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What Do I Want To Do with My Life?

I want you to go and find a mirror, look at yourself and ask the question: What do I want to do with my life?

If your answer is:
Exactly what I am doing.
Then don’t read any further.

If that is not your answer then stop doing what you are doing. NOW.

Stop complaining.
Stop whining.
Stop being afraid.

Start working.
Start hustling.

Then kill it.
You heard me: KILL IT!

Are you going to wait until you are looking back on your life with your partner or your kids or grandkids and have regrets?

I can’t right now.
I have responsibilities.

Really?
To who?

Excuses.
If you have something you want to do, something that you know is going to make you the happiest person in the world, then why aren’t you doing it? It doesn’t matter what it is just DO IT!

Patience and passion
I worked for twenty-five years doing something I didn’t love. I hated looking in the mirror every morning. That’s the truth. I tried to quit many times and I was too afraid. I had too many responsibilities and too many excuses. I finally did it. I finally stopped whining and crying and blaming others and stopped being afraid.

Now I get up in the morning with a smile on my face and go to bed with a bigger one. I have never worked so hard in my life except I would never call it work. My days are absolutely perfect in every way even when everything goes wrong. Shit happens. Shit makes life fun. Life is fun. No, life ROCKS!

This isn’t anything new. Go back a few hundred years to our good old friend Shakespeare and his friend Polonius. He was telling us the same thing:

Polonius:
This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 78–82

If you take care of yourself, and find the happiness that is there for each and every one of us, then you will pass that same happiness and love on to those around you.

Realize your perfection and live with it.

Now let’s start this day again. Go back to the mirror and be honest with that person starting back at you. It’s about time isn’t it?

Blow me one last kiss…..

As I have been on my Mr. Feisty journey I find I have been reciting the words to Pink’s latest song more and more:

Now this is some sort of a love song, or the end of a love affair but sometimes the words seem to be just right for what is going on in my day.

I think I’ve finally had enough, I think I maybe think too much…

You know what I mean? People driving you crazy? Lack of respect? People’s ego running rampant and it is all about them all the time?

Just when it can’t get worse, I’ve had a shit day
Have you had a shit day? We’ve had a shit day
I think that life’s too short for this, I want back my ignorance and bliss…

I mean how can everyone be like that? Why isn’t everyone doing things my way. Then everything would be so much easier. I mean I am so totally perfect all of the time.

I will do what I please, anything that I want
I will breathe, I will breathe, I won’t worry at all
You will pay for your sins, you’ll be sorry my dear…

Except you know what I found as I kept turning up Pink every time I heard her on the radio? I wasn’t happy. I was angry. Resentful. Anything but at peace.

Then for whatever reason I remembered these lines from the Lord’s prayer:

…give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us….

Where did this come from? Am I getting religious? Actually I wouldn’t call the Lord’s Prayer religious, more spiritual if you do a little study of it. It is something I don’t remind myself of often enough, or at least I haven’t been lately. In other words:

Whatever comes my way I will be able to handle and I hope those around me forgive me for my imperfections as I do the same for them….

I need to do the same for others….

But I don’t want to do that. I want to be right. I want to stand on my high horse and let those around me see me up there and have them bow to me. Really? No, not really. But sometimes that feels way easier and safer. I don’t want to remember that we all make mistakes and can be caught up in our own selves far too much. Who am I to judge others when I do the same?

I still turn Pink up on the radio but then I stop and remind myself it’s just a song that tells a story.
And I can choose what my story is going to be each day.
And then I do what may not be the most natural of things for me to do.
I forgive those who trespass against me.
And joy replaces anger and resentment.
And then the world seems to fall into sync……

Na na na na – da da da da
Na na na na – da da da da
Na na na na – da da da da

I Dare You

At this time of year most of us sit down to make new years resolutions for the coming year. We decide on all of the things that we are going to change, do differently and resolve to do better. Most of the time these resolutions revolve around losing weight, spending less money, drinking less alcohol, quitting smoking, or changing our lifestyle or habits in some way.

Think big

What if you were given the chance to do something bigger than that?
What if you were given the opportunity to do something that you have always wanted to do?
The only requirement is that it cannot be about you, that you have to look beyond yourself and your own goals to a bigger vision. You have to change the lens on your camera from the usual one to a wide angle one that will take in all those around you and go even farther than the lens or you can see.

What if someone said to you: What do you want to do?

What would you answer?
Would you have an answer?
Or are you too wrapped up in the everyday problems that surround you to look beyond to something that you may have always wanted to do?

If you don’t ask

I don’t ask you these questions without asking them to myself first.
My answers I am sure are like yours and revolve around my small world and me. Yet that is not what the true answer is if I am honest with myself and slow down long enough to think of a real answer and not just the one I am supposed to give to pass the test.

This isn’t a test.

This is life.

And it is precious.

And it seems to be getting more and more precious each day, each week and each year.
So let’s challenge each other and ask the question now:

What do you want to do?

Now answer it.
Let’s mark our calendars for next year on this same day and time and see if we did what we said we would do.

I dare you.

Send in Your Knickers! The Bra Bank Appeal

The mission of The Social Effect is: through the Internet and through Social Media platforms, to help each other connect, learn from one another, and share information to make change in our communities where and when it is needed.
Back in August I came across a Tweet from BraBankAppeal that said:
Determined to make a change for Africa’s females, arm them with bras and new found security need support and advice…
And so I asked BraBankAppeal, what they wanted to do exactly and to see if there was a way to help.
The answer?
At the moment I want awareness of the issue and of my Project so that when the time comes to start collecting underwear people will respond.
So I did a little digging and found out that there was a Facebook Page and what the Bra Bank Appeal is all about.
I also sent a direct message to Beth, the woman behind The Bra Bank Appeal, and we started to exchange emails. In learning what Beth was doing, I wanted to help if I could.
Here is an interview I did with Bethany Staff about her project The Bra Bank Appeal.

What is The Bra Bank Appeal?
The Bra Bank Appeal is a small project I started before I went to Uganda to work in an AIDS orphanage in July. It aims to collect underwear, the new and old, (the decent and the not so decent) to send to countries in the third world (Uganda to start with) to protect their women from sexual abuse.

Why did you start this project and where did you come up with the name?
A few months before going to Uganda I was desperately researching ‘what Uganda needs’ so that I could do my bit, no matter how small to take something with me… I managed to find a website which listed the order of which the containers (full of used goods) that are sent to Africa are emptied: shoes were first (I thought this was fairly obvious) then second was bras… I was intrigued by this and did some further research and found out that women who wear underwear are less likely to be raped. Also, bras sell for roughly three times the cost price (more than any other used item) and so were very much so a luxury item. So I spoke to my amazingly artistic best friend who designed lovely posters, I revamped card-board boxes I was given by local shops in to hot pink ‘Bra Banks’. I got the mums of friends to put posters in their work place and store bras in their car boot and posters and Banks placed all around my college, local schools and the local tourist information office, I had an advert in the local newspaper, I was mentioned on peoples twitter accounts, I walked around local clothing outlets and begged for help and I just watched the message spread. The response was phenomenal!
The name, I knew it would be the bra … something! So I rattled around a few ideas ‘Bras for Uganda’, ‘The Bra Box’ I finally settled on ‘The Bra Bank Appeal’ as I felt it was simple, like the cause, nothing fancy – it’s a necessity that we take so for granted and sexual abuse is a subject close to every women’s heart. So it simply had to succeed! Well, that’s what I had to tell myself during the first few quiet weeks!

Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I am 18 years old and I am studying the International Baccalaureate in Cornwall (UK). I hope next September to go on to study Economics and Spanish at university. My ultimate dream is to forge links between western governments and successful organization and those in South America to try to improve their economies and give advice to businesses. Basically when I was little, I decided I was going to change the world, now I’m just trying to climb that ladder!

It looks like you want to affect change in our world – why?
This question looks complicated but it’s actually very easy! Someone has to, so why not me?

Do you think this is everyone’s responsibility?
I think everyone should try to do their bit, even if saving the world isn’t on the top of your priority list, there are so many things that you can do to help! For example, it astounds me every time I get on public busses how very few people will give up their seat for the elderly or a child anymore! Little things you do can just keep the world ticking over a little more smoothly.

Is changing the world your goal?
In an ideal world – of course! In reality, so I don’t feel like I’m not achieving anything, I’d prefer to say that making a difference is my ultimate goal. Whether that is to one person or to an entire country, it’s still an improvement! If I protected one girl/woman from a sexual attack with the underwear I took with me then I will sleep easy! But there’s always more you can do…

What do you find most challenging about your project?
I’d have to say before I went to Uganda, were the critics. I know every notion of change will always face criticism, but people said that I was naïve (which with my age, I expected), that I had not researched this enough and that by giving the Ugandan women and girls underwear I would encourage prostitution and rape and men would see it as ‘an exciting challenge!’ Needless to say I was outraged and informed the relevant people that I was incredibly and personally offended that someone would accuse me of encouraging the very thing I set out to prevent!
Today it is the day to day running of the social networking, juggling this project around the floods of college work, a family life, a social life and working part-time is a definite challenge!

Tell me about some of the people you have met doing this that have had an effect on you.
Being in Uganda itself was an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life! For me the most memorable people along the way were some of the ladies I gave underwear to, I asked all the orphans of bra wearing age, the ‘mamas’ (a women is in charge of each orphan house on the village) their daughters and the women of the village to come and choose themselves some underwear one afternoon when we covered our ‘Mission House’ with underwear. The women who were unable to attend that afternoon I invited to come any time before then. One girl who was my age came to me excitedly one afternoon, bringing with her, her mother and the mama who had been cooking for us during our stay. I showed them all to my room and opened some of the massive bags of underwear, the mother stripped off down to her knickers and proceeded to try as many bras on as she could, the mama looked down at her chest then grabbed my boobs, thought for a second then said: “Yes, I think I’m your size help me find things that would fit you!” And the girl burst into tears and told me that God had finally had mercy and that may I be blessed. Unforgettable!

What do you do when you are not working on the Bra Bank Appeal?
Generally, college work! I do also work in a wine bar, sing, meet friends, play the guitar, spend time with my family spend time with my boyfriend. To be honest I’m just your average teenager!

Is The Bra Bank Appeal full time?
I wish it could be but I’m strong believer in education and it being the key to everything else I want to do with my life.

What networking do you do to help get more goods?
I’m on Facebook and Twitter, I’m probably a disappointment to my generation but I really don’t know where to start with these things! My heart’s in the right place though!

Did you have a strategy when you started this project?
Ha! This is where I wish I could regurgitate some very complex strategic plan to you… No I really didn’t at all, it was a cause that I believed spoke for itself so just went for it and kept my fingers crossed! (This probably is not recommendable to others thinking of starting something similar!)

What is your greatest fear?
Failure. Failure in anything and everything, when I choose to do something I put so much of myself into it, I really put my heart and soul into everything I do!

What is your mission?
To have done everything in my power, to arm as many woman and girls with underwear, to help to protect them in the never-ending battle against sexual assaults.

What is your goal?
To forge links with organizations that are able to help me to transport bras and knickers across the globe, safely and directly into the hands of those who need them most.

What has been your greatest challenge so far?
Besides carrying home bin bags full of underwear (which are very heavy I’ll have you know) every day? Definitely dealing with the criticism, I remember bursting into tears when I was criticized, it makes you doubt everything you are doing!

You had an idea to help others, what gave you the push to take that first step, what would you suggest to anyone else who had an idea to help others?
Definitely, having a brilliant cause for doing it! If I had an obscure issue that not many people could relate to then it would have crashed and burned. My advice would be to do your research, be able to fire back answers to any questions you could be asked and above all else, have a damn good cause that you are passionate about – and don’t be ashamed to show how important the cause is to you, people will follow a worthy cause!

Do you ever feel like giving up?
Not give up, but not bother to do more… yes everyday! We all feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day and have a seemingly never-ending list of things to do, but then I remember the overwhelming feeling of crying with woman after woman while they pray and thank the lord for the underwear I brought them. I have never been a theist myself but their faith was astonishing. Also I remember playing with a tiny little boy on a woven mat; his mother was kicked out of her home after falling pregnant due to being gang-raped on the way to collecting water for her family. She was 14 years old. So no, I won’t let myself give up.

What do you consider your greatest achievement (s) so far?
Getting over 2000 items of underwear to Uganda without exceeding baggage allowances!

Who are your heroes?
The 14 year old girl I have previously mentioned who had to mature beyond her years to live alone, caring and providing for her little boy. She is a beautiful mother.
Also an elderly woman I met in Uganda who has a paralyzed torso and walks on her toes and knuckles, she cares for her four grandchildren in a small mud hut. All of her children died due to AIDS.

What would you like to be remembered for?
For helping people when they needed help, for making people happy when times are hard, for giving, advising and for being someone that people would turn to.

Where do you see The Bra Bank Appeal in 6 months or a year from now?
I would love for ‘The Bra Bank Appeal’ to be a flourishing charity with underwear being sent all over the world with various organizations who would offer to help. Not making a penny but making a difference.

The philosophy at The Social Effect is it only takes one person to affect the world and that person is each one of us. We must make a cultural shift to see the possibilities we each hold and to learn first to give and to help each other, which in turn will help those around us. Beth and her project illustrates this perfectly. Thank you Beth for all that you are doing to help others.

If you would like to help Beth and her Project I would encourage you to ‘LIKE’ The Bra Bank Appeal Facebook page, click here.
If you are on Twitter, follow the BraBankAppeal, click here.
You may also contact Beth at ourbras@hotmail.co.uk

(All photos are the property of The Bra Bank Appeal)

Why me?

We did it Carl and I. We went out and took the photos for US versus THEM Friday morning for our group action in the INSIDE OUT Project.
We met for breakfast and stayed to have a few more cups of coffee so we didn’t have to leave. Didn’t have to start what we set out to do: take photos of the homeless.
But we did it. And it wasn’t photos of the homeless in the end. It was just photos of people. At least that was what we realized after we got going. We started with the owner of the diner where we had breakfast. She was ready to be part of this project. It made it easier. It let Carl figure out how he wanted to take the shots. And we got in the car and we headed out.

THERE’S ONE!

As we drove down Ste. Catherine street in Montreal we were on the look out for homeless people.
“He looks like one!”
“Where?”
“There – in front of the grocery store!”
We parked and got out. I carried the camera bag with the extra batteries and lenses. Something to hold, make me feel part of the experience. But I was the talker and I had to get my elevator speech down for what I was going to say.
By the time we got to the corner where I had seen the guy, he was gone. Carl took a few shots of me.
A girl walked by.
“Excuse me….we are taking photos for a project called INSIDE OUT. Have you heard of it? No? Well it was started by this guy in Paris and…..well, we are taking photos to show people that there is no difference between us and the homeless and I wondered if we could take your photo?”
“I am not homeless.”
“I know but….sure, sure….I understand. Thanks anyway.”

WHY NOT?

We get back in the car and kept going. We saw more homeless people and we parked.
I don’t have my words. I don’t understand what this is all about I realize. Not really. I thought I did, but I don’t.
We see a young guy sitting on the sidewalk with his dog.
“Hey bud, what’s up?” I say as I crouch down next to him and stick out my hand. My name is Simon, this is Carl.”
“Sebastien,” he says with a smile.
“We are taking photos of people for a project called INSIDE OUT. It was started by this guy in Paris name JR. We are going to take photos, send them off to them. They will blow them up into black and white photos that we can put up outside somewhere. They may end up on the net, in my blog, you cool with that? Can we take your photo? Just your face.”
We had the release forms in our bag.
“Sure man. Why not?”

RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW

And so we started. We walked west on Ste. Catherine and we asked people to take their photos. I got my speech down.
“Hey bud, my name is Simon, this is Carl. We are taking photos, photos of all kinds of people here in Montreal between 9:30 and 12. The name of the project is INSIDE OUT, started in Paris by a guy named JR. We want to take a photo of your face, just your face. We will send all the photos to INSIDE OUT and they will send us back big posters that we will put up somewhere for a few days. We don’t know where yet. The idea behind this is that we are all the same. Our project is called US versus THEM, comment vois-tu le monde? How do you see the world? It’s all about our attitude. Can we take your photo?”
The responses were different and the same. The people living on the street said, “Sure, no problem. Cool idea. “ They heard what we were saying. They listened. They were right there with us. Present.
Those walking down the street were afraid, distrustful: “If I knew you maybe I would.”
Then we got lucky and a few people did say yes.
Half of the photos we took are of people that live on the street. Half are of people that don’t. If you notice, I am not writing “homeless” anymore. These people aren’t homeless; they are just people. Attitude matters for me too I learned.
We continued on. We were moved by what we saw in these people’s eyes and we were excited that we were doing what we had set out to do. We were touched by all those that said yes, we had to be.

PANIC IN EMILIE-GAMELIN PARK

Then we continued east to Emilie-Gamelin park and the world changed.
We parked the car and asked the first guy sitting on the steps of the bus station, “Hey bud….”
We looked into his eyes and the ‘no’ did not surprise us. The pain we saw only hurt us.
We crossed the street to the park and that excitement changed back to fear and then panic as we looked across the grass and saw groups of twos and threes with their sleeping bags. I took a deep breath and said, “Let’s go, let’s do it.”
We went up to the first two guys and I explained what we were doing. “I think I have seen you around,” Neuron said to me. That was his name he said: Neuron. I watched as he tried to tie a scarf around his wrist, his friend looking on to see what we were all about. “Can we take your photo?”
“Why me?”
I could only tell him the truth, “You were the first one in the park.”
Neuron was not in great shape. Neither was his friend. Neither were any of the people living in that park. Neuron didn’t say yes, he couldn’t have his photo out there like that. We kept going.
Carl and I walked around the park and we didn’t say too much to each other. We just walked and took it all in and we found it hard to breathe.
“I don’t think we can do this here,” I said.

INSIDE OUT

Why was this place different?
Was it because there were so many people all living here together? I think “hurting” together would be a better way of putting it.
We stopped in front of an old man and Carl started talking to him.
“How is your day going?”
I have to stop here. I had to stop there too. I had sat down next to Chamberland on the bench and reached out to shake his hand.
“Not too good,” he said.
We didn’t explain what we were doing at first, about the project, about INSIDE OUT. It didn’t matter. Not to him. At that point I don’t think either of us thought this project really mattered to anyone.
I said, “Can we take your photo?”
“Sure, no problem.”
Carl took his photo and I turned away and looked up at the sky. If you are ever in a situation where you are going to cry, raise your eyes up to the sky and it helps to stop the tears.
I went back and gave him a couple of bucks. He hadn’t asked for it. He thanked me and smiled. Not one of the people we took a photo of asked for money. Not once.
We continued to walk through the park. The air was gone in the park for us. We walked by a series of benches. Each one filled with groups of people. Some of them were talking, some of them were just sitting. The last guy lying there, asleep, was wet from pissing himself.
“I can’t do this anymore.”
“Me neither.”
We got back in the car.
We didn’t say much on the ride back.
We drove back to Carl’s office to download the photos and I could only say to myself, “Why me?”

For more information on the INSIDE OUT Project, click here.
If you would like to know when US versus THEM will be up in Montreal, please sign up for The Social Effect Newsletter: Sign up.

US versus THEM

This morning I am off to the streets with my friend Carl. We are off to take photos for INSIDE OUT. What is INSIDE OUT?
INSIDE OUT is a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. Upload a portrait. Receive a poster. Paste it for the world to see.
Watch this video and then you will get it. That’s what happened to me. That is why I am hitting the streets this morning. (The video is 24 minutes so find the time and take the time.)

It seems really simple to do this. You go to the site for INSIDE OUT, come up with a group name, a statement and a tag.
So here is ours:

Group name: US versus THEM
Statement: Comment vois-tu le monde? (How do you see the world?)
Tag: ATTITUDE

Our idea is to show that there is no difference between the homeless and the rest of us; only our circumstances are different and that inside of us we are all the same. It is really our attitude that makes the difference in how we look at the world and each other.

Cool right? It is not feeling so cool this morning. Carl and I are meeting for breakfast at 8:30 and then hitting the streets to ask people that live on the streets if we can take their photos. Then we are going to ask people like you if we can take yours. Then one day soon you will see your photo next to a homeless persons and people will hopefully ask……? Actually, what will people ask?

The idea was that in laying the photos up side by side we would not know who was living on the street and who wasn’t. Make us wonder who is the “US” and who is the “THEM”.
All I know is right now I am not looking forward to asking anybody to take their photo because I think I am the who is creating the division of “US” versus “THEM” by taking “THEIR” photo.
Let’s see what this morning teaches us.

For more information on INSIDE OUT, click here.
If you would like to participate and have your photo taken, please contact me at simon@thesocialeffect.ca. (You must live in Montreal to participate.)

One to many becomes many to one

Activate Summit - King's Place London

My trip to London ends today and I head home tomorrow. To say that it has been an awesome trip would be an understatement.

awe·some
adjective /ˈôsəm/

    1. Extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear

▪       – the awesome power of the atomic bomb

    1. Extremely good; excellent

▪       – the band is truly awesome!

It has definitely been like an atomic bomb going off in my head because of everything that it has released in there. What I would like to do here is give you a short recap of what I learned at the Activate Summit. The idea being that in my sharing what I have learned, something may inspire or encourage you to do something with this information to affect change somewhere in your life, your family, your community, or on a larger scale.

Activate is all about examining the influence of technology on global society in areas as diverse as media, commerce and economics, the environment, energy and sustainability, citizenship, democracy, governance and accountability, the developing world, healthcare, education, science and humanity.

Not a very tall order is it? It succeeded as far as I was concerned because a seed was planted, many seeds, not only for the possibility of change, but also for the possibility of sharing of ideas, successes and failures. The underlying message was: we must do something with what we have learned; at the end of the day that is key.  It is wonderful to have all of this knowledge, but our responsibility is to make it actionable.

Talking and doing

We have all kinds of content out there now, but what is the service that is going to go with it? We have learned to make our physical world accessible to those around us, now we must make this informational world accessible as well. Content for content’s sake has no value.

Life is a story

With all the information that we have, we need to decide what to do with it if we are to affect change with it. This information must be searchable and accessible, but we need to be able to have storytelling around this data so that we may ask the right questions to be able to come up with the right answers. What am I talking about?
Jonathan Simmons from Public Zone explained it very clearly:
Information (data) is fuel.
The technology, apps and social media platforms are the vehicles.
The people (you and me) are the drivers.
This information that is out there is the new oil (the fuel) , and we need to be able to protect and look after it, as in the end, it will be this information that lets us save ourselves and our world.

Anyone can be a Think Tank

The underlying message in each and ever conference or break out session that I went to was that it all comes down to people, you and me, to make a difference. Did I have to come all the way to London to hear that? You are thinking, “I could have told you that!”
I wonder.
It seems to me that these days we are all so tied up with technology, myself included, that we forget that the real power comes from each and every one of us. What I saw here and what I am hoping to be part of is change on a global scale, but let’s step back a little to our own lives and our own small worlds. What if we looked at our individual actions and the power they have to affect change with those around us?  If we remembered to keep our principles and values true to ourselves; the rest will follow.

One to many becomes many to one

Agency is the capacity of an agent (you and me) to act in our world. How we act affects those around us. If we think small, we will live small, if we open ourselves to the possibilities that are out there, the realities become very different.
If technology, the Internet, Social Media, and apps are simply tools to bring us all together, only tools, they will not solve our problems. If we use these tools to connect, to remember we are global citizens, then the opportunities we may create are endless.

For more information on the Activate Summit and to watch the videos of the keynote speakers, here in the link: Activate Summit London 2011

Knowledge is responsibility

We usually hear that knowledge is power (Sir Francis Bacon). It is the idea that if you have knowledge, then you will have power; the acquisition of knowledge results in social power. The person who holds the knowledge, holds power over others. I would challenge you on that one.
I say: those with knowledge have a responsibility, a responsibility to share that knowledge to give all of us the power to do something with that knowledge.

Today I am heading off to the Activate Summit in London at the Guardian’s head office to hear leaders in their fields share their knowledge. I am one of hundreds who will be there who believe that through the use of technology and the Internet, we can make the world a better place. Sharing is what the Internet is all about, but it is becoming more and more important for us to do something with that knowledge besides just share it, we need to act on it.

The list of speakers at the conference is impressive. They are going to be there today to share what they know because they believe there knowledge only has power when it is shared. What happens with that information is going to be up to us who are attending, and then as we pass it on, what will each one of us do with it? Will we read the info in blogs, on Twitter and in Facebook posts and shake our heads with concern, or will we take action?

For any of you who want updates along the way, you may follow me on Twitter @thesocialeffect or if you join the social effect Facebook page I will be making updates there.

Here is the program for the day:

09.00 – 09.05
OPENING REMARKS AND WELCOME FROM THE GUARDIAN

Kate Bulkley, media and technology analyst and commentator
09.05 – 10.20
OPENING KEYNOTE PANEL DISCUSSION 
How do we employ the power and the principles of the web to tackle the world’s biggest challenges?

Alec Ross, senior advisor for innovation, US State Department
Ricken Patel, co-founder and executive director, Avaaz 
Aleem Walji, practice manager for innovation, The World Bank Institute
Jeremy Heimans, co-founder and CEO, Purpose
Ory Okolloh, manager, policy and government relations, Africa, Google
Keynotes followed by interactive question and answer session facilitated by Activate chair Kate Bulkley
10.20 – 11.00
INTERACTIVE ENTERPRISE PANEL DEBATE 
For profit, for good?: How do we create sustainable and effective models for tech-led social innovation?

Moderator: Zaw Thet, founder and chairman, Palindrome Advisors
Chris Smart, partner, Acacia Partners
Michael Birch, founder, Jolitics and chief monkey, Monkey Inferno 
Perry Chen, co-founder and CEO, Kickstarter
David Edelstein, director, The Grameen Technology Centre
11.00 – 11.30
MORNING BREAK
11.30 – 12.30
BREAK OUT SESSION – ACTIVATE LIGHTNING PRESENTATIONS 
Eclectic sound bites and visionary insights from some of the brightest names working with the web

Stream one – HALL TWO
Tom Thirlwall, founder, Bigballs Film
Sarah Dyer, director of new media, Beatbullying
Rakesh Rajani, founder, Twaweza
Gregory Titeca, creative director and head of research and ideas development, Happiness Brussels
Jonathan Simmons, managing director, Public Zone and Jon Alexander, project manager, National Trust’s MyFarm project
Stream two – HALL ONE
Perry Chen, co-founder and CEO, Kickstarter 
Christian Sarkar, co-founder, $300 House Project 
Salem Avan, chief information systems officer, UN Peacekeeping 
Dr Joel Selanikio, CEO and co-founder, DataDyne 
David Edelstein, director, The Grameen Technology Centre
Zaw Thet, founder and chairman, Palindrome Advisors
12.30 – 13.40
KEYNOTE VIDEO INTERVIEW AND PANEL DEBATE
Global governance, statecraft and citizenship: The future of democracy in a networked world

Moderator: Stephen King, partner, Omidyar Network
Keynote video:
Pierre Omidyar, founder, eBay and Omidyar Network 

Panel line up: 
Alec Ross, senior advisor for innovation, US State Department
Michael Birch, founder, Jolitics and chief monkey, Monkey Inferno 
Dr Vanessa Neumann, senior fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute 
Kulveer Ranger, director for Environment and Digital, London
13.30 – 14.40
LUNCH
14.40 – 15.40
BREAK OUT SESSIONS
STREAM ONE: INTERACTIVE PANEL DISCUSSION – HALL ONE 
Global development: Creating tech-led development solutions through collaborative innovation

Moderator: Jamie Drummond, executive director, One
Mariéme Jamme, president, Spot One Global Solutions
Salem Avan, chief information systems officer, UN Peacekeeping 
Christian Sarkar, co-founder, $300 House Project 
Andrew Lamb, chief executive, Engineers Without Boarders UK 
David Edelstein, director, The Grameen Technology Centre
STREAM TWO: INTERACTIVE PANEL DISCUSSION – HALL TWO 
Mobile first: How are innovations in mobile changing the world?
Moderator: Kate Bulkley, media and technology analyst and commentator
Dr Joel Selanikio, CEO and co-founder, DataDyne 
Rakesh Rajani, founder, Twaweza
Herman Heunis, CEO and founder, MXit
Anna Kydd, director, SHM Foundation
15.40 – 16.00
AFTERNOON BREAK
16.00 – 16.50
INTERACTIVE PANEL DISCUSSION 
Digital access: Why must we ensure everyone can use the Internet and how do we ensure equitable access?

Moderator: Caroline Dewing, group media relations, Vodafone Group
Eirini Zafeiratou, head of EU affairs group public policy, Vodafone 
Adele Waugaman, senior director, technology partnership, United Nations Foundation 
Martha Lane-Fox, digital champion, UK Government 
Jonathan Simmons, managing director, Public Zone 
Nadège Riche, policy officer, European Disability Forum
16.50 – 17.40
(H)ACTIVATE AWARD, WINNING DEVELOPER PRESENTATION AND PANEL DISCUSSION 
Can data save the world? How do we capture data and combine it with innovation to build applications and responses that provide a positive social impact?

Moderator: Matt McAlister, director of digital strategy, Guardian Media Group
Aleem Walji, practice manager for innovation, The World Bank Institute
Sobia Hamid, co-founder, DataGiving 
Daniela Torres, head of climate change office, Telefónica 
Matt Biddulph, head of data strategy, Ovi Product Development, Nokia
17.40 – 17.45
CLOSING REMARKS

Matt McAlister, director of digital strategy, Guardian Media Group and Kate Bulkley, media and technology analyst and commentator

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