Social Good Summit 2014 kicks off in Beijing

Sep 23, 2014

UNDP, Gates Foundation and Chinese Social Media for Social Good Alliance members will launch a month-long social media campaign.

The 2014 Global Social Good Summit Beijing was held today at the UN Compound in Beijing. Organised by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the event promoted China’s best practices and continuing commitment to using cutting-edge technology in promoting social good. Members of the China Social Media for Social Good Alliance joined the event, including Sina, Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba, Renren and Guokr, alongside other interested media giants and online platforms to share their experiences and vision for the future.

A global event for the past 3 years, the Social Good Summit is held annually with this year’s event focusing on the theme “Connecting for Good, Connecting for All”. Co-organised by the Centre for Social Media Research under the School of Journalism and Communication of the Peking University, the summit emphasised that the world is more interconnected than ever before and organisations therefore need to explore more deeply how technology and innovation can promote social welfare.

“Let us bring together local leaders, entrepreneurs, experts and civil society organisations to work towards our common goal of equality for all global citizens,” said Patrick Haverman, Deputy Country Director of UNDP China. “Indeed, this summit aims to challenge both speakers and participants to explore how technology, innovation and new media can help advance the cause of greater equality for all by the year 2030.” This year’s summit aimed to surpass last years’, when over 60 countries took part and generated a global conversation with over 70,000 tweets and impacted 100 million people across the globe.

“Countries use social media very differently, and it's dependent on their particular cultures. But I do think China is setting an incredible example in terms of the way that major social media companies put aside the competition when they formed an alliance for social good,” Dr. Ray Yip, Director of China Country Office at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said, “We believe that such strong partnership and the global conversation it facilities and promotes will help further realize the potential of new communications technologies in empowering people to lead healthy and productive lives wherever they are.”

Alongside the Gates Foundation and the Social Media for Social Good Alliance, the summit worked to raise consciousness of key social issues, including global warming, poverty alleviation, anti-smoking awareness and connecting people. It succeeded in generating discussions and opening dialogue with postings and video on Chinese social media.

During the event, social media best practice case studies were shared by UNDP, Gates Foundation and strategic partners like Sina, Alibaba and Tencent to showcase China’s continuing efforts to be at vanguard of social media usage for increasing social awareness, topics including how UN uses big data and social media to solve development issues, Sina’s localization of the Ice Bucket Challenge, Tencent and Alibaba’s practices in exploring the value of big data in supporting philanthropy industry.

The end of the summit is not the end of the endeavor. Over the next month UNDP, Gates Foundation and Chinese Social Media for Social Good Alliance members will be promoting a month-long social media campaign which includes a series of fun topics like #StayCool and #1.25Challenge, to raise awareness of the dangers of global warming and the plight of those still living under the global poverty line of $1.25/day, and call for creative ideas on how to #Say No to Forced Smoking, aiming to raise awareness of the harm of tobacco.

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