Business, Free News Articles, Global Aid and Disaster Relief

NGO seeks solutions for UN’s Goals by Awarding Everyday Heroes – and those who find them

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- The Global Action Network (GAN), an organization formed by activists, students, and researchers who seek new ways to reach the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, has announced a new program which awards those who develop cutting edge solutions - and honors the finders by naming a prize after them.

"The whole idea is to accelerate progress towards the Goals," says Soani Gunawan, VP of Logistics for GAN. "The probability that you or I will win a Nobel Prize is tiny. But it's not hard for me to name a Prize AFTER you - if you build awareness of your chosen goal by highlighting those who are doing the best work in the field. And the fact that you can ALSO name another Prize after your friends and colleagues makes it quite likely you will stay involved."

The Network uses the UN's sub-classification of 230 Indicators, or sub-goals, which include specific things like improving education in the developing world, curing neglected tropical diseases, and reducing gender inequality.

Those who join GAN, many of whom are students and researchers from Oxford, Berkeley, Yale, Cambridge, Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford, are assigned one of the goals, usually one that matches one or more of their professional, academic, or personal interests or passions. Their basic duty is to set up several social media sites publicizing the latest developments within their chosen niche, and announce awards (named after themselves) to those who have demonstrated excellence.

The general expectation is that projects take an initial 3-4 hours to set up, followed by 15-30 minutes of monthly maintenance, which consists of updating social media sites and naming Award winners. In many cases Award namesakes submit their own work.

In addition to the crowdsourced prizes, there are also Awards for supreme achievement named after Einstein (Science), Florence Nightingale (Health), Frida Kahlo (Art and Culture), Mother Teresa (Compassion), Gandhi (Significance), Nelson Mandela (Justice), and Sojourner Truth (Freedom).

GAN founders were motivated by dissatisfaction with Governments, NGOs, Non-profits, and Corporations, which in their view have not done enough to reach the Goals.

"We want to inspire grass roots action, from the ground up," says GAN's Happiness Coordinator Amy Chang. "When people receive continuous gratification for their work, they tend to stay involved."

The idea of building simple to set up projects based on free web tools and smart phone apps was inherited from GAN's parent organization, The World Mind Network, which has six Nobel Laureates on its Board.

Participants can also initiate online think tanks, disaster relief projects, Fair Trade programs, and crowdsourced group psychology experiments within the platform.

"There's something special about the conversations we have," says Co-Founder and Program Director John Toomey. "We have fun, but we're part of a worldwide planetary improvement movement, so there's this inspirational undercurrent associated with being part of a mission."

Adds Chang, "It's hard, in this day and age, to cultivate heroes of the old type - those who rescue a village from a typhoon, or leave their normal lives to found an orphanage in Africa. But it's not difficult to empower people to become 'mini-Heroes' - individuals who can develop their humanitarian instincts by creating a project on their smart phone that has the potential to help the planet in a measurable and replicable way. And once someone gets a taste of this easily accessible heroism, it's not hard for them to see that there is little they cannot accomplish."

For information on the Global Action Network contact, or visit the website at

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Awards and Honors, Business, Environment and Ecology, Free News Articles

Institute for Global Innovation announces Awards for Neural Network, AI, and VR apps for Sustainability

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- For four years, governments, private industry, and academia have striven to find effective solutions for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the U.N. at the 2015 Plenary Session in New York. Now a new approach is being pioneered by the Institute for Global Innovation, a worldwide NGO which seeks to scour the globe for the most efficient technologies to solve these challenges, according to IGI Directors Soani Gunawan, Amy Chang, and John Toomey.

Starting this year, they will offer Awards to promising startups, institutions, and individuals who display innovative and creative thinking in eight areas: AI, Neural Networks, Virtual Reality, Smartphone apps, Swarm Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Mind Mapping, and Cloud Technology. The prize is not financial, but consists of connections, publicity, and advice.

"Traditional efforts towards insuring our Earth's survival emphasize governmental intervention," says Gunawan. "We want to find and extensively promote under-the-radar approaches that come from sources who sometimes lack the wherewithal to refine and publicize their work."

The Institute brings together tech firms, non-profits, academia, and individuals in the service of the greater good. It is an outgrowth of a partnership between Global Action 17, Friends Beyond Borders, and the World Mind Network, whose Board of Trustees includes six Nobel Laureates.

Unlike traditional award protocols, the Institute stays involved with the winners for as long as is feasible. They screen successful proposals through committees at Oxford, Stanford, Princeton, Berkeley, Yale, Harvard, and Cambridge, and where necessary assist participants in finding appropriate startup incubators, accelerators, and crowdfunding platforms. The overarching goal is to create an efficient worldwide apparatus for finding, developing, funding, and publicizing the best new technologies for attaining the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

Previous winners include students and staff at King's College, Cambridge, for developing Mind Maps devoted to evaluating the best Carbon Capture protocols, and TradeAID in Ghana, a Fair Trade Federation Cooperative which provides empowers local women who make and market traditional West African handicrafts.

About The Institute for Global Innovation:
The Institute for Global Innovation is an international NGO devoted to planetary survival. It is always interested in new partnerships with organizations which share its goals. Its members seek to inspire individuals and groups by promoting and improving upon the thousands of unheralded projects around the world which deserve support.

To find out more contact, or visit

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