I just returned from what was arguably one of the more fun press conferences at the United Nations that I’ve ever attended. UN Messenger of Peace Stevie Wonder was on hand for the launch of a new UN mobile app. He was joined on stage by ‘High School Musical’ star and UN Youth Champion Monique Coleman, UN Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyotaka Akasaka and Eddie Temistokle, Toshiba America Senior Manager of Communications. (Pictured above, right to left)
The app was developed in collaboration with the UN Foundation. It does a number of very exciting things–not least of which is pull content from UN Dispatch! The app aggregates news feeds from multiple UN agencies and programs and delivers the news in one integrated, real-time stream. Users can personalize their UN news by selecting the topic areas and regions of most interest. The stream is available in all six of the official languages of the UN. Here’s a screen shot of what it looks like:
I had the opportunity to ask Stevie Wonder why, as UN Messenger of Peace, he decided to get involved with this specific project. He replied that he has devoted much of his life to promoting access for people with disabilities. And to him, the new app is all about increasing access to knowledge and information about the world to every corner of the world. It lowers barriers. He was also particularly pleased that it is compatible with accessibility features on most smartphones, like voice readers. Here he is testing out the app.
And here he is with United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyotaka Akasaka…answering my question!
As I think you can tell, I’m pretty excited about this. It will make keeping up with all the various happenings at the UN and its many, many programs and partner organizations much, much easier. For UN watchers like me, this promises to be an excellent and useful tool.
You can download the app for free over iTunes starting today. I’m told that later this month it will be available on Android and Windows mobile.