Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nigerians Engage the Rest of the World in Global Conversation

On Wednesday, March 31, I met with key civil society leaders at the U.S. Embassy Rosa Parks Center in Abuja to discuss their participation in a live global Internet event called Global Pulse 2010. The three-day, online collaborative event was open to some 20,000 participants: anyone could log on from March 29-31 and take part in discussions of 10 pressing social issues that profoundly affect human existence.

Initiated by the U.S. government, Global Pulse 2010 heralds a new era of global engagement that tries to meet the challenges of the 21st century through partnership involving a wide variety of stakeholders. The live discussion program evolved in response to President Obama's speech in Cairo that called for new and different ways to engage the world.

Participants at the Abuja event included leaders from the Youth Action Initiative of Africa, the Climate Change Section of the Federal Ministry of Environment, The Women Today Newspaper, and the head of mission of the International Organization for Sustainable Development. Other participants came from the Center for Transformation of the Underprivileged; the Department of Political Science, University of Abuja; the Society for Youth Education on HIV/AIDs; and the Institute for International Journalism.

As the name implies, the event succeeded in taking the pulse of thousands of multi-country participants on key issues facing communities around the world. Themes for Global Pulse 2010 were divided among 10 social issues within the fields of science and technology, entrepreneurship, gender equality, and human development. The discussions also featured international leaders from government, private industry, and civil society organizations, along with influential individuals, who logged on to moderate the live conversations and to encourage participation. Global Pulse 2010 was hosted on a virtual platform developed by IBM.