The Good News & What Was Announced
Ted Turner took the stage at 1 p.m. to talk about Next Generation Leadership. His words of advice? “Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell and advertise.”
Though only half-joking, Turner offered some more choice words which he received from Jacques Cousteau: “Even if we don’t know if we’re going to make it, what else can men of good consciousness do but fight into the bitter end… I’ve got a lot of flags on my boat,” he continued. “But I don’t have a white flag.”
Another bright spot was a panel featuring philanthropist Monique Coleman and UN Under-Secretary-General Valerie Amos. Coleman spoke about how youths can get involved with social good projects and how pop culture can help. “Young people are talking about Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber, but you can make them aware, within that, of what’s happening in Somalia, for example,” Coleman said. The good-natured talk even saw Amos offer Coleman a job.
One Young World, an online forum where youths can talk about global issues, featured some of its teenage ambassadors at the Social Good Summit– one from the U.S., one from Malaysia and one from Cape Town. Scott Harrison, charity: water’s Founder and CEO, announced the launch of a new campaign called Dollars to Projects, which tracks and provides feedback to all donors of what’s happening with charity: water’s global projects.
Howard W. Buffett announced the launch of LearnedByGiving.org, a website and education program to teach youths how to better invest and become the world’s next leader.
Where We Need to Improve
It wasn’t all sunshine at the Summit, as some of the speakers mentioned the areas where philanthropists need to improve. Turner spoke on the need for better communication: “We have enormous global communications today that we didn’t have 100 years ago, and we can do things today that we couldn’t 100 years ago and more should be expected of us… it’s no longer you or me, it’s you and me, and we’re either going to make it together or not at all.”
Nicholas Negroponte, Chairman and Founder of One Laptop per Child, spoke on how to bring education to a swathe of children in developing countries. His organization is leading a social experiment to see if his laptops can help children across the globe teach themselves how to read. Perhaps with a hint of disappointment, he said in 2001 that his computers were a huge hit in impoverished nations because they were the brightest light in the house.
Simon Mainwaring, founder and author of We First, talked about the tricky relationship between brands and philanthropy and cited an Edelman study that consumer trust in businesses to do the right thing has dropped 8 points in the past year.
The ugly included some of the most shocking stats brought up at the Summit. Coleman said teen suicide was the number one cause of teen death in countries including the United States, Australia and Japan, partially due to enormous social pressures on today’s youth. She saw volunteerism as a way out. “If we spent less time in the mirror and more in activism, I don’t think that would be the case,” she said.
Negroponte also had some shocking numbers about literacy in Afghanistan. He said 25% of the teachers in Afghanistan are technically illiterate, while the next highest 25% of teachers have only had one more year of higher education than the kids they are teaching.