A Little Story Of Great Institutions
We are now living in an interesting time: an inspirational rise in female role model numbers, no roaming charges within the EU, access to all episodes of new series at once (holla, Netflix!). At the same time, we are challenged by an increasingly nationalistic mood in developed countries, UKIP, Brexit, and Trump being just two examples. Culture, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, nationality and the likes of them are all still reasons behind some of the most heated debates and social and economic divisions. And in our opinion, there must be a silver lining somewhere there, after all, it's better to have a debate among people with different views, than a one-fit-all template for thinking (remember that Orwell guy?).
According to our modern manners guidebook, it is up to every global citizen/cosmopolite wannabe to take steps to balance the scale in favor of a more open, tolerant and sustainable world for which there is so much potential at the moment. This can mean different things to different people: from championing respect for human life and a more equal access to education, to fighting prejudice and general close-mindedness in one’s daily life and beyond. Yet today we want to talk about something that many people feel very skeptical about – institutions that were created as “stability pillars” in a global world.
Organisations that were created to sustain peace and further social, political and economic development on a global scale are seen as tumbling and barely able to sustain themselves. UN & EU are such pillars - institutions that should be looked up to and consulted with on some of the most complex issues and matters. They also have a lot of potential for uniting and engaging generations of people from every corner of the world and inspiring this much-needed change. Yet they has been loosing touch with and faith of the international community
In order to do so, however, they need to share its story with people. And we are not talking about standardised reports and press releases talking about percentages and numbers only. We want to hear the human story of the UN's daily challenges and victories, the story of professionals working on different levels of the hierarchy and in different departments, the human side of conflicts, challenges, victories and solutions to complex problems everywhere.
"Why so? How will it help?" - may ask the respectable middle-aged, middle-class white gentleman from the UN and other respectable global institutions.
The answer lies in a simple truth that like any brand, large transnational organisations need to engage and inspire young generations, to prove its authenticity to them. This is where the little stories of heroism and daily struggle of both large organizations and individuals all over the world come in- they are what inspires us; stories showing the challenge, struggle and human emotion behind the operation of a large institution is what needs to be told together in order to inspire a mood of mutual respect and cooperation, growth and social evolution.*
This type of news, however, is not yet winning the battle for people’s attention against starlets, celebrity gossip, and beauty industry and entertainment news. This is where such institutions like the UN need to turn to those who are enthusiastic about sharing stories creatively and getting different points across to different audiences. Whether it is a niche travel blogger keen on exploring different cultures, or a large YouTube star who speaks the language of generations Y and Z, they need to be engaged to tell the story of UN, EU and the likes and to inspire people to actually pay attention to them.
Free tip: look for those influencers (big and small) who will help to sustain a truly global outlook and pay the highest respect for any audiences. Most importantly, find those who will inspire by their genuine enthusiasm for supporting people and helping them doing their bits in leaving the world in a better state that we found it in, be it by simply voting to stay united or standing up for an immigrant to a bus bully.
Background reading & references
Review of UN's achievements & failures in its first 70 years
Some of the challenges & failings of the international bodies:
by New York Times
by the New York Times, 2
European Parliament Instagram
A must-read for all:
George Orwell, 1984
*Why personal stories matter:
Buster, B. "The Story Behind The Story" in Buster, B. Do Story: How to tell your story so the world listens, Works in Progress Publishing Ltd (2013), pp. 55-63.
Forbes on what millennials look for in brands
Bazaarvoice on human factor over brand power