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The annual international event “HORYOU Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum” is member of the outstanding and broadly-based EYA partner network. So our community may be curious to learn more about the background and spirit of the Forum. EYA asked Vivian Soares, journalist and member of the event team, to tell us more about SIGEF2017.

What’s the motivation and the goal of the HORYOU Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum? How would you describe the main message?
As the Social Network for Social Good, Horyou was created to gather and share positive oriented actions, projects and organizations and showcase their initiatives to the world with the support of thought leaders and civil society. Since its inception, Horyou and its community have been much more than just an online social network – the impact goes beyond connecting and supporting all these great initiatives worldwide, by providing them with a digital platform and an opportunity to share their experiences off-line. The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum was born of this idea that online and off-line worlds should complement each other, and that organizations can benefit from mutual experiences. The first and second editions took place in 2014 and 2015 in Geneva, where Horyou has its headquarters. Last year, SIGEF moved to Marrakesh to be the main side event of the UN COP22. In 2017, the event will be hosted in Astana, Kazakhstan, during the Expo 2017.

SIGEF’s main message resonates with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular with SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals, since it brings together different actors – entrepreneurs, government officials, personalities, investors, philanthropists and the general public – to shape better times to come. Through the pannels and discussions, we give depth to the debate on many critical issues of our times, while the networking aspect of the event is extremely important to build up future collaborations and synergies between its participants and the Horyou communities.

Which professional fields could be interested in SIGEF2017? What are the benefits for the participants?
The main topics of this SIGEF17 will deal with Smart Cities, Future Energy and the Sustainable Development Goals as multi-stakeholders opportunities. We live in an age where concepts like circular economy, conscious consumption and social entrepreneurship are disrupting many established business models and bringing change for the good. SIGEF participants come from various paths of life. Scientists, social-entrepreneurs, impact investors, government officials, philanthropists and delegates from the Youth and Civil Society have the opportunity to interact and connect to think and shape the world of tomorrow.

The SIGEF2017 will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan. Why did you choose particularly this event site?
EXPO 2017 Astana is now the center of one of the biggest debates of our times – Future Energy. After COP21 and COP22, it became clear that we, as a society, need to rethink our energy production models as well as facilitate the development of new sources of alternative energies that can be sustainable and less carbon based, thus reducing the footprint on our environment. EXPO 2017 is raising awareness about this urgent issue in the biggest gathering of Central-Asia. This is the reason why Horyou has engaged with EXPO 2017 this year and will contribute to the discussion by organizing a one day conference on the 5th of September and by leading its international delegations to the EXPO 2017 on the 6th and 7th of September for a protocol visit of the expo’s country pavilions.

Could you tell our community more about the SIGEF2017 program?
SIGEF 2017 will organize three plenary sessions that tackle three main challenges of our time: Future Energy, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Smart Cities. All three plenaries will take place on the 5th of September at the Rixos President Astana Hotel, in Astana, Kazakhstan. SIGEF has a tradition of inviting international speakers from different backgrounds – private and public sectors, organizations and social entrepreneurs, as well as personalities – to promote a diverse and inspiring debate on social innovation and global ethics.

If you had one wish for free: What would it look like?
Within Horyou we advocate a vision that supports a more sustainable and harmonious world for the benefit of all citizens, with respect to their culture and diversity. We act for a fairer world, where positive and inspiring news will be put to the forefront, and where social good is part of our daily lives as a reality to be experienced and shared.