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How Social Good Summit Sparked the Largest Conversation on Earth

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
By Zoe Fox


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[More from Mashable: Social Good Summit Day 3: Highlights and Pics]
A suicide bombing exploded outside of one of the only Internet cafes in Somalia's capital last Thursday. Three days later, the cafe's owner spoke on one of the Social Good Summit Mogadishu's Global Conversation panels.

When the event's organizer asked him if he still wanted to speak, the cafe owner replied, "This is even more important now."

[More from Mashable: What It Means to Be an Advocate in the Digital Age]
The really exciting part of this year's Social Good Summit didn't take place on the 92nd Street Y's upper Manhattan stage -- it occurred at more than 200 meetups across the world.

The Social Good Summit's two newest partners -- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.N. Development Programme -- helped elevate the summit to a unprecedented level of international participation. We had livestreams from Beijing, China with the help of the Gates Foundation, and Nairobi, Kenya and Mogadishu, Somalia with the help of UNDP.

Also, through the help of the UNDP, people organized meetups via Mashable's Meetup Everywhere platform in some of the world's most far-reaching corners. Some 47 UNDP country offices hosted Social Good meetups between Friday, Sept. 21 and Tuesday, Sept. 25. Though some of the meetups were quite small in number -- Damascus, Syria hosted a handful of attendees -- they unanimously reported back high-quality conversations about the potential impact of social media on their local communities.

SEE ALSO: Social Good Summit Spreads to Nairobi, Beijing and Beyond

"I never expected how people would take the concept of the Social Good Summit and run with in themselves," Boaz Paldi, head of video for the UNDP told Mashable.

Though Beijing, Nairobi and Mogadishu's livestreams were organized by the partners, Rwanda, Uzbekistan and Bangladesh's were not. Yet all three countries' events streamed; Bangladesh's into five provinces, and Bhutan broadcast its summit on national TV.

"What's really amazing to me is that these are the voices we haven't heard before," Paldi said. "They burst the doors open because they want to be a part of this conversation. This thing is just bigger than just us -- it's become an inspiration to us to have their voices heard at the table."

Even in unstable parts of the world, the U.N. ensured the security of the meetups, hosting Juba, South Sudan and Kabul, Afghanistan's on its compounds.

"Through this partnership, we've managed to bridge the digital divide, connecting the connected with the unconnected," Paldi said.

Here are some Twitpics from meetups around the world:


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