By @SimonCocking

Interesting interview with Yonathan Parienti, founder of @Horyou the Social Network for Social Good


Why did you become the founder and CEO of a social network for social good?

Every being has the opportunity to get closer to their authentic path toward fulfillment. When I started my career at JP Morgan, I sought to better understand how the system works, and the interconnections between the economy and society. I had a chance to have great mentors in the industry who were capable of finding a balance between the mechanism of generating money and revenue and their ethical and human values, on a personal as well as professional levels.

As I gained experience, I saw how billions could be generated via the financial markets, and then be quickly wiped out due to speculation or unexpected circumstances. At the same time, I saw the creation of wealth was not equitably redistributed and that billions of people were left out of the process, unable to satisfy their basic needs. That thought kept growing in my mind and brought me to question my priorities in life. Eventually, I asked what I can contribute to humanity to find a way to rebalance the equation.

That questioning, and numerous meetings with like minded people around me helped me realise we all are willing and able to do good, and contribute to something that could bring more harmony, sustainability and diversity to this world.

Building on the fact the Internet is everywhere and occupying an ever-wider space in our lives, connecting us all to a myriad of information stimuli, the question was how to deal with all that information and where to go with it? The picture we get is that, at this point in time, evolution is mostly serving egotistical designs and purposes rather than highlighting the best part of our humanity.

Putting all those parameters together, it was clear we needed to use the Internet in order to connect people in a manner that would use the best part of them. Then we would all have a purpose and a reason to connect, to leverage technology for something good. Thus started the idea of creating a platform of a social network for social good and Horyou was born.

What would your one-minute pitch be?

We are trying to give visibility to the positive things in this world; to make sure that everybody is able to connect with initiatives, projects, thoughts, dreams and actions that provide positivity and inspire others to do the same. It’s a platform that helps us regain confidence and remind us we can have an impact on the world. What we do is help connect global citizens with non-profit organizations, worldwide, that are doing something positive. It is also about bringing together artists, intellectuals and various talents and personalities and have them share their experience and be the agents for the promotion of social good everywhere. We thus contribute to a positive cycle of interactions whose aim is to foster the best part in ourselves.

How is it going?

Dedicating our time and energy to develop a positive community through the Horyou platform is a great gift because we meet amazing people, in the non-profit world, that dedicate their lives to social good and causes they believe in. We also feel this is beginning to have an impact. We see it through our partnerships we are now able to initiate. We see it through more than 800 organizations now active on our platform. We see it through our members that belong to 118 different nationalities. Mobilisation happens through technology but also in the real world. Making things change is a feasible project. Through the platform, the events that we organize, and the mobile app that we have just launched we feel that the movement that we have initiated is growing daily.

How have the last 12 months been, what went well?

When you do things with passion, 12 months last like a blink of an eye. We’ve been very active indeed in trying to bring every support to highlighting and showcasing to the positive initiatives and actions in social innovation and solidarity everywhere.

We have been very active online and offline. Last October, we organized the first edition of SIGEF (Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum); it was a great success as it involved the participation of 30 international keynote speakers, and hosted about 50 non-profit organizations and 30 project holders and an impressive number of media partners from all over the world, with more than 2,500 people attending.

In May, Horyou brought social good to the forefront of the 2015 Cannes Festival with its new initiative, Horyou Village. Arts, culture and diversity joined forces at the heart of the world’s most prestigious cinematic event. Horyou Village hosted an interview stage to bring visibility to the causes of non-profit organization, artists and personalities. A special screening room featured Horyou TV documentaries and other socially oriented movies. More than 30 non-profit organizations on the Horyou platform were provided with dedicated spaces to showcase their work and meet attendees. Music played a key role at Horyou Village, with concerts each night featuring different artists and styles, and the first issue of our Horyou Magazine was launched on that occasion.
On a different note, we were recently invited to be speakers at the UNESCO during the international conference “Youth and the Internet” to share that social media can be supportive of youth positivity. We also visited the Web Summit in Dublin and went to Collision in Las Vegas, to name but a few key international conferences.
We have also released more than 12 documentaries, produced by our Horyou TV team and featuring NGOs present on our platform. So yes, this has been an exciting year. We have achieved global presence; furthermore we have proven that a social network for social good can truly make a difference in today’s world and use technology to connect people for good.

Plans for rest of 2015 and the future?

For the rest of 2015 we are working on one of our key events – the second edition of Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF 2015), a 3-day conference in Geneva focusing on such topics as corporate ethics, media and the Internet, and youth for social change. This is important for us, since we are able to connect a dedicated community of citizens of the world along with about 100 non-profits, and more than 50 keynote speakers, as well as 50 project holders or start-ups, with socially responsible and innovative companies promoting and making positive contributions shaping better times to come

In addition, we are very happy to unveil the first version of our mobile app. It is available to current and future Horyou members who are able to connect in real time with all those acting for good globally.

Have you been to Ireland?

I had the pleasure to come with members of our team to visit Ireland last year during the Web Summit and it was a great experience. We witnessed a lot of positivity, dynamism and willingness to collaborate. We spent an extensive time with citizens of Dublin and recorded some positive testimonials in resonance with social good. In the next few weeks, we will be launching a worldwide campaign to showcase this positivity with some of the videos we shot in Dublin during our visit, interviewing residents of Dublin. We will definitely look to have a good representation there.

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