TYO in the Big Apple

TYO’s efforts and resources are concentrated very largely on our grassroots, on-ground programming. However, we also recognize the importance of participating in select international activities in order to share our experience, learn about others’ and garner support and knowledge to increase our impact. Earlier this month, TYO Founder Hani Masri took part in the planning retreat for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2011 Annual Meeting. He was glad to see the continued emphasis on quality programming to support Girls and Women. That said, Mr. Masri challenged participants and CGI organizers to advance this important discussion further at the fall event by engaging more varied speakers such as accomplished youth activists, leaders of innovative if small organizations, and a more geographically diverse representatives. TYO looks forward to seeing continued evolution in the CGI agenda and approach in 2011.

On February 28, the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) organized a special event in cooperation with the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy in honor of the international day for Corporate Philanthropy. TYO Director Nell Derick Debevoise took part in the afternoon’s discussions including a broad range of corporate, NGO and UN representatives. The event was a pleasant surprise, with several speakers who made quite concrete, pro-active and unique contributions, such as Jeffrey Sachs from Columbia’s Earth Institute and Carlos Dominguez of Cisco.

The topic was the role of corporate philanthropy in education, specifically toward the Millennium Development Goal of achieving primary education for all and improved professional training by 2015. Participants discussed a variety of contemporary challenges, such as demographic issues creating mushrooming need for capacity, the importance of teaching soft skills like creativity and interpersonal intelligence and the massive obstacles to education presented by natural disaster and conflict. Happily, several inspiring solutions and innovations were also mentioned, such as Cisco’s IT training programs, Nokia’s three-pronged approach including research, capacity building and innovation and Education for Employment Foundation’s teaching-to-the-job model. TYO was honored to contribute its efforts in both early childhood education and practical experience to facilitate the school-to-work transition. A major priority for TYO in 2011 is to engage more with corporate sponsors to scale up these ongoing programs, so it was inspiring to hear from these active corporate citizens.

Read live coverage from the event on TYO’s Twitter feed and others by searching the hashtag #MDG2.