Conversations about India, Philanthropy, and the United Nations

April 6, 2012 BY Aaron Sherinian


As part of the itinerary in India last week, United Nations Foundation Board members participated in a televised conversation with one of the country’s leading journalists, NDTV’s Barkha Dutt.  She interviewed UN Foundation Founder and Chairman Ted Turner, Foundation President Senator Timothy E. Wirth, and Co-chairman of Infosys Technologies Kris Gopakakrishnan on issues ranging from the evolution of philanthropy, the role of the United Nations, and how partnerships and innovation are powering a more sustainable future for India.  The conversation included a Q&A session with dozens of young professionals, ages 25-35, who joined the discussion in the television studio.  Their questions, and those that came from supporters like YOU through our social media platforms, proved that there is a growing interest in the work of the UN Foundation, and that people want to know how to get involved in supporting UN causes.

Our other UN Foundation Board members also joined the dialogue.  Dr. Gro Brundtland, Nafis Sadik, and Muhammad Yunus talked about their experiences in supporting the UN and how everyone has a role to play in creating a better world.  From students, to political leaders, each of us can join the UN to help end poverty and create the future we all want.

A key part of the discussion was a debate about how modern philanthropy can help India confront problems like persistent poverty, maternal and child deaths, and threats to the environment.  One member of the audience highlighted for the UN Foundation Board members that people in India, especially those in an emerging middle class, are looking for ways to contribute time and service – not just money – in support of causes that matter to them.   

One of the highlights of the interview was the questions posed from social media and our blog.  Here is a recap of some of the questions and the answers from our Board members.  

Q: Carolos Suarez asked: What is one of the most challenging aspects of being a global leader in today's world and how do you think future leaders can better prepare themselves to deal with complex situations that impact people around the world?
A: Ted Turner: "It's a lot of work! When people ask me what the secret is I tell them: early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise!"

Q: How would you end child marriage?
A: Dr. Nafis Sadik: "It is a subject that is now out in the open...We would like to end it today, but it will happen!"

Q: Jennifer Burden from @WorldMomsBlog asked: "Which UN social good initiative would you like to see more mothers around the globe adopting? And if busy mothers have time to do just one thing to help, what would you suggest they do?
A: Ted Turner: "Be good mothers."

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge?
A: Senator Tim Wirth: Teaching respect for girls. And the equity respect for people who might be perceived as being different, but particularly girls. Respect for girls leads to education. And respect for girls leads to the end of child marriage.

To hear more from the Board, watch the full interview here.


POSTED IN: Social Good, Campaigns & Initiatives, Get Involved, Global Issues, Smart Ideas

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