By Alicia Clarke
A coalition of students, grassroots organizations, human trafficking survivors and local and global leaders will gather at the University of California San Diego for the third annual Global Empowerment Summit on October 6, 2018. Their mission: to curb critical social issues, like human trafficking, by empowering women, youth and others in San Diego and beyond.
Many social challenges disproportionally impact women and young people. This year’s theme, Time to Rise, emphasizes the need for solutions, collaboration and actions. Summit speakers will focus discussions on ways to promote leadership and economic sustainability to empower women and youth.
Globally, the International Labor Organization estimates that human trafficking generates more than $150 billion in illegal profits every year. The issue also plagues San Diego where sex trafficking alone is a $810 million industry.
“Social issues like human trafficking impact us all,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “As a public university, UC San Diego is committed to addressing social problems here in our own community and around the world. This summit is an important part of that mission and our dedication to promoting human rights and socioeconomic empowerment.”
The event is spearheaded by the university’s Social Impact & Innovation program. The daylong summit will take place on the UC San Diego campus in Atkinson Hall. It will also be livestreamed at http://socialimpact.ucsd.edu/summit.php.
“It’s time for solutions, time to build bridges and time to empower women and the next generation of leaders. It’s time to be the source of change. It is time to rise!” said Naila Chowdhury, summit organizer and UC San Diego’s first director of Social Impact & Innovation. “The world faces so many difficulties. Women and youth are half the global population. By empowering them, and providing access to financing and training, we can enable them to be the source of very real change and create compassionate cities here at home and around the world.”
Chowdhury joined UC San Diego in 2016 after working closely for 17 years with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus, whose Grameen Bank in Bangladesh pioneered the microfinance movement in developing countries.
At the summit, human trafficking survivors and refugees from around the world will share their stories of triumph and showcase their entrepreneurialism and cooking and crafting skills at international food stalls and a marketplace. The lineup of nearly 40 speakers includes representatives from dozens of global organizations, including keynote speaker Ursula Wynhoven of the United Nations, as well as groups from San Diego. UC San Diego leaders, including Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Simmons, will also participate in panel discussions. Additionally, 50 local high school students who were selected to join an upcoming hackathon aimed at addressing underage human trafficking in San Diego will attend a portion of the summit.
“We are bringing together a diverse group of people who all have a role to play in increasing awareness about social issues,” said Chowdhury. “This is our third summit. We are building on the experiences from previous years and, with the support from the university and the San Diego community, this will be another amazing and successful event.”
Summit sponsors will also announce winners of the Social Impact Scholarship and recognize outstanding San Diegans whose actions have had a significant impact in their communities with the 2018 Source of Change Lifetime Achievement Award.
“The Qualcomm Institute is proud to host and be a part of the summit,” said Ramesh Rao, director of the Qualcomm Institute. “The event draws attention to important social issues and highlights that we all have a role to play in strengthening our communities. We will honor several individuals at the summit whose actions are powerful examples.”
The summit is sponsored by Alliance 4 Empowerment, Project Concern International and UBS. Community partners include Nordson Corporation Foundation, Windward Academy and Women4Empowerment. University partners and sponsors include the Qualcomm Institute, Rady School of Management and UC San Diego Changemaker.