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This August, as the Olympic torch dims, The Global Summit will light up its 5th biennial Social, Economic, and Environmental Forum

This August, as the Olympic torch dims, The Global Summit will light up its 5th biennial Social, Economic, and Environmental Forum

  • International
  • After years of local issues being side-lined by mega events, 'THE GLOBAL SUMMIT V: Empowering Humanity through Transparency', will illuminate solutions around climate change, economic models that preserve ecosystems, to housing and health care, to better nutrition and transportation and equal access to education.
  • 1888PressRelease

After years of local issues being side-lined by mega events, ‘THE GLOBAL SUMMIT V: Empowering Humanity through Transparency’, will illuminate solutions around climate change, economic models that preserve ecosystems, to housing and health care, to better nutrition and transportation and equal access to education.

Rio de Janeiro – August 23-26 at the Museu de Ciências da Terra, a California based social innovation forum called The Global Summit will convene 200 community, business and cultural leaders with a focus on the most pressing social, economic and ecological challenges facing Rio and Brazil and how that affects the world.

Wrought out of a unique intersection of Indigenous, colonial and African culture; corruption and elitism amidst the potential for burgeoning economic growth; and a wealth of natural resources and biodiversity – Brazil enjoys a unique national identity whose allure is punctuated by dance, soccer and the stark contrast between rich and poor.

Indeed, the nation is a veritable melting pot of striking contrast – from oil and cattle prospecting to environmental activism; from horrendous violence to a global model for cross-cultural transformation and harmony; from breathtaking natural beauty and biodiversity to rampant urban squalor; and so on. And, as much as the setting straddles so many human fault lines, it provides the perfect backdrop to an ongoing dialogue from the front lines of social, economic and environmental change.

In considering the mega environmental events in Rio’s history, Dr. Noel Brown, Former Director, UN Environment Program shared, “I believe such a summit is long overdue – where communities and committed individuals have a larger voice.”

In providing 30 full scholarships to youth and community leaders, the summit invites the representatives from the very communities that have been displaced by the Olympics in Rio’s favelas, as well as the 2015 ecological devastation in Minas Gerais.

Rio-based volunteer, Gabriel Melo says, “With the overwhelmingly negative news we hear about Rio and the Olympics these days, this Summit is our big light.”

Preceded by a cultural reception August 23, the three-day interactive, bridge-building program unites leaders across six key sectors: Art & Music, Media, Business, Education, Nonprofit, and Social Entrepreneurship in cross-sector teams with the end goal to co-develop tangible policy, technology and on-the-ground outcomes by day three. Two selections in each category (made by live & live-stream voters) will advance to an integrated hackathon for prototype development by designers, coders and playmasters (Aug 27-28).

With renowned facilitators such as Ashoka fellow Edgard Gouveia Jr, (co-founder, Instituto Elos, Play the Call, Cooperative Games) galvanizing collective action, the summit promises to be anything but a spectator sport.

Personalizing the 2016 theme of Transparency, large session facilitator, Gian Taralli (SWARMS) who aids some the world’s largest companies with empathy based collaboration processes, will venture beyond issues of political corruption to explore how transparency plays in interpersonal communication and business.

Since its 2008 launch in San Francisco, the Summit has been a magnet for sustainability pioneers including John Perry Barlow (co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation-EFF); Hunter Lovins (founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute); Gunter Pauli (author Blue Economy, Ecover CEO); Barbara Marx-Hubbard (Buckminster Fuller protege & futurist); and Prof. Jan Knippers Black (Amnesty International Board Member, Adviser to the Inter-American Foundation).

While the summit is led by California based nonprofit, Empowerment WORKS whose founder has only been on-the-ground in Rio since March, the event has been coming vibrantly to life with the support of over 30 local volunteers and diverse pro-bono production partners such as Serviço Geológico do Brasil, the BRICS Policy Center, Catalytic Communities (Rio on Watch), #Ajogada gamification association along with social innovators from sustainability minded incubators including Goma, Impact Hub, Rio Criativo and Startup Rio. In the spirit of co-creation, all participants, including Featured Voices (aka speakers) are invited “to bring the best of their gifts to the table to build a better world for humanity”.

In this light, The Global Summit biennial Social, Economic, & Environmental Forum offers a unique opportunity for community leaders and change-makers from all sectors of society to galvanize around the disparity between the insular ideals laid out in the Olympic Charter and the current global reality. If the right to play sport is a human right (as is written in the Charter), is not the right to not starve and to peace and dignity and self-determination also a human (or ‘animal’ for that matter) right?

When asked what her interest is in joining, 2016 Delegate, Mayara Bernardes, who works in São Paulo City Hall, wrote in her application: I find it irresistible to think about the future of humanity because I’m sure I can help to improve it. I feel that the State and the Brazilian society, as a whole, need innovation. The State is paralyzed with old practices and corruption. We urgently need fresh ideas and a new way of acting. I am totally convinced that I must work to create a change in my country. I am also sure that I am capable to find the correct tools for that by participating in “The Global Summit V”.

Pedro Paulo Lins e Silva, a Brazilian technology entrepreneur, startup advisor, and founder of Linkzter, and innovative third-sector initiatives that support indigenous communities in the Amazon, states: “This is the time for everyone to awake for the infinite power we all have when we understand our mission to serve humanity and the planet, and use our hearts and technology to unite with others that already share the same purpose. The Global Summit is the perfect opportunity to empower the highly creative people from Brazil to build tools and execute social and environmental impactful actions, in a moment that union and transformation is much needed in order for liberating the huge potential for a harmonious and society-driven development of the country”.

South African born Artist in Action, founder of Project Apology and board member of Empowerment WORKS, Paul Roux states: “The truth of our absolute interconnectedness is no longer deniable. It is time for all of us to come to terms with the current scientific reality of our earth, to get real, so that we are able to move forward in a productive and concerted way. For how can we morally hold an Olympic Games when there is so much suffering in the world, human and otherwise, much of it by our own hands – unless it draws attention to the plight of others less fortunate than ourselves?”

Ultimately, despite concerns around elevated crime levels, Zika, water pollution, political and economic upheaval and social unrest; the first South American Olympics will go on, and so will The Global Summit V.


Melanie St. James, Executive Producer, The Global Summit
EMAIL: msj ( @ ) theglobalsummit dot org
Phone: + 55 (21) 9-6936-3915

Program and other details:
Press Pass email: press ( @ ) theglobalsummit dot org


From R$375 for students to R$2475 for patrons.

*Invite only event responds quickly to Applications.


Cultural Reception: Aug 23 (6PM-9PM); Museu de Ciências da Terra, Av. Pasteur, 404, Urca, Rio de Janeiro, RJ

The Celebration ignites August 23rd at 6:00pm at the Museu de Ciências da Terra, a magical evening of music, dance and world cuisine with a Global Voice Welcome from Scholastica Kimaryo (Tanzania).

Main Program: Aug 24th-26th, 2016 (9:00 AM to 6:00 PM) also at Museu de Ciências da Terra

Each morning will open with a facilitated program of presentations, panel discussions and interludes from the frontline – fostering dialogue engineered to create and inspire continued collaboration beyond the summit. The rest of each day will consist of two breakout sessions across four Intersection Tracks – an opportunity to share ideas, skills, tools and stories so as to advance collective impact, guided by the 7 Stages to Sustainability (7SS) social innovation framework.

Hackathon & Community Tours: Aug 27-28th (10:00 AM – 6:00 PM) at Rio Criativo Incubator

Inspired in Senegal and Zimbabwe in 1999 & 2000, and registered in the USA as a 501c3 tax-exempt organization in 2001, Empowerment WORKS (EW) is a global sustainability think-tank dedicated to the advancement of holistic, locally engineered solutions for a thriving world.

The Global Summit is a social, economic & environmental forum providing a neutral platform for worldwide collaboration. The event is about uniting and celebrating a diverse group of people, organizations and businesses – all of whom are working towards a healthier, culturally richer and more sustainable future.

In direct contrast to mega events, the biennial Summit keeps registration limited to 200 delegate, extending its reach through live-stream and partner-led Local Summits in the US, Africa and Asia.

Launched in San Francisco in 2008 as a core program of global sustainability think-tank in action, Empowerment WORKS, The Global Summit biennial attracts some of the world’s most innovative social, economic and environmental pioneers and provides a ready framework for participants to take their work to the next level.

With an expert facilitated interactive program, delegates build relationships with key collaborators moving forward, expand their capacity as change-makers and learn diversity of skills represented in the 7 Stages to Sustainability innovation roadmap and learn how to create value-added collaborations by better understanding diverse assets and needs of the six Partners In Empowerment (PIE) sectors: Artists, Media Groups, Education, Business, Nonprofit, and Social Entrepreneurs.

The Global Summit is autonomous, free from governmental, religious, political or any other singular agenda. It is grounded on the belief that: “Through global collaboration, powerful changes can happen.”

With it’s 2nd biennial meeting in a row to follow the Summer Olympics in Rio, and 7th Summit on track for Tokyo in 2020, The Global Summit is on a long-term journey to bring the spirit of mass-collaboration to billions under the Olympic spotlight.


The Summit has a Supporting Partner program serves to leverage the Olympics in showcasing the positive leadership of partner organizations. Details:


The event is organized by Empowerment WORKS in collaboration with many inspiring partners, including Museu de Ciências da Terra, Serviço Geológico do Brasil,, #Ajogada, the BRICS Policy Center, Gaia Education, Cernunnos Media, Rio Criativo, Startup Rio, Catalytic Communities, Community in Action, Musical Activist Alliance, Bioneers, among others.

See for growing list of Partners and Featured Voices.


Promoting world-wide community participation, The Global Summit virtual tools include, live stream of larger plenary sessions; unlimited access to interactive video recordings of the full summit (as well as previous events), a collaboration portal to support and track 2016 outcome goals.

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