Our ACTivist of the Month: Simon Sundaraj Kuehn, the Evolving Editor
Simon is our Volunteer Editor and Business Development Manager. His academic background in Diplomacy, Military Studies, History, Political Science, and Classics Studies, combined with a life-long learning attitude, keeps him constantly evolving to find solutions to the world’s challenges. He works as a strategic consultant and volunteers in a variety of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) all over the world as a reviewer, writer, newsroom editor, analyst, cultural specialist, human capital relations, events coordinator, community leader, and so on. He manages projects and campaigns across six continents in diverse cultures, organisations, and sectors. He is currently, applying to European universities to pursue his PhD.
What is it like to be able to experience the many facets or roles you held within Spring ACT over the past year? Including what is your current ACTivist role?
Every role I held was a new experience, and I enjoyed every moment. For instance, Communication was learning to expand social media to create awareness for “Sophia” and ensure Spring ACT’s branding remains relevant to the mission of social justice. As a Social Media Community Engagement Specialist was to engage across Spring ACT’s LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook channels. Fundraising was to generate funding ideas and create lasting partnerships. Coordination was to keep fellow activists informed of Spring ACT’s progress and campaigns.
Business Development is really interesting as it allows me to interact and network at programmes, conferences, campaigns, and workshops while creating “Sophia” and Spring ACT public awareness. The People and Culture role is really a life-changing experience because it allows me to focus on the heartfelt aspects of the activists’ relationships with the organisation. I am able to establish an ecosystem that helps our activists contribute and collaborate at their full potential. I received the opportunity to focus on mental wellbeing by creating an open and supportive culture for our organisation. I take every moment at a time, and where I am needed, I am thrilled to be there and see that task through to the end.
In your opinion, what does a future techno-social justice look like?
I believe that we have reached a turning point where the period of technical superiority will provide doors for bringing social justice into contact with the numerous survivors all across the world. With the fusion of emotional intelligence, real/tangible intelligence, and artificial intelligence, the emphasis on human touch in technology has now reached a tipping point. This is fantastic news because as technology evolves, it will be able to access and influence the innermost workings of the human soul. In this way, we may use technology to advocate for change on a global scale and connect it to the human need for assistance. The strength and wisdom of the crowd may magnify any action. The future is to #ActNow, with techno-social justice constantly at the front and centre.
In my opinion, Spring ACT’s role in this areas lies in its action for creating change, with an emphasis on compassion, and in utilising technology for implementing solutions. With that said, Spring ACT has the potential to be a strong technology juggernaut in whichever avenue it chooses, such as the NGO path or the Social Impact Corporation path. Regardless, I see great things coming out of Spring ACT, and the community’s passion grows stronger by the day. Its mission to end global injustices is more than a saying; it is a call to action every moment anyone walks through Spring ACT’s doors. With the emphasis on women and intersectional genders taking the lead in our technology development, it is even more bright and diverse for the entire tech community and the planet. This is why I am deeply appreciative of Rhiana Spring‘s innovative, intuitive, intelligence, interpersonal compassion, focus mind, and technological savviness, combined with a strong sense of social justice commitment in merging the technology revolution with a human aspect at the forefront in everything she does because it is farsighted and for the entire planet. #SpringIntoAction encapsulates the entire driving force for change for the better with her vision, mission, and purpose to galvanise a global social-technology movement by accomplishing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in our lifetimes and sustaining those goals into the far future. She is truly an unsung hero and a role model for all generations and genders across all spectrums of society within a world that navigates the Great Reshuffle and Digital Transformation towards “Industry 5.0” and beyond.
Why the drive you to be proactive and a vocal advocate for gender equality?
It’s just the natural thing to do. We should not treat everyone differently if we do not want others to treat us differently. For me, I was taught to respect everyone regardless of gender, age, heritage, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, and beliefs. Women can do anything that men can do, and vice versa. Let me share my personal experience: I was taught to maintain a car engine by my grandmother, home repairs from my mother, maths from my sister, the art of sewing from my grandfather, and chores from my father. I played coed sports in college; it was the best education in respect and admiration for an equal experience of success and competition shared by all genders in the arena of life. It begged me to question the imbalances that exist in our global society.
I ask myself what could have caused this gender imbalance in our societies. It could be the mainstreaming of an idea or belief system that places societal patriarchy above the natural or common sense of progress. Perhaps society chose collective amnesia in order to maintain the fallacy of business as usual with an artificially created societal hierarchy norm. Or people just think history is a boring subject in school and keep repeating the mistakes of history in everyday life till they affect everyone for generations to come. Whatever the cause, it results in a loss of equitable access to role models, education, economic social mobility, and political expression, hastening the degradation of equal rights and opportunities for a gender balanced society. There is an important lesson here: if we intend to eliminate gender imbalances, then our successes have to be maintained for three or more generations after their achievement in order to prevent degradation of any progress or success made in achieving equitable and equal balance in the first place.
Why do you think it is essential for women to be represented in all sectors of society?
To progress and preserve our global civilizations for future generations. I will elaborate: in every disaster, human or natural, women are the ones to pick up the pieces, rebuild communities from the grassroots, and create safe spaces for communities to take root. Yet, when it comes to decision-making and a seat at the table, women are ridiculously under-represented or ignored completely. This must change, and having women and intersection in every sector of global society produces a diverse, solution-driven outcome, brings new revolutionary ideas to life, and reduces conflicts among peers.
It’s easier to talk than to act. Though it’s important to widen the table. I will expand on the problem of “you as a man” phrases that continue to place two genders against each other as a form of competition instead of collaboration. I believe having more women in power across society actually gives me and everyone else more opportunity. For a while, men’s policies only utilised close to 50% of the population and even less in providing socio-economic mobility. Men in power create racial and cultural barriers that should have never been there in the first place. When equality is granted, men begin painting a perceived enemy first by other men because of the colour of their skin, then when equality is achieved, the next target is women and then LGBTQIA+, so I ask who is next for this self-inflicted cancer of endless new enemies for all to hate and oppress. In my opinion, having society represented by all genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, ages, disabilities, and beliefs will create innovative solutions and empower everyone to contribute to a peaceful, progressive global civilization. Let us come together for a 100% equal and equitable partnership for perpetuity and never have perpetual conflicts.
What is your most memorable Newsbyte blog post? And how do you find inspiration to do better at what you do?
All blog posts are amazing, yet, in my personal opinion, the three most memorable and inspiring blog posts of the year by far were “Conflicts are never silent, why should we be?”, “#WorldMentalHealthDay How you can help survivors of domestic violence“, and “Self-Defence for Survivors of Domestic Violence“. It gave meaning to international conflicts as well as the daily battles faced by survivors of domestic violence. I draw inspiration from the wonderful and talented colleagues I volunteered with throughout the year. For fundraising, Diodio Calloga is our Deputy Director; her passion, technological precision, and vast experience are remarkable, and I am honoured to collaborate on projects and assignments with her. Then there is Geraldine Sherrard, about whom you will be hearing more, as she brings vast global experiences and will propel Spring ACT to new heights. Ildiko will bring the ideas and direction of social media from the communication side.Then there is the talented Marie-Caroline, with her vast insight into PR, to ensure ACT’s brand recognition is secure and thriving on all news outlets. Clinton and Joshua‘s incredible creative artwork, which we all enjoy sharing on social media, is breathtaking. To Laura, a fellow PRIDE ACT committee member, for her allyship and work in creating a better place for our fellow LGBTQIA+ community. From operations, Awa, who is readying Senegal for “Sophia” and “DOTs” to launch soon. Nephi is an extraordinary young man who connects us with each other across multiple locations and time zones. The tech wizards like Georgina and Russ who keep “Sophia” ready to assist survivors of domestic violence. A special shout-out to Gilda for her amazingness and her role in the Peru launch in May 2022. There is Clarina and Eva, for their mentorship and support during the 555 Campaign. I will continue to be inspired by everyone and strive to make the world a better place for all.
Do you ever have one question you always want to ask yourself?
“Who am I?” – A seemingly simple question with profound implications. I am one with my inner and outer self by being happy with my mental, emotional, and physical state. Always ready to do better and that positive mindset, words, and deeds are a reflection of myself on others. I am true in giving back to the universe for all what is lay before and after myself. Respect and learn from the maternal cosmic nature in the value of life, happiness, love, and sense of justice. Always be humble and passionate to face challenges with a smile. There is a reason for everything and just trust in the journey. I am who I am to be without regret and doubts for every route taken is a step closer with who I am to be and who I am meant to become. My answer for this question will always be ongoing as I believe it’s a question that helps me to evolve with time and be a better version of myself and including for those around me.
Finally, do you have any thoughts that you would like to share with our readers?
This December 2022 marks “Sophia’s” one-year anniversary. A lot has happened, and more exciting news is to come. Sophia reaches survivors of domestic violence in 13 languages and counting. She is available in 222 countries on a national level and has a local presence in Switzerland, Peru, China, and more to come. Over 12,000 people have chatted with Sophia for the past year. with DOTs and more projects in the pipeline to be unveiled soon. Spring ACT has received numerous accolades in 2022, including the Swiss Future Prize by President Cassis in the category of “Think Global, Act Local, the Global Impact Award from Zendesk, the Female Founder Newcomer Award, Innovation in Global Security Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), and many more. Acknowledgements from numerous newspapers and media outlets in Switzerland and around the world.
Together, let us be the light in the dark for all survivors of domestic violence and be changemakers to end social injustices across the globe. So what are you waiting for… #SpringIntoAction with us as a volunteer, partner with us, and support us by being a member to contribute in the fight to end domestic violence. You can create awareness by sharing our content like Learn this Signal for Distress TODAY and Recognising signs of abuse along with many others posts like it, across all social media platforms. Your simple gesture will save lives. If you are unsure about your relationship or you know someone is in an abusive relationship, please chat completely anonymously to Sophia at anytime: www.sophia.chat or search for “Sophia Chatbot” in Telegram, Viber, and Whatsapp.
We hear you. We are here for you. We believe you.