Handshake is reflecting on a productive and energizing 2022 UNGA Week after spending quality time with many of you. Over the course of five days, we hosted seven events, facilitated dozens of conversations and supported our clients’ participation at events across New York City including the Nest Summit, The Concordia Annual Summit, The Global Fund Replenishment and Climate Week NYC.
Our programming coalesced around the themes established during our programs at the 2022 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos including topics of climate solidarity and courageous leadership and expanded to effective investments and building an inclusive economy.
To kick-off UNGA 2022 on Sunday, September 18, we partnered with We Are All Human, S&P Global, Salesforce.org, Edelman, and the Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI) to host the UNGA Welcome Reception for nearly 400 activists, businesspersons, media, diplomats and more at the Century Association in midtown Manhattan. The reception which was emceed by Handshake President, Petra Dizdar, alongside Claudia Edelman of We Are All Human, featured the Emotions to Generate Change exhibit, which illuminated the human side of climate change solutions, remarks from the co-hosts and a performance by AY Young, whose Battery Tour uses “music to get people ‘plugged in’ to sustainability and clean energy solutions.”
Following the reception, Handshake co-hosted a dinner titled, “Navigating the Transition: Financing our Common Future” with Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy, The Aspen Institute, RFK Center for Human Rights, and the Council for Inclusive Capitalism where participants discussed how the needs of our planet and our future are intersecting with needs and expertise of the private sector and investment capital. During her remarks, Catherine McKenna, Chair, UN Secretary-General’s Expert Group on Net-Zero Emissions Commitments, stated effectively, that we aren’t going to hit any of our goals without all of us coming together.
On Monday, September 19, we organized a dinner conversation on “The Business of Climate Risk & Resiliency” with S&P Global Sustainable1. Richard Mattison and Lauren Smart from S&P Global Sustainable1 and RJ Johnston from Columbia University Center on Energy Policy brought together a dynamic group to discuss biodiversity, including updates from the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures, and how nature-based solutions will be the key driver in addressing our climate crisis.
On the same evening, we co-hosted our annual UNGA dinner titled, “Global Trends & Unlikely Alliances Dinner” in partnership with The Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI) and Voto Latino. Attendees included the former First Lady of Ukraine, the co-founder of Punchbowl News, CEO of Steve Madden, representatives from USAID, (RED), Estée Lauder Companies, The Aspen Institute, and more. Sheri Dew, Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer, of Deseret Management Corporation, previewed the Global Faith and Media Index launched at Concordia Summit the following day and Maria Teresa Kumar inspired attendees by sharing how Voto Latino is mobilizing voters across the country.
The next morning, we hosted “Working Breakfast – Disrupting Philanthropy: Redefining Partnerships with Salesforce.org at Salesforce tower during which non-profit and philanthropy leaders from Ethiopia, Washington D.C., Jamaica, and more discussed how they are creating meaningful and sustained partnerships across generations, geographies and sectors while offering concrete steps for improved collaboration.
On Tuesday, September 20, Handshake supported the Estée Lauder Companies and the United Nations Foundation’s reception, “Power of Partnerships: Advancing Gender Equality and Impact.” Hosted at The Pool, the reception included remarks from Estée Lauder Executive Chairman, William P. Lauder; President & CEO, Fabrizio Freda; and Vice Chairman, Sara Moss as well as Elizabeth Cousens, President & CEO, United Nations Foundation; Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership; Ambassador Adela Raz, Head of the Afghanistan Policy Lab at Princeton University; and Michelle Milford Morse, VP of Girls and Women Strategy at the United Nations Foundation.
Each speaker touched on the critical work being done across their organizations and companies on the topic of gender equality and how they are coming together to solve these challenges locally and globally. The evening concluded with a moderated conversation between Cindi Leive, Co-Founder and CEO of The Meteor, and Amanda Gorman, poet, activist and Estée Lauder Global Changemaker, who inspired all with her remarks reminding us that “We live in an age that’s monetizing darkness. It’s so important to also focus on the light.” A press release about the event can be found here.
To close out the week, we collaborated with the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, RFK Center for Human Rights, NYU Stern, and Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy to host a workshop on“Energy Transition and Security in the Current Geopolitical Context.”
This unique event convened public, private and NGO leaders to workshop solutions to the current energy transition and security challenges through an exercised moderated by Michael Posner, Director of Center for Business and Human Rights, NYU Stern. Through addressing the complex interplay across global energy supply, food security, economic development, and climate change from four distinct perspectives, we identified potential short, medium, and long-term pathways to balance energy security needs with achieving a just net-zero transition and look forward to applying these takeaways to ongoing conversations.
It was great to connect to new individuals, organizations, and companies, re-connect with old friends and continue our work to build partnerships and develop solutions to solve some of our society’s toughest challenges.
We look forward to continuing these conversations at COP27 in Egypt, at WEF Annual Meeting in Davos, and throughout 2023. We hope you’ll join us.