Kofi Annan was a visionary leader, a dedicated diplomat and a committed campaigner for peace, human rights and social justice. The UN SDG Action Campaign joins the United Nations family and the rest of the world in mourning the passing on of Mr Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General who died on the 18th of August, 2018.
Mr Annan worked tirelessly to ensure that the United Nations is about the people and together with Member States delivered the UN Millennium Declaration which gave birth to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
To his eternal credit, Mr Annan established the UN Millennium Campaign, the precursor of the SDG Action Campaign to mobilise the world around the MDGs and rally all people to a global movement of making poverty history. Today, the impact of the MDGs and the work of the Millennium Campaign have both gave the world a renewed vigour and commitment to ending poverty and inequalities and a planet befitting for present and future generations. This is evident in the adoption of the successor frameworks of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015.
Above all, in establishing the Millennium Campaign, Mr. Annan laid the foundation for giving people voices to participate in global and national processes that determine their future. The UN SDG Action Campaign has continued in this light in our work and partnerships across the world.
On his departure, we celebrate the life of a leader, a reformer and a Campaigner. We believe that the best way to immortalise the life and work of Mr. Annan is in promoting the ideals for which he lived and worked for – a world without poverty and injustice. The UN SDG Action Campaign will always be inspired by his vision to continue to work with our partners all over the world to build a global movement that will facilitate the achievement of the SDGs by giving people voices to engage with this universal and transformative agenda.
It is our pleasure to announce the release of our next Virtual Reality film: Waves of Grace, now available for Virtual Reality headsets and for use with/without google cardboard on Android and iOS mobile phone platforms through the Vrse.works App.
Waves of Grace captures a young woman’s tale of love, loss, and rebirth amid the Ebola epidemic. In the film we accompany Decontee Davis, a native of West Point, Liberia, as she guides us through the streets of her township, into schools, hospitals, abandoned buildings and burial grounds. She finds solace by using her immunity to help patients, care for those orphaned, fight stigma, and in the faith of forgiveness. The film draws attention to the lingering effects of the Ebola virus and supports the Secretary-General’s push for continued attention and support to the Ebola response. It was originally prescreened at the United Nations Secretary-General’s International Ebola Recovery Conference, hosted to ensure affected countries receive the support they need to end the epidemic and continue countries on the path to recovery.
Waves of Grace is the second VR film of the UN Virtual Reality and Vulnerable Groups Series, result of a collaboration between the United Nations Millennium Campaign and Vrse.Works – with the additional support of Vice Media for this film – and co-created by Gabo Arora and Chris Milk. The series attempts to draw attention to the world’s most pressing challenges and to bring the voices of vulnerable groups directly to decision makers. In using Virtual Reality technology, the aim is to create deeper understanding and empathy and to inspire action towards these causes. The first film, Clouds Over Sidrahas met with international acclaim, winning Best Interactive Award at the Sheffield Doc/Fest.
With the Samsung Gear VR and Samsung Phone: Download Vrse.works in the Oculus Home Store once using the headset
World Economic Forum – Chris Milk & Gabo Arora – “Our overarching goal is to make virtual reality a catalyst for real-world change, solving the problems of today while showing just how relevant the principles of the 1945 UN Charter continue to be for all of us.”
Ebola Deeply – Austin Schiano & Kristin Gutekunst – “Moving through the streets of West Point, the despair, death and displacement left by Ebola permeates the community, but this is a film about all of humanity: there are flashes of laughter and glimpses of everyday normality. Virtual reality’s unique viewing leaves no space to ignore anything. The effect of Ebola on an already fragile society is clear: for many who have never been or may never go to Liberia, the film is a powerful, intimate second-best.”
Wired –Angela Watercutter – “AN INTENSE NEW virtual reality film isn’t a documentary so much as it is a prayer; its lector is a young Liberian woman named Decontee Davis, and her benediction is a plea for help to rebuild her country after Ebola ravaged it in 2014.”
The Creators Project – Kevin Holmes – “Both [Clouds Over Sidra and Waves of Grace] are powerful and emotive pieces of filmmaking, and the transportive nature of virtual reality means the they’re able to elicit a degree of empathy and agency that wouldn’t be apparent in a conventional film. Once you take the headset off, it takes a moment to adjust, not just because a moment ago you were in a virtual Liberia, but also because you just shared someone’s experience on a very personal, visceral level.”
Thomson Reuters Foundation – Kieran Guilbert “A virtual reality film aims to draw attention to prejudice towards Ebola survivors by guiding viewers through the life of a woman in Liberia who uses her immunity to help others affected by the disease, the creators said on Tuesday.
Wall Street Journal Speakeasy – John Jurgenson – “In terms of technology, the first baseline is that we’re available through the Vrse app on every virtual reality headset. But if you don’t have that, you can use “magic window” mode on your phone [depending on the device], which makes your phone look like a window into a virtual reality world. And with the embeddable web player, you can just scroll around using your mouse. We’re trying to help people take the baby steps into the fullest, most immersive experience possible.”
Wired UK – James Temperton – “But ultimately this isn’t a film about despair, it is a film about hope — a hope that things can get better.”
Inc.com – Scott Hartley – “Technology has the power to alienate, to distract, and to wedge its notification-rich self into each of our previously blissful under-connected worlds. But it has, in equal part, the ability to connect us, to make us more human, and to build empathy between us. Arora’s vision with UNVR is to shape the medium of virtual reality, and foster our enhanced humanity.”
Economic Voice – “Waves of Grace calls attention to the formidable obstacles that Ebola survivors still face, despite having survived and recovered from the disease. The film transports viewers to West Point, the most populous slum in the capital of Liberia, and follows the experience of Decontee Davis, an Ebola survivor who uses her immunity to help others affected by the disease.”