Last week, as world leaders arrived in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly and Clinton Global Initiative, another conference was taking place with a focus on using innovation and technology to solve the world's greatest challenges. The Social Good Summit, created by Mashable in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and the 92nd Street Y, brings world famous activists and technologists together to make the world a better place.
The summit kicked off with a discussion between United Nations Foundation's Founder and Chairman Ted Turner and Adam Ostrow, the executive editor of Mashable about the next generation of leadership for cause projects. "Early to bed, early to rise," said Turner about what it took to lead. "Work like hell and advertise."
From there, a parade of celebrities, world leaders and innovators took the stage over four days to discuss their cause projects and what role technology had played in their success and how it can shape their future endeavors. Famous speakers included Christy Turlington Burns, Elie Wiesel, Serena Williams, Lance Armstrong, Randi Zuckerberg, Mandy Moore, Richard Gere and Barbara Bush.
On Wednesday, the spotlight was on Africa, a continent that is often the focus of cause efforts. The Social Good Award was presented to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete for his use of new technologies in his country. His practice of having an open phone line that allows any of his constituents to call or text him is one of the hallmarks in his quest for open communication. It was the first time that a head of state had made an appearance at the two-year-old event.
Shortly thereafter, the first lady of South Africa, Madam Tobeka Zuma, and the wife of the Prime Minister of Kenya, Dr. Ida Odinga, announced that they were joining Twitter and sent out their first tweets to the world from the stage. "I tweet to ensure every woman is healthy + able to take care of herself + family #socialgood," Odinga wrote.
The highlight of the week for me was when the humorous Archbishop Desmond Tutu took to the stage with Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, to talk about their project, Girls Not Brides, which advocates for arranged and forced marriages. Addressing youth and technology's role in advancing causes, Tutu said, "I'm glad to see what young people can do. I mean, they blow my mind."
He added, "Young people are awesome."
Insider Images photographed the summit for United Nations Foundation.