Concordia’s 12th Annual Summit kicked off last week at the Sheraton Times Square New York, where policymakers, C-suite executives, nonprofit leaders, academics, and many others gathered to participate in and witness conversations seeking to advance global collaboration for a sustainable, equitable future. As Concordia’s Senior Director of Partnerships, I had the pleasure of working with our world-class Programming Partners and Sponsors in the lead up to this event, anchoring their Summit experience around specific projects and impact objectives as wide ranging as expanding financing to ‘finish the fight’ on global health matters to advancing partnerships supporting inclusive education and workforce development pipelines. All of this translated into action-oriented programming that tackled the most pressing issues facing our world and provided innovative, cross-sector solutions.
Here are 10 big moments that stood out to me, personally.
We announced the winner of the 2022 P3 Impact Award
I have to start any favorite moments list with recognition of the P3 Impact Award, a longstanding, yearly collaboration between Concordia, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships that recognizes leading public-private partnerships that aim to improve communities around the world. This year, SAMRIDH was announced the winner of the 2022 P3 Impact Award. SAMRIDH strives to accelerate market solutions to improve access to affordable healthcare services in India.
We took concrete steps to advance our net-zero journey
This is a big one: In efforts to uphold our ideals for a more sustainable future, Concordia embarked on a net-zero events journey by teaming up with sustainable partners and taking necessary steps to reduce our carbon footprint. Collaborating with McDonald’s, Rubicon Technologies, and Winrock International, we minimized our use of printed materials, reduced the need of excessive travel by making our event available online for free, and planted a tree for every guest registered. Now, we’re accounting for the actual carbon footprint of the event and pledging $20K in carbon credits to help further offset our cost.
Read more about our efforts.
We highlighted the power and potential of youth activism
Inclusivity is central to Concordia’s events, and that includes meaningfully uplifting voices traditionally excluded from decision making spaces. In collaboration with UNICEF USA, our 2022 Lead Programming Partner, youth activists took the stage to discuss the importance of having young voices not only heard, but encouraged, when shaping global solutions.
We showcased the Hologic Global Women’s Health Index
2022 has been a year in flux for women’s health. Hologic, our 2022 Annual Summit Patron Programming Sponsor, partnered with Gallup to conduct the world’s largest study on women’s health experiences, finding that 1.5 billion women do not have access to preventative care, among other findings. This vital data offers measurable insight for global leaders to consider when developing a strategic framework for improving health outcomes for women.
We highlighted the possibility of creating equitable digital economies
Visa, our 2022 Lead Programming Sponsor, discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our approach to digitization, making us think more critically about digital access. Communities that suffer from sparse digital connectivity are excluded from digital financial opportunities. In order to reach digital financial equity, there needs to be a larger push for actionable policies that increase affordability and financial knowledge.
We heard from First Lady Jill Biden
Fiercely non-partisan, the Concordia Annual Summit was once again a place for world leaders to share their visions. Dr. Jill Biden took the stage for closing remarks touching on the importance of fostering public-private partnerships that connect industries, businesses, government, and civil society. Her speech pressed leaders to continue using collaborative models to pursue bold innovative visions.
We brought attention to mental health in the workforce
Dr. Vivek Murthy, United States Surgeon General, examined why mental health is one of the most important public health issues needing to be addressed. Unprecedented consequences of technology and social media—as well as isolation during the pandemic, amongst other factors—have led to a decline in mental health. In order to increase access to quality care, building a stronger and more diverse workforce is necessary.
We announced one of three 2022 Concordia Leadership Award winners
Over the years, I’ve worked closely with global organizations on the frontlines of addressing the refugee crisis to reduce forced migration and support integration. My own family came to the United States in the 40s as refugees. This made this moment particularly memorable: Sister Norma Pimental MJ of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley was awarded with the 2022 Concordia Leadership Award for her charitable work in aiding families who arrive at the Southern border. By offering food, resources, and support to migrants who are desperately searching for a better life, she believes their dignity can be honored.
We featured innovative approaches for tackling gun violence
The Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, one of our 2022 Annual Summit Lead Programming Partners, joined us to discuss how preventative social programs and partnerships can increase public safety and well-being in New York City. Their office is fighting towards reducing gun violence by targeting root causes including mental health, educational advances, and access to opportunities.
We explored the connection between faith and the media
I always love when Concordia is a platform and a partner in launching a new initiative. In collaboration with The Faith and Media Initiative, our 2022 Annual Summit Lead Programming Sponsor, we sought to answer how the media treats faith and religion. Speakers took the stage to explore the intersection of religion and media and the various ways to incentivize more authentic and accurate content surrounding faith.
While we tackled extraordinarily hard issues on our Metropolitan and Empire Stages and across nearly 30 private roundtables, one of my personal favorite moments was getting my makeup done alongside Actress and World Vision Celebrity Ambassador Patricia Heaton. A very NYC moment that sometimes only a backstage green room can facilitate!
Stay tuned for our official 2022 Annual Summit Report, released later this year. In the meantime, if you’d like to get in touch as we build out our 2023 agenda, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.