Denisha Hedgebeth is a 2014 UNA-USA Social Good Summit Blogger Fellow. View this post on her blog.
What kind of world do you want to live in by 2030? Got something in mind? Good – now what can we do now to make sure that that happens?
That was the main question floating around at this year’s Social Good Summit, which I had the honor of getting to attend this year. The first day of the conference kicked off on Sunday, Sept. 21, and it was an amazing experience. #2030Now was the hashtag of choice. With the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) quickly approaching its “deadline” (for lack of a better word), basically, what’s next? What have we accomplished and what still needs to be addressed? We’ve come a long way certainly, but we should celebrate our triumphs while still keeping in mind that we have a long way to go.
From Pharrell to Graca Machel to Mazin Khalil to Alicia Keys, it was an incredible line-up of speakers who are all clearly dedicated to not only starting the conversation about how to make the world a better place but also taking action.
It kicked off with a talk called “Welcome to the World: Happiness Gone Viral,” and the message of that, I think, was one of the most important and was pivotal to really establishing a basis for any type of social change: connection. It was a panel discussion with the always wonderful Pharrell, who start off discussing his song “Happy” and the international impact of the song. Not only that, but it really showed the importance that music can play in its universality. The song has spawned so many videos from Paris toVirginia Beach — Pharrell’s “24 hour music video” of Happy coincided with the International Day of Happiness on March 20th, which the UN General Assembly established in June 2012.
The talk was short but had a lot to soak in. He talked about the importance of focusing on the power of connectivity, and that’s what the international community. If we can connect through music, or if we can connect through the recent Humans of New York (which recently embarked on a “world tour” partnered with the United Nations to raise awareness about the Millennium Development Goals), which, through pictures and stories shows that we’re all human, then we can connect to find solutions to cure the troubles in this world.
Before anything else, people have to feel like they can connect – whether it’s through music, photos, dialogue, stories, social media creating greater global interconnectedness, etc. Before it began, I overheard two of the people behind me, and one of them was from Mexico while the other was from New York City, and they talking so excitedly about the summit. It’s all about connecting with each other.
As he brilliantly said, “we have to find the connected tissue if we’re going to be one body.”