Friday, March 23, 2012

Social Media for Democracy


A couple of weeks back, my Uncle- a Social Entrepreneur called me and asked if I was interested in doing a conference on The Role of Social Media in Democracy on behalf of my firm, along with 2 other non-profits. 

I took some time, asked my colleagues and jumped into it. I've always been inquisitive about Social Media and it's applications across diverse domains. With democracy coming into the picture, it does look like a lethal combination. I gave a thumbs up and we set about looking for the right speakers for the various themes. 

By God's grace, it's all gone well with a few minor hiccups here and there. 

Today, Social Media is a lot more than having simple & friendly interactions on Facebook & Twitter. It has become the most potent tool for reaching out to the masses & spreading awareness about various issues.

Alec Ross, senior advisor on innovation and technology at the US department of State had said- "One of the greatest benefits of social media for government’s relationship with citizens is the way in which it helps strengthen democracy. “At the core of democracy is citizen participation. The more our citizens are using social media for the purpose of electioneering, communicating with government and engaging, the more robust it makes our democracy" 



The conference should ideally be attended by social entrepreneurs, social media enthusiasts and pros, media persons, change-makers, students and active citizens



This conference is being jointly organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (www.fes-india.org) MICCI (www.micci.in), COVA (www.covanetwork.org) & Dot Now Social (www.dotnow.in)

For the detailed itinerary, kindly go here

To join the event on Facebook, click here 

Also, we'll be tweeting live from the event. Here's the hashtag- #sm4d


There'll be 5 sessions and each session will consist of the following topics.

Day 1:

Session 1: Social Media- Power to People? (History of Social Media, Overview of Social Media Landscape, Applications of different Social media platforms)

Session 2: Role of Social Media in Strengthening Democracy: Strategies and Applications (Successful Social Media Strategies, Case Study- Jan Lokpal Movement)

Session 3: Can Social Media Change Power Structures? (Role of Social Media in Changing Community Equations, Social Media for Democratization and Transformation of Rural and Tribal Societies, Application and Impact of Social Media on Governance, Application of Social Media for Effective and Transparent Policing)

Day 2:

Session 4: Should Government Monitor / Regulate Social Media (Misuses of Social Media- An Overview of Cyber Crimes, Impact of Social Media on other media, Prevailing Regulation Policies in different countries and their impact on Freedom of Speech)

Session 5: Open Forum

The questions we explore during the event may not be totally new, but they are questions worth reconsidering through a new, composite lens: What role can social media play in democracy?

Looking forward eagerly to the event. 

P.S: To follow the proceedings from the comfort of your home/office, kindly follow #sm4d on Twitter. Thanks

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Training for Trusteeship

Last year, I had written a post on Trusteeship as part of a selection criteria for an International workshop to be held in Sri Lanka in September. Thankfully, I was selected after 3 rounds & got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to represent India at this exclusive 8-day workshop for youth leaders of SAARC countries, called Training for Trusteeship. It was organised by Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research (WICPER), in association with UNESCO National Commission, the Earth Charter Initiative Costa Rica, the World Future Council - Germany and the US Embassy, Colombo UN Year of Youth and the UN Year of Forests.

The workshop was held at Kegalle in Sri Lanka from September 4th to 11th. It was a unique forum for young leaders from various South Asian universities and youth organizations. It was a thrilling experience to say the least. They all came from diverse cultural, religious, geographical and professional backgrounds. These outstanding young leaders in the region had been engaged in development activities over a period of time and had managed to bring about a positive and progressive social change in their respective communities & regions.
With other youth leaders of the SAARC countries
The concept of trusteeship is emphasized to bring home to these young leaders the notion of responsible management of our inherited culture and resources for the benefit of those who are to come after us.
This workshop is aimed at inspiring youth to do what they can as individuals and future leaders to change their countries for the better by working across the cultural, religious, disciplinary and institutional divide in serving their communities.

During the course of the workshop, we met, interacted and learnt from international experts in social media, climate change, social advancement, peace and conflict resolution, international law, and biodiversity.

Delegates from India, after the Country Presentation
I’ve always been passionate about building ethical, responsible and profitable organizations and also be a part of the policy-making process. 

Through TFT, I've added to my repertoire - elements of cross-cultural understanding & peace-building and access to collaboration with other South Asian regions to fight various 'common' issues. I hope to partner with other South Asian organizations in the near future and execute well-planned initiatives across the region.

Giving my Project presentation on Youth Empowerment 
It was a fantastic learning experience indeed for every participant. Personally, this international exposure was very beneficial for me. Prior to this conference I was not really have the ‘Big Picture’of the South Asian region and was really focussed on getting things done on a local level. This conference has really opened up new horizons for me. I strongly believe that a good social model is one that can be replicated effectively in any context/region with minor modifications. Through the workshop, I received access to a large network of individuals and organizations at the international and regional level. Hoping to work closely with them in the near future.


Delegates from all the South Asian countries pose for a picture on the Cultural Eve
Delegates from India & Pakistan with H.E. Judge Weeramantry on the Cultural Eve