Sep 27, 2010

At the UN Week Digital Media Lounge

I spent two days last week in New York, having been invivted by Oxfam to cover the events of UN Week, and the Summit on the Millennium Development Goals. These were the final two days, and they were packed full with many great events happening Here I highlight just a few of the many inspirational, informative, and occasionally troubling events that highlighted UN Week Digital Media Lounge.

Thursday morning kicked off with an Oxfam breakfast disccussion about the Pakistani flood, which is affecting more people than the Tsunami of 2004, the Earthquake in Haiti, or Hurricane Katrina. The guest speaker was Dr. Donya Aziz, Pakistan’s youngest MP, and a long term advocate for health, education and womens empowerment in Pakistan. The program was moderated by Øistein Moskvil Thorsen, a humanitarian campaigner for the Oxfam. While by now it is common knowledge among international humanitarians that

The discussion focussd on the continuing effects of the flood. While it has been more than a month since the flood began, 430 people have been killed, more than 20 million people have been affected, thousands of whom remain in desperate need of aid, Dr. Aziz highlighted important aspects of catastrophe that rarely heard from conventional media. For example, a massive amount of crops were destroyed in the flood, which occurred soon before the seasonal harvast, so one of the lingering effects of the flood will be a massive food shortage and the economic impact of food shock.

While Dr. Aziz was talking about the flood and its devastation in Pakistan, USAID Administrator Dr. Raj Shah took part in a discussion moderated by Sen. Tim Wirth, Presidentof the UN Foundation. Though USAID has made major contributions o humanitarian aid relief in Pakistan, Shah took the opportunity to discuss a different issue, he Obama Administration’s domestic and international economic development. He made special mention of public-private partnerships, and the importance of bringing in businesses to invest more in global health problems. As an example, he invoked the work of Coca-Cola and their announcement to empower five million female entrepreneurs by 2020. Shah also spoke of “mutual accountability” as the fundamental driver of how USAID wants to operate.

The week also included the annual reveal of the top ten CNN Heroes of 2010. This is an annual television special created by CNN to honor individuals making extraordinary contributions to helping others. This year’s panel of judges included Muhammad Ali the former champion boxer.

The UN Week Digital Media Lounge was presented by Mashable, 92Y and the UN Foundation. The summit consisted of a week’s worth of activities revolving around how social media can be used to tackle some of the world’s social challenges and issues.