Day 2 of the Social Good Summit was also very uplifting and attendees walked away with the clear directive to aim high and use your voice to affect change. Every talk was inspiring, but here are my top picks:
The Summit began with a big salute to the 17 UN Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) who were selected from more than 18,000 nominations. These leaders will work with the Office of the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth to engage young people on the most pressing SDGs. Winners included:
- Ankit Kawatra, Founder and Chairman of Feeding India, founded Feeding India in 2014 to address two issues at once – hunger and food waste.
- Trisha Shetty, Founder and CEO of SheSays, a platform to educate, rehabilitate and empower women to take direct action against sexual assault in India.
- Samir Mezghanni, a Tunisian-Iraqi author of over 100 short stories for children and 14 books focused on advocating for youth empowerment in Tunisia.
Actor Alec Baldwin spoke with Ecuadorian advocate Patricia Gualinga about the dangers of de-forestation on climate change. Patricia explained that in order to reach our SDGs on climate change, as well as follow the Paris Climate Agreement, we must focus on protecting our forests. Indigenous people from countries such as Ecuador are not receiving enough support from their government to protect against illegal logging and extracting industries, and as a result, carbon will release into the atmosphere at faster rates. Indigenous people don’t want their trees destroyed.
You could hear a pin drop as Vice President Joe Biden delivered a passionate speech on the Cancer Moonshot. He stated, “at no time in history have we had so much power… available to make a difference for so many people.” Biden believes that “we can double the rate of progress towards curing cancer in if we all work together.” So here’s what governments, cancer research centers, drug companies and health care systems around the globe must do:
- Data sharing and technology: Standardize data and make it easily accessible to researchers around the globe. Example: The Department of Energy will work with Norway to share cervical cancer screening data. Technology systems like IBM Watson can help researchers and clinicians work more efficiently.
- Redesigning cancer clinical trials: Bring the FDA and the private sector together to design smarter and more efficient clinical trials by modifying the criteria for who can participate and by sharing control groups across studies.
- Join with other nations to strengthen cancer research and treatment: To that end, Biden announced the creation of regional hubs funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), focusing on the cancers that pose the greatest problems in that region.
- Continue research on more targeted treatments: Immuno-oncology drugs have significantly advanced the way we treat the most intractable cancers, such as melanoma and lung cancer. These treatments work in ways never imaginable – by boosting immune systems instead of killing healthy cells.
I am looking forward to next year’s Summit and hearing about the amazing progress we have made across a number of critical issues, especially in the areas of global cancer control, antibiotic resistance, gender equality and climate change. Ultimately, almost everything discussed over the course of the Summit is rooted in behavior change programs that work at the individual, community and policy levels.