A punk rocker, an economist, a beautiful model and an engineer with a funny job title came to the United Nations one day to try to change the world. What could possibly go wrong?
What sounds like the prelude to a good joke is actually the beginning of a massive, global peace project involving 13 Nobel Peace Laureates and millions of people around the world. The punk rocker and the economist are Ivan Suvanjieff and Dawn Engle, founders of PeaceJam who have been nominated 7 times each for the Nobel Peace Prize for their amazing work in inspiring millions of young people around the world to lead 2 million projects of peace in service to their communities. The model is supermodel Jessica Stam, the face of CoverGirl, one of the most successful supermodels in the world and one of the most beautiful women on earth. The engineer is Chade-Meng Tan, the Jolly Good Fellow of Google, an international bestselling author whose inspiring job description at Google is to "Enlighten Minds, Open Hearts, Create World Peace".
The four of us, Ivan, Dawn, Jessica and Meng, came to the Social Innovation Summit in May 2013 hosted at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations to announce the genesis of a massive campaign: One Billion Acts of Peace. The dream: to inspire one billion high quality peace projects around the world by the year 2018. 13 Nobel Peace Laureates have already committed themselves to this campaign and millions of young people are already involved. We have also begun to recruit a team of brainy Googlers to create the infrastructure for this movement. All that is needed now are the talents and resources of some of the most progressive and innovative companies in the world, and the inspired actions of many millions of other citizens. We think this is going to be huge. (We were originally planning to get this all done by Friday afternoon and then play golf all weekend, but we now think it may take a little longer.)
What better occasion to announce this massive campaign than at the Social Innovation Summit. After all, that was where Ivan and Dawn first met Meng. The goal of the Summit, which is held every December in Silicon Valley, and every May at the United Nations, is to serve as a hub where leading businesses and investors can meet the next generation of nonprofits and social entrepreneurs, sharing innovative approaches to build lasting partnerships - all under the common goal of accelerating and scaling positive social change.
At the Social Innovation Summit in Silicon Valley last December, we folks at PeaceJam and Google found each other. It was clear that we personally had aligned values, common goals, and just the right touch of insane idealism to be a perfect match. Imagine - what would happen if we used the brilliant minds at Google and everywhere else in the corporate world, the leadership of PeaceJam's participating Nobel Peace Laureates, and the creative energy of one million PeaceJam youth to build a state-of-the-art campaign designed to tackle the toughest issues facing humanity? BOOM! Mind blown.
This is why the Social Innovation Summit is such a gem of an event. It allows the PeaceJams and the Googles of the world to connect with each other, thereby creating the conditions for meaningful collaborations with massive global implications. The point is, we never would have found each other if not for the Summit. Watch out, because amazing things are going to come out of our new collaboration - the coolest, most fun, and most effective global citizens' movement the world has ever seen, something that truly has the potential to change the future of humanity... and to create the conditions for world peace, in our lifetimes.
So we say, "Three cheers for the Social Innovation Summit!" It helps turn big, audacious ideas, like ours, into a reality.
After all, how else would you find a punk rocker, an economist, a beautiful model and an engineer with a funny job title speaking together about changing the world at the United Nations?
This article was written in conjunction with Chade-Meng Tan, Jolly Good Fellow at Google and is part of a series covering the topics and initiatives discussed at the Social Innovation Summit, a private, invitation-only forum that explores "What's Next?" in the world of social innovation.
For more information on the Social Innovation Summit please visit socinnovation.com. For real time updates on announcements and attendees follow us on Twitter at @socinnovation.