How to Discover the Obvious Answer to Positively Change the World at a UN Summit

Robert Barbe, one of this year's Blogger Fellows, tells us how the Social Good Summit taught him how to change the world.

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I sat down with a piping hot second cup of sustainably sourced coffee next to journalists and social media coordinators warming up their laptops, tablets and phones. We waited within the Digital Media Lounge on the second floor adjacent to the main auditorium. The air of anticipation grew heavy as the numbers on the clock moved past the planned start time. What we were we all waiting for? The 2017 United Nations' Social Good Summit – a conference of world leaders, activists, and change-makers from around the globe. Hopefully they would tell us how we could make positive changes in the world. As Ambassador to HoistPoint, I was eager to key in on the clues for the answers to unraveling the challenges we face.

“I am ready to listen, just give me the answer!” My mind echoed this sentiment as my eyes focused on the large projector screen set up in the Digital Media Lounge. The screen showed a dimly blue lit stage. A #2030Now sign stood above the couch where the speakers would sit. “I want the answer now, too much is at stake.” The clock showed 10:33am. We are behind schedule.

Then the main stage lights grew brighter. Finally, the Summit had started. From roughly 10:30 am to 7pm, more than 50 speakers told concise and heart-felt stories of their life’s work and lessons learned. I laughed with Whoopi Goldberg as she openly hoped more people could have great, safe sex. Tears welled up as MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell nearly lost his composure reading a young Malawi’s girl’s poem about hope, “Little by little we go”. My eyes widened in horror at the refugee statistics told by Philippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees: the average duration of a displaced refugee is upwards of 20 years if they have not been resettled in five years; less than half of refugee kids go to a primary school; human trafficking risks for refugees are at ever increasing levels worldwide.[1]

As I listened to each one of the speakers, the answer, the silver bullet for solving our world’s injustices, did not seem as transparent as I had hoped. Or was it?

The Summit reminded me there is no single technology or social media trick to save the world. To dramatically move against the challenges of climate change, human trafficking, or education, people need to come together and support one another. Obviously, we are the solutions. Each of us, individually, needs to be willing to make a change. Furthermore, we need to go out and empower others to do so. As Whoopie put it: “You should help because you can!”

How can you realize your action for change? You can follow these three steps:

1. Listen

Listen to what the world is saying. Our collective history, mother nature, and the great thinkers both past and present all have a voice. Then listen to yourself. Reflect on how you uniquely fit into your community.

2. Be creative and hardworking

We are all very similar, but each one of us can creatively cultivate our own mind and heart. This takes hard-work and perseverance. Train yourself.

3. Build relationships

We are inherently social creatures and we rely on each other for our survival. Be kind to one another and respect the Golden Rule. Reach out to those who also have your same interests and listen to their stories. Ask what you can do for them.

If you have questions about these steps or about how you can help with creating positive change, check out www.TheHoistPoint.com and contact HoistPoint at Info@TheHoistPoint.com. We want to hear your story and work with you.



[1]              Wilson, Anne P. “Trafficking Risks for Refugees”. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. Balitmore, MD. 2011. 

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