World TV Day Presented by The United Nations
DATE: November 21, 2017
SUBJECT: World TV Day | Presented by The United Nations
Serinda Swan is working on several projects at once; her show Graceland, the 18 for 18 charity, and an app that educates children on global issues.
Weinberg discusses his news series called ASPIREist that aims to inspire millennials to fight for what they believe in.
Nijhon is working with Refinery 29 and Rashida Jones to create a television series called “Girly” that aims to break the unrealistic standards that women are expected to live up to.
Islam collaborates with SONY and Mattel on projects such as the Angry Birds movie, the Smurfs movie, and Thomas and Friends to target a younger demographic and educate them on world issues.
Date: November 21, 2017
Time: 1:30 - 3:00
Location: Conference Room 4 at United Nations Headquarters in New York
Mita Hosali, Deputy Director of News and Media Division at United Nations
Serinda Swan, Actor and human trafficking activist
Raeshem Nijhon, producer of MTV’s Rebel Music and upcoming “Girly” TV series
Neal Weinberg, Producer of ASPIREist
Carlos Islam, Special Events Manager in the Department of Public Information at the United Nations, worked on #SmallSmurfsBigGoals and #AngryBirdsHappyPlanet campaigns with Sony Pictures Entertainment
World Television Day is an annual event held at the United Nations in New York. The day recognizes the importance of popular culture in spreading awareness and educating the public on global issues. This year, the United Nations and Mita Hosali, who hosted the event, invited panelists Serinda Swan, Raeshem Nijhon, Neal Weinberg, and Carlos Islam to talk about their latest projects.
The first to speak was Serinda Swan, an actress who used her role in Graceland to share the stories of young girls who were sold into human trafficking. She goes on to talk about her anti sex trafficking awareness campaign called 18 for 18. Every year, Swan skydives 18,000 feet and asks donors to sponsor a dollar a foot. In her first year, Swan raised $38,000 and today, she has raised over $700,000. Lastly, she is developing an app that redirects pre-existing donations to the minds of children, focusing on educating the younger generation on world issues.
Weinberg goes next, discussing his TV program called ASPIREist. ASPIREist creates entertaining news segments that aim to inspire millennials. The program partners with different celebrities, each focusing on an issue of their choice. Weinberg explains that these celebrities can invoke a great response and spread important messages to a large-scale audience. He is currently working on an event concerning World Water Day. ASPIREist is following a woman who is running 100 marathons in 100 days for this cause. They will be filming her as she runs around the world and will focus on the water issues in those locations.
Third to speak is Raeshem Nijhon. She is currently partnering with Refinery 29 and Rashida Jones to create a TV series called “Girly.” This show focuses on shattering the image of the “perfect woman,” and instead highlights the “powerful yet flawed woman.” Nijhon aims to create a program that all women can relate to, no matter what part of the world they is from. She is excited to create a news series that is informative yet exciting.
Lastly, Islam speaks of his collaborations with SONY and Mattel. He collaborated with The Angry Birds and the Smurfs movie. These campaigns promoted sustainable living and environmental upkeep to children by challenging them to partake in different challenges related to each campaign. Islam is currently collaborating with the Thomas and Friends television series to incorporate United Nations global issues into the show’s plot.
Q: How you were able to blend your role on Graceland with the issue of human trafficking?
A: Swan: I needed to use my voice for something more. It needed to be something that matters. I was given the opportunity to use my voice through my role. I pitched to my producers a 2-season packaged story-line of a girl who was sold into sex-trafficking. In those season, I was able to tell the stories of the young girls with whom I worked with in real life from Malaysia and Thailand.
Q: How can the ordinary citizen, the younger people, help this campaign?
A: Swan: I developed an app that redirects pre-existing donations to the minds and hearts of children, focusing on educating the younger generation on world issues ex. World water crisis, health and wellness, etc. Children can watch videos on issues they care about and then take quizzes on that video. Every quiz they take, a dollar from donations will go towards that cause. So they get to understand and learn about a cause, and then also contribute.
Q: Can you explain how you came up with the design for ASPIREist and how it works?
A: Weinberg: It is meant to inspire people to aspire to things. The idea came to us as we were publishing stories into the social media news feeds. Every time we published a story that actually mattered, we got more response - more likes, more comments, more clicks. We have different celebrity ambassadors working on different projects focusing on an issue of their choice. For example, Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed just worked on an amazing project focusing on animal shelters. They can spread these important messages to a large-scale audience and invoke a great response.
Q: What are the projects that you are working on with the United Nation environmental department?
A: Weinberg: I am working on an event on World Water Day. The issue of water is so vast - there are so many organizations, and we didn’t know where to start. The UN suggested following the story of a woman who is running 100 marathons in 100 days for World Water Day. We be following her as she runs around the world and will reflect on the water issues in those locations. We will be partnering with the UN to find more stories like that; they have the best data base.
Q: Tell us a little bit about “Girly.”
A: Nijhon: We are working with Refinery 29. They are a HUGE help as they have an enormous following and can bring the issues we are concerned with, to the digital platform. They have 500,000 readers on the daily and they provide us with a platform that will allow us to reach more people than ever thought possible. The show “Girly” explores the idea of redefining what is means to be a woman. We wanted to create a show that highlights women who are both powerful and flawed. We search for the themes that connect women all around the world, whether you are in Nigeria and America. No need to know the complex politics to watch and understand our show, you can just be sitting on your couch and connect with someone from across the world as a woman. I also look forward to making “”Girly” a show that is not only informative but fun and entertaining as well. After work, no one wants to see a boring news report but something that is upbeat and exciting.
Q: Tell us about your collaborations.
A: Islam: I have collaborated with Sony with the Angry Birds and Smurfs movie. The Angry Birds campaign focused on climate change. The Smurfs collaboration is called “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign. The Smurfs are a happy bunch and what makes them happy is that they live sustainably. Sony is great bc they have their own TV network all around the world, and the work hard trying to promote this PSA and campaign through all their networks. They showed this promotion 15,000 times in 78 countries. All the websites and social media were in at least 6 different languages.
Q: Tell us about your upcoming projects.
A: Islam: The UN is working with Mattel to target a younger demographic. We are collaborating with Thomas and Friends, and their episodes are incorporating UN issues such as climate change in their story line. Additionally, we supporting the SONY TV network in a global short film network called “Picture This” asking filmmakers to create a film that projects a world in which they wish they lived.
You can watch the full event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=criiWmMszHI
Report by: Pooja Nayyar, Event Reporter. Editor, Hua Shengdun