Reflections: Impactful Moments at UNGA 78

The 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York was not just a gathering of diplomats and world leaders; it was a powerful testament to the collaborative spirit of those working diligently to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among the key stakeholders driving progress towards these global objectives, philanthropy played a prominent role, and Lever for Change was there to represent its bold network and ideas.

Lever for Change explored its participation in significant events and their contributions to the global dialogue surrounding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Uncover how we are making a positive impact and nurturing partnerships that hold the promise of addressing some of the world's most complex social issues.


As one of the key stakeholders driving progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), philanthropy was well represented at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Lever for Change attended several events on the sidelines of UNGA, with members of our team sharing remarks at The Concordia Summit and Corps Africa.

Caption: 2023 Concordia Annual Summit | Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is featuring Lever for Change CEO, Cecilia Conrad
Credit: Concordia

At the Concordia Summit, Lever for Change's CEO, Cecilia Conrad, shed light on our open call model and its potential as a valuable public-private partnership (P3) tool for uncovering and funding bold solutions to some of the world's most complex social challenges. Henrietta Fore, former UNICEF Executive Director, and Carla Thompson Payton from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, joined Cecilia.

During the Corps Africa event, I was honored to speak alongside leaders such as Carol Spahn, Peace Corps Director, and ChiChi Aniagolu-Okoye, The Ford Foundation's West Africa Director. The event brought together various stakeholders working in Africa to discuss the power of youth and how we can ensure that youth-led initiatives take center stage in Africa's renaissance. The atmosphere was electric, with funders, grantees, social entrepreneurs, academics, and policymakers forging connections and sharing lessons while enjoying food, music, and poetry from the continent.

Muhsin Hassan smiles for the camera, standing in front of a CorpsAfrica background and a poster
Credit: Senior Awards Director Muhsin Hassan at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly's Corps Africa event.

In my brief remarks, I emphasized that as we embrace more inclusive approaches in pursuing the SDGs, such as supporting proximate solutions, we must include young people in our definition of proximity. This emphasis is especially vital in Africa, given that 70% of the population in Africa is under 30 years old.

Numerous other events brought together passionate leaders from across the social impact space. For us, UNGA presented an opportunity to connect with partners such as Village Enterprise, Indus Action, Heifer International, Talent Beyond Boundaries, and Asylum Access. It was particularly heartening to establish initial connections with some of our partners. Overall, UNGA was a fantastic opportunity to remind ourselves of the human relationships that drive those of us in this space.

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