United Nations Foundation & Vodafone Foundation Co-Sponsor UN Global Pulse’s Cutting Edge Program during Social Media Week

Sessions Explore The Opportunities Of Real-Time Technologies In Humanitarian Work

February 7, 2011


Megan Rabbitt



Sarah Hiller                                 Chris Van der Walt
UN Foundation                             UN Global Pulse
shiller@unfoundation.org              vanderwalt@un.org
(202) 887-9040                           (646) 283-0177

As part of the February 7-11 Social Media Week in New York City, UN Global Pulse, a project of the UN Secretary-General’s office, in association with PSFK and Helsinki Group, will organize two days of discussions examining how open, social, real-time technologies are changing the relationships between people and institutions around the world, including the United Nations.

Discussions will explore three critical areas that directly influence the future of institutions: First, what is the role of crowds with institutions, and what must institutions do to engage these crowds?  Second, how are these technologies changing operations on the ground, and what are the operational opportunities and challenges? And third, what does the future of institutions look like in a global, social, real-time world?

The United Nations Foundation & Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership, which leverages wireless technologies to support and strengthen humanitarian work, is pleased to sponsor UN Global Pulse’s participation in Social Media Week, and the exploration of how technology can be leveraged to detect and defuse humanitarian crises before they begin.


A two-day program, running concurrently with other sessions during Social Media Week, for experts in humanitarian aid, social media and technology entitled “Open United Nations: Engagement in the Age of Real-Time,” in which the UN Global Pulse team will facilitate panel discussions, presentations and a keynote session, all co-sponsored by United Nations Foundation & Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership.


Tuesday, Feb. 8, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: Google Headquarters – 76 Ninth Ave.
Tuesday’s agenda features a panel discussion on the strategies and timing of maximizing “crowd” engagement.

Thursday, Feb. 10, 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.: Paley Center for Media – 25 West 52nd St.
Thursday’s agenda features a presentation by the trend-spotting company PSFK on the findings from its report “The Future of Real Time,” produced for Global Pulse; the keynote speech by UN Global Pulse Director Robert Kirkpatrick; followed by consecutive panel discussions on real-time citizen engagement in relief and development efforts, and critical transformations by local and global organizations to adapt to real-time technologies. 


To register for free, visit http://socialmediaweek.org/newyork.  For background, press credentials, or interviews, contact shiller@unfoundation.org or vanderwalt@un.org.


Panelists will include:
•    Mr. Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Planning, United Nations (Thursday’s panel)
•    Mr. Clay Shirky, Adjunct Professor, Interactive Telecommunications Program, NYU (Thursday’s panel)
•    Mr. Zia Khan, Vice President, Strategy and Evaluation, Rockefeller Foundation (Thursday’s panel)
•    Mr. Carne Ross, Founder, Independent Diplomat (Thursday’s panel)
•    Ms. Soraya Darabi, Co-founder, Foodspotting and Digital Strategist to ABC News (Tuesday’s panel)
•    Mr. Mark Belinsky, Co-Director, Digital Democracy (Thursday’s panel)
•    Mr. John Crowley, Research Coordinator, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (Thursday’s panel)
•    Ms. Katrin Verclas, Co-founder and Editor, MobileActive.org (Thursday’s panel)
•    Mr. Ivan Sigal, Executive Director, Global Voices (Tuesday’s panel)

About The UN Foundation & Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership
The Technology Partnership between the United Nations Foundation & Vodafone Foundation is a leading public-private alliance using technology programs to strengthen the UN’s humanitarian efforts worldwide.  Created in October 2005 with a £10 million commitment from The Vodafone Foundation matched by £5 million from the UN Foundation, the Partnership has three core areas of focus: (1) to strengthen communications in humanitarian emergencies though capacity building and support for disaster response missions; (2) to support the development of mobile health (mHealth) programs that tackle critical public health challenges and improve public health systems, decision-making and, ultimately, patient outcomes; and (3) to promote research and innovation using technology as a tool for international development. The UN Foundation and The Vodafone Foundation are among the founding partners of the mHealth Alliance. More information about the Technology Partnership can be found at: www.unfoundation.org/vodafone.

About UN Global Pulse
Established in 2009, Global Pulse (www.unglobalpulse.org) is a project based in the Secretary-General’s Office at the United Nations focused on harnessing innovation to provide real-time information about populations affected by slow-onset crises, especially slow-onset crises. Global Pulse is currently developing new analytical approaches, innovation laboratories and technologies to provide governments and UN agencies with the capacity to understand the impact of shocks on communities, to better facilitate timely and effective responses to protect the vulnerable.

About Helsinki Group
Helsinki Group (www.helsinkigroup.net) is a collaborative strategy and design firm. We work with forward- thinking executives in the public and private sector to cultivate design and innovation programs that capitalize on change.

About PSFK
PSFK is the go-to source for new ideas for creative business. We are a New York City based trends research and innovation company that publishes a daily news site (www.psfk.com), provides trends research and innovation consultancy, manages a network of freelance experts (www.purplelist.com) and hosts idea-generating events. We aim to inspire our readers, our clients and our guests to make things better – whether that’s better products, better services, better lives or a better world.