after a discussion on children refugees from the Syrian conflict. Sept. 23, 2013.

Or going through UN Headquarters security with fellow World Mom and Sister from Another Mister, Nicole Morgan, with our matching bright green luggage that we had both received as gifts from the Disney Social Media Moms conference amongst high level foreign diplomats.

We went from sharing a seat at the “It’s a Small World” ride together in May at Walt Disney World to being invited to the UN headquarters during the General Assembly in September. It really is a small world after all.

Our global posse is rooting together for the good of the world, and we’re also always pushing, encouraging, growing like a snowball and making it easier for each other to do more. The Social Good Summit has proved a great place to connect World Moms Blog with the United Nations and with organizations working towards a better life for mothers and children around the globe, an important part of our mission. Our contributors, in turn, are bringing big ideas to media, just like the creation of our #Moms4MDGs campaign to raise awareness for the UN’s goals to end poverty inspired by our editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India. I can’t wait to see what these women will do next!

And we all care very much, dammit. (Turns head to the side to stretch neck from working at the computer screen too long.)

This is an original post by World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden of NJ, USA. Keep an eye out for more from our contributors about the important global issues we were briefed on. And join our #Moms4MDGs twitter parties each month, where we talk about one global issue (UN Millennium Development Goal) per month.  The next ones are October 16th, 2013 at 1pm and 9pm EST. Click our details in our sidebar, too! 

Photo credits to Nicole Melancon, Elizabeth Atalay, Nancy Sumari and the #2030Now Global Influencer team!

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, ONE.org, 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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