Reflections on the Concordia Annual Summit

The annual Concordia Summit took place in New York City on September 18 and 19. It has been more than a week now, and my mind is still trying to grasp and understand how impactful this event has been, not only for the attendees but for everyone else out there. Numerous people, different organizations–both public and private–and many topics, ranging from ecology to politics to engineering, health, art and technology came together to share a stage for a common goal, to make this world a better place. Luckily, we got a chance to be there, listen and report back with some of the highlights.

Embracing the Digital Age

We are currently experiencing one of the most innovative times of our history as a species. The digital revolution has brought a whole new dimension to our daily lives. The digitization of things has created a new dynamic in the way we live, work and entertain ourselves throughout the last decade.

As a young adult, I spent the majority of my time being ‘online’. Therefore, I was glad to see that Concordia managed to fit such an important and modern topic into their agenda. David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for Comcast, alongside Kate Snow, national correspondent for NBC news, talked about the digital divide and harnessing partnerships for equality. This is a topic of tremendous importance as, if we were to see this digital divide in numbers, we could see that almost 4 billion people around the world do not have internet access.

Inevitably, those people are left behind. Mr. Cohen made a great analogy during his time on stage. He said, “Imagine a classroom that was assigned to complete a five-page paper. The left side of the room is allowed to use the web for information, while the right side is not allowed to do so. It is more than obvious that the results will be different.”

It is up to us to use this digital dimension wisely in order to bridge this divide and bring people together.

This digital revolution that we are currently experiencing has become a vital part of our education, health system, the business world and our lives in general. The advantages have increased dramatically over the years and are constantly on the rise. In order to fully comprehend the impact of this digitalization, one can simply look at the younger generations. It is not only that the youth today spends the majority of their time ‘online,’ but also that the main form of communication is the Web.

Everything is within the reach of our fingers. Connecting with people has become easier than ever. Millions of people are online, and you can reach them in the blink of an eye. I personally think that as Orthodox Christians we should use this opportunity in order to bring more people together, especially the youth, which is the future of our Church. We need a strong representative in the cyber world that will not only allow us to connect with each other, but also engage even more with our faith and our community.

As professor Neri Oxman of the Massachusetts  Institute of Technology media lab mentioned, “Technology is just like when humans first discovered fire. Fire brought people together in order to get warm and cook. Likewise, technology is allowing people to come together and share experiences and wisdoms.”

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Ioannis Zempos contributed this piece as a guest blogger for…
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