OPINION

Peruvian-American Makes History At The U.N. Hosting First Media for Social Impact Summit

President Barack Obama chairs a meeting of the United Nations Security Council at the United Nations headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama chairs a meeting of the United Nations Security Council at the United Nations headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)  (AP2009)

As the United Nations advances its noble purpose to bring all nations of the world together, a recent survey reveals that percent of people do not find the U.N. relevant. Could it be possible that in an era of ultimate digital connectedness, the big and noble agendas of public and private organizations seem way too far removed from the daily issues of ‘normal’ everyday people?

This very dilemma was the catalyst behind a one-of-a-kind session making history on April 11. Two years in the making and spearheaded by Peruvian-American entrepreneur Sergio Fernández de Córdova, co-founder and chairman of the PVBLIC Foundation; the United Nations Office for Partnerships and the PVBLIC Foundation hosted the world’s first Media for Social Impact Summit.

Leveraging on Sergio’s vision to converge the private, non-profit and public sectors for social good, the meeting brought together cross-sector leaders who rarely come together to share on the same meeting, agenda or a project under the same roof.

My biggest takeaway was the realization that both private and public sectors are challenged in how to properly unleash the “social” part of the so-called social media world.

- Liliana Gil

I was among the more than 150 delegates including executives from the worlds of advertising, media, film, marketing, journalism and entertainment came together to strategize and spark cross-sector partnerships to further social progress nationally and globally.

“We have among us some furious minds,” said Roland Rich, U.N. Office for Partnerships during the event’s opening remarks.  

As someone who thrives in connecting the voice of multicultural communities with commercial opportunities for clients, I was inspired by a room where practicality overrode diplomacy. As one of the delegates noted “public and non-profit organizations can do better than those selling toothbrushes,” said Asi Burak, President of Games for Change, creators of the Half the Sky Facebook game.

“This is not a day of talking…This is a day to put our minds to work together,” said Peruvian-American entrepreneur Sergio Fernández de Córdova, co-founder of Fuel Outdoor Holdings and Co-Founder and Chairman of the PVBLIC Foundation.

A panelist of creative minds also put in question the relevancy of corporate social responsibility as we have known it. “Purpose is the new digital…in the next 20 years, purpose will be the bedrock of how we penetrate cultures and people. It’s a competitive advantage; it’s a market making ethos”, said Max Lenderman, Founder, ECD School.

A day of honest panelists, bold presenters and memorable projects that included inspirational movements like the KONY 2012 Experiment presented by Noelle West, Communications Director of Invisible Children, simple solutions like the Charity Miles app, and moving transformational content featured by Girl Rising, sparked breakthrough thinking among the delegates.

A number of awards were presented, including the Media for Social Impact Award to Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty”, the Media for Social Impact Lifetime Achievement Award which went  to former NFL player Steve Gleason, and the Media for Social Impact Award presented to Adrian Greiner, actor and co-founder of SHFT.com.

As a delegate, my biggest takeaway was the realization that both private and public sectors are challenged in how to properly unleash the “social” part of the so-called social media world. In a time when millions of citizen journalists break the news before major news outlets and 500 million tweets per day shape public opinion, politics and trends, the rules of the game must change to create sustainable impact from the ground-up.

"Entourage" actor Adrien Greiner adjourned the session with simple yet powerful words that summarize the spirit of the day by saying, “you have to speak the language of the people and telling the stories that people can relate to … speak clear and humble.” Now it is time to take action, and redefine the way we inspire and engage people to make sustainable impact in the world.

Lili Gil Valletta is an award-winning entrepreneur, multicultural marketing strategist, media contributor and co-founder of XL Alliance. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and member of the Harvard Kennedy School Women's Leadership Board.

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