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Rio+Social: Social Media & Technology to Take Historic UN Conference to a Global, Digital Level

Filed under: All Articles > Industry News
By: NMK Created on: April 23rd, 2012
Bookmark this article with: Delicious Digg StumbleUpon

Hans Vestberg, Ted Turner, Pete Cashmore, Fabio Barbosa, and Gro Brundtland among first speakers confirmed. By Amy DiElsi.

By Amy DiElsi

As the world’s attention turns to Rio+20, the UN’s Conference on Sustainable Development taking place this June in Brazil, the organizations that produce the acclaimed Social Good Summit each fall in New York, announced recently an innovative partnership and special event called Rio+Social. Rio+Social will take place on June 19th in Rio de Janeiro alongside the historic Rio+20 summit. The event brings together the United Nations Foundation, Mashable, 92nd Street Y, Ericsson, and EDP, to create South America’s first-of-its-kind in-person gathering and global, online conversation on the potential of social media and technology to power a more innovative and better future for our world.

Rio+Social will ensure that the dialogue about issues ranging from sustainable energy to poverty eradication move beyond the meeting rooms of the Rio+20 summit and into all corners of the world. “Every minute, social media and technology is opening doors for new, young voices to participate in and shape the ongoing international development debate,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. “World leaders are listening, and better yet, working in collaboration with these #socialgood pioneers to change how we approach global solutions.”

In order to make this global dialogue possible, Rio+Social will draw from the successful model of the annual Social Good Summit, which for the last two years has broadened the conversation around UN Week like never before. "In a time when there are so many global issues capturing our attention, social media gives us the opportunity to participate in as many conversations as possible," said Pete Cashmore, Founder & CEO of Mashable. "Rio+Social will answer people's call to be part of the conversation at of one of the most important UN summits."

92Y, the host venue for the Social Good Summit, will continue its critical community-building role with its participation in Rio+Social. “92Y has always believed in candid, thoughtful discussions about the most pressing issues of our time,” said Sol Adler, Executive Director of 92Y. “It is only through the rigorous exchange of ideas across social and geographical borders that our global community will find new solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. We’re honored to co-host in Rio the kind of conversations we’ve had in New York that have generated so much critical discussion.”

When the UN convened the first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, technology played a minor role in setting global development agendas. Twenty years later, the scene is completely different. At Rio+Social, technology will be the principal driver for starting the conversation on 21st century sustainability issues. Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson, said, “Mobile and broadband networks are the foundation of a Networked Society and this technology can play an instrumental role in addressing global sustainable development challenges. The billions of mobile subscribers worldwide make the largest social network in the history of mankind and have the power to transform the world and use technology as a force for #socialgood.”

With the addition of renewable energy company EDP to the line-up of partners, a major player in the world’s sustainable energy future will be added to the Rio+Social conversation. Using cleaner methods to power our increasingly developed world is one of the UN Secretary General’s main priorities and will be a major topic of discussion at Rio+20. Recognizing that, EDP CEO Antonio Mexia stated, “It is indisputably important that corporate strategies today strike a balance between economic, social, and environmental components while maintaining a strong commitment to innovation and increased competitiveness. EDP is fully committed to several sustainability projects that address access to energy needs in developing countries, fighting energy poverty, and developing local markets.”

The Rio+Social event would not be made possible without the support of the Brazilian business community. Rio+Social’s local communications partner is LiveAD, an innovative group dedicated to bringing new approaches to online engagement in South America and worldwide. Recently honored with a 2012 Facebook Studio Award, putting them at the top of their class for pioneering campaigns that forge new pathways in global marketing, LiveAD will ensure that Rio+Social pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in the digital media space.

For more information on Rio+Social, including how to get involved, please visit:

About the author

Amy DiElsi is Director for UN Foundation Communications. The United Nations Foundation builds public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit


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