Global People's Summit Seeks to Engage All in Social Impact Conversation

The Global People’s Summit +Social Good in partnership with the United Nations is trying to get people around the world involved with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

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Sep 21 2017, 8:00pm

Photo Courtesy of the Globals People's Summit

Rarely do young people get to have a seat at the table when it comes to discussing ways of making change happen on a global scale, but two social impact organizers have found a way to make young people part of the conversation.

Hazami Barmada is the creator of the Global People's Summit, a one-day online event in which people from around the world will have the opportunity to engage one another in conversations about how to solve some of the world's most pressing challenges. This is the first year that summit is taking place and Barmada has high hopes for what her team and participants will be able to accomplish.

"We amplify messages of people around the world and conversations and connect dots in the virtual space to enable making the world a better place a reality," Barmada told VICE Impact in an interview.

"Far too often the conversations around social impact happens in exclusive spaces, so people that have the privilege and the luxury to have access to passports and ability to travel have the ability to influence conversations,

Barmada and her colleague Erin Dunne, Operations and Partnerships Director for the summit, want to improve access for people who are excluded from these types of spaces due to a variety of social identity markers such as age or refugee status. One of the aims of the summit is to develop a place that democratizes access to information and creates collaborative spaces online.

"Far too often the conversations around social impact happens in exclusive spaces, so people that have the privilege and the luxury to have access to passports and ability to travel have the ability to influence conversations," Barmada said. "The change the world conversation should not be bound or limited to exclusivity."

Barmada came up with the idea for the Global People's Summit after working on similar events. In 2013 she organized the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Summit, that empowered young Arabs to make change within their region. Also, in 2015, she coordinated the UN's World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, which was an event that didn't have an inclusive policy for hopeful-attendees traveling on refugee papers. Barmada said that that final summit was a sign for her that the conference system is broken and from there the Global People's Summit was born.

This month world leaders gathered at UN Headquarters in New York City for the annual general assembly. Heads of State and human rights activists convened to address the most pressing issues facing the global community, particularly around 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The global goals are a series of objectives set in 2015 to improve social, economic and health disparities worldwide by 2030. The only problem is that the majority of these meetings are taking place in privileged spaces, with the exception of the Global People's Summit.

On the day of the summit, people will be able to take action such as asking speakers questions or connecting with others who have similar interests through people's hubs—virtual communities for developing ideas and relationships. There are three components to the summit: listening to speakers who are moving the needle on social progress, taking part in the activations through social media by pledging your individual commitment to the UN SDG's and learning social impact lessons.

The summit is working with more than 100 organizations and brands to support attendees with the resources they need to turn their ideas from thought into a reality. These partners represent different demographics, subject matters and communities who are leveraging their influence to help others become agents of change. Indiegogo is running a session on how to crowdfund and use online tools to raise money to finance your dreams. Also, on the summit set, Spotify is launching an activation asking people to share a "Song That Introduced You To A New Voice, Perspective or Worldview." The list of songs will then be curated and made into a playlist available through the streaming service.

"Success for us is how many people are inspired to really individualize the SDGs and the work of the United Nations."

"We partnered with over 100 community partners because we recognize that scale comes when you amplify networks of networks," Barmada said. "A lot of the activations they'll be putting out is around their own work and we encourage that because the reality is it's not one campaign or one action that's going to make global systems change."

When it comes to measuring the success of the summit Barmada and her team aren't solely interested in numbers and statistics. "Success for us is not just all the people who engage today," Barmada said. "Success for us is how many people are inspired to really individualize the SDGs and the work of the United Nations."

Following the summit, the UN SDG Action Campaign is having a global day of action on September 25 to celebrate the accomplishments made on each SDG. On that day, people can participate in local action to promote one or multiple SDGs and can share their actions using the hashtags #GlobalPeopleSummit and #ACT4SDG. Also, Barmada and her team plan to stay in touch with attendees who make public pledges so that the summit isn't just a one off-event.

For more ways to get involved, Barmada encourages everyone to learn and that education itself is an action.

"We want people to walk away with an education, more knowledge, inspired to take action and with tangible ways that they can make happen."

Read more:Here's What's Next for the UN as They Move Closer to Their Global Goals Deadline

The Global People's Summit stream kicks off Friday, September, 22 at 7:30 am EST and lasts until 4 pm EST. Anyone can join the conversation from anywhere in the world and can share their own news, stories and inspirations using #GlobalPeopleSummit. Here's how you can find more information on how to join.