InterAction Forum 2012: Using Entertainment to Advocate Global Issues

Sandra de Castro Buffington, director of Hollywood, Health & Society, a program of the USC Annenberg’s Norman Lear Center, spoke at a communications workshop on Tuesday, May 1 at the InterAction Forum 2012 in Arlington, Virginia.

The workshop, “Get Your Message Heard During a Crowded Electoral Year,” explored how to use movies, TV and other forms of entertainment to spread awareness and advocacy of global issues. With this year’s media landscape more crowded than ever with the presidential elections and the global economic crisis, how do international humanitarian issues break through the noise? In addition to Buffington, scheduled speakers included Brendan Daly, executive vice president, Ogilvy Public Relations and former communications director for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; John Gordon, senior vice president of digital, Fenton Communications; and Robin Schepper, former executive director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move Campaign.” The moderator was Sara Anderson, chief communications and advocacy officer, ReSurge International. 

InterAction comprises more than 190 member organizations—faith-based and secular—working in developing countries to improve the lives of the poor, ensure human rights and safeguard a sustainable planet. The annual event serves as a meeting ground for leaders of non-governmental organizations, as well as decision-makers in government and representatives of the nonprofit, corporate and philanthropic sectors, and development experts.

The three-day InterAction Forum 2012, held April 30 through May 2, featured panels and workshops with experts from around the world. Among those who participated were Maria Otero, under secretary of civilian security, democracy and human rights at the U.S. State Department; Lakshmi Puri, United Nations assistant secretary-general for intergovernmental support and strategic partnerships (UN Women); Samuel Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction; Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation; and Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank.