The Introducer Volume 4 - Page 37

foundation for the 24-week module, incorporating the public relations and marketing skills the students learned in other modules to advocate for the SDGs. Stephen and his partner, Mia Jafari adapted the methodology for social entrepreneurs and Mia ran a program called Kafa'at for the Emirates Foundation - a youth NGO from the UAE government that supports UAE nationals. The program was also based around the SDGs. The engagement was so strong from all sectors, Stephen and Mia founded Pro-Activists. Through their Pro-Activists “campaign,” they combined the social entrepreneurship and advocacy/activism into one 6-week program. They launched their first in 2016 in a city known for its respect of sustainability, thinking they’d test their methodology against the best. The partners were amazed at their reception in Amsterdam…within days they found organizations working on the goals. The second week they were there, they attended a university-hosted conference on governance by goals, which brought together stakeholders from every sector.

After such a great first event, they were eager to hit the road to a new location, but, first, Stephen would head back to consulting and part-time lecturing on communications…this time at Middlesex University’s Dubai campus. The second year of the Middlesex program involved The Global Common Ground initiative, which Ban Ki-moon (South Korean former UN Secretary General) produced at Cannes in the summer with six big ad agencies: WPP, Havas, IPG, Dentus, Publicis, and Omnicom. Because he was teaching an advertising crew, Stephen included representatives from each party in the module. This one effort was recognized as the first “Common Ground” inspired initiative in the Middle East.

During the summer of this year, Stephen and his partner traveled to the UK to determine the impact of BREXIT on the SDGs.

They used the same methodology as with Amsterdam, but, found the environment completely different from what they experienced previously. The UNGC even made comments lamenting that the UK was the least aware of all EU nations about the SDGs. Other sessions were held in Budapest, Geneva, and Hong Kong with more positive results, meeting with a variety of agencies to collaborate and support goals work. Among the agencies was the Global Citizen, Project Everyone, Restless Development, Climate Reality Project, GSMA, and Tspoonsofchange.

For Stephen, teaching full time

is the way to put that umbrella

of academia over his head as he

continues working to bring the

next generation of advocates

along, and to help the UAE when

they (and 6 other ME countries)

make a presentation to the UN

next year.

Supported by resources like Impact Hub and a helpful network, Stephen is as much a humanitarian ambassador in this work as any diplomat. Look for him at UN or sustainability conferences in the coming year. This game changer isn’t sitting still…you’re going to be seeing him running a UN Committee someday.