Saving The World With Apps And Twitter Twitter, YouTube and Facebook helped raise millions of dollars for relief after Haiti’s devastating earthquake. But many were using social media tools long before the quake to support global causes. Social media entrepreneurs discuss how new tools are helping activists make a difference in the world.

Saving The World With Apps And Twitter

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This is TALK OF THE NATION. Im Neal Conan. We're in New York this week for the United Nations General Assembly.

All over the world, people are using new media in new ways, for example mapping election violence. During the 2008 elections in Kenya, for example, aid workers there created a platform called Ushahidi, where Kenyans could report violence across the country by text message then plot them all on a map.

Anahi Ayala Iacucci was in Kenya last August to map the referendum vote at that time. She joins us now from Cairo, where she's working on a similar system in the run-up to November's election there. Thanks very much for being with us today.

Ms. ANAHI AYALA IACUCCI (Crisis-mapping Systems Expert): Hello.

CONAN: Can you tell us what kinds of things people documented in Kenya last month?

Ms. IACUCCI: Well, before the election, they were actually documenting especially tensions related to the election and related to specific areas like for example, The Rift Valley, where there was a huge fear that the violence that happened in 2008 could repeat again.

And then the day of the election, they were basically reporting how things were going in different polling stations around the country.

CONAN: And how did people know to reach out?

Ms. IACUCCI: Well, we did a very big campaign on radio stations and on the Internet using Facebook and Twitter but also, like, using normal media and newspapers about the phone number, the short code that we had available, where people could report just by sending an SMS.

CONAN: And what was the point of it? You had a map of places where there were questions about what was going on in the elections or possible incidents of violence. To what good?

Ms. IACUCCI: Well, the good part of it is that we also developed a very good relationship with NGOs working (unintelligible). So NGOs could subscribe to alert from our platform. That means that every time that we receive a report of something going on in a specific area, the health worker - the aid worker working there or the people doing monitoring of election in that area could receive this report directly on their mobile phone.

So they were actually able to act on that report, and to go there and verify the violation was going on or actually even implement action to kind of like stop the violation.

CONAN: And is this kind of application useful in other contexts than elections?

Ms. IACUCCI: Yeah, definitely. There's - usually (unintelligible) has been used a lot a lot, for example, in emergency situation. We're using it right now (technical difficulties) toward the flood, and to be able to provide information to the humanitarian workers working in the field.

But it can also be used for lots of either different issue, like for example environmental issues. It has been used, for example, in Italy in this sense. It has been used in Gambia for environmental issues and early warning system, for example.

CONAN: Could have used it in Brooklyn the other day, where they had a tornado. It's interesting. Who runs this? Is it a profit-making venture?

Ms. IACUCCI: Excuse me?

CONAN: Is it a profit-making venture? Who runs it?

Ms. IACUCCI: Oh, no, absolutely. The Ushahidi platform, it's an open-source free software. Everybody can go on the website, the Ushahidi website, and download the software, install it on a server and run it.

CONAN: Well, thank you very much, and we wish you the best of luck.

Ms. IACUCCI: Oh, thank you very much.

CONAN: That was Anahi Ayala Iacucci, who helped the August, 2010 referendum. She helped map that through an iPhone app in Kenya.

That's just one example of the application of new media to international issues. You may know that millions of dollars poured into Haiti after the earthquake through text messages. That effort showed if you give people who want to help a good way to do it, they will respond.

The next step, well, try to keep those donors engaged and keep them giving, and that's where social media sites like Facebook get involved. Other tech-savvy people use social media to donate mosquito nets in malaria-prone areas of Africa or boost microlending in India.

Later in the hour, we're going to talk about the challenges of U.N. peacekeeping, but first: Do you use social media to connect with international issues? Tell us how, 800-989-8255. Email us, You can join the conversation at our website, too. Go to Click TALK OF THE NATION.

We're going to begin here in the New York bureau with Chris Hughes, one of the co-founders of Facebook. He has now turned his attention to a new social media site, one he hopes will connect people with the issues they care about. Thanks very much for being with us today.

Mr. CHRIS HUGHES (Co-founder, Facebook): Thank you for having me.

CONAN: And why follow up with the huge success of Facebook with a not-for-profit site like Jumo?

Mr. HUGHES: Well, after I helped co-found Facebook and then spent a couple of years in the Obama campaign, I spent a lot of time last year talking to people who were working somewhere in the social sector, so for not-for-profits, NGOs, government programs.

And again and again, I heard the same problem. They were having a hard time adapting to what I call the social Web and the world of social media. And at the same time, everyday people, my friends, myself, my family, they too were having a hard time finding these organizations, keeping in touch with them and supporting them in any type of meaningful way.

So what we're trying to do with Jumo is attack that problem directly. We're building a social network for the social sector that makes it easy for everyday people to find causes, issues and organizations that are important to them and then keep up with them on a day-to-day basis.

CONAN: Because if people keep up with them, there is a greater sense of, well, investment I think is probably the best word.

Mr. HUGHES: Yeah, we're taking a cue from, in many ways, the offline world on this. The more that people know about a cause or a problem, the more that they know about the people who are working to develop solutions or implement solutions, the more likely they are to be aware of it and support those solutions as that happens.

The issue is that there's no infrastructure online to make that easy. We have networks that make it easy to connect with friends, to find a good restaurant to go to dinner, to watch a movie instantly. Yet there's no network for the social sector. So that's the problem that we're attacking.

CONAN: So this is going to be one-stop shopping, if you will?

Mr. HUGHES: Well, we won't be able to do everything on day one. We're planning our beta launch in a couple months, and it'll be basic to start, but in time, hopefully, it'll develop and grow.

CONAN: And you're here in New York, meeting with people, presumably, to find people who want to use this site.

Mr. HUGHES: Well, we're based in New York because it's not only a cosmopolitan city but also a place where the millennium, where the U.N. comes to discuss things like the Millennium Development Goals, the same reason that you're here this week.

We see our work as being part of a much larger tapestry of millions of people working day in and day out on the ground for global change. We're just trying to support them in their efforts.

CONAN: Let's talk specifics. How is this going to work? If you're interested in clean water, we're talking about that earlier, how would you go about that?

Mr. HUGHES: So there's two use cases. There's the use case where people really have a specific passion, where they know that they're interested in clean water, or international primary education, or you name it.

In that case, we draw a straight line between you and an org that has proven results on the ground, whether it's here in the United States or somewhere else across the globe.

In the case that you don't exactly know who you want to help, we'll suggest a few to you. The idea is, though, that as soon as you find one of these solution-makers, one of these organizations on the ground, you connect with them, and then you keep up with them inside email, inside Facebook, on your mobile devices, the places where you're already spending time.

So that way, we don't have to expect you to come back to and be yet another destination site but instead can help you in your day-to-day lives connect with the causes that are important to you.

CONAN: We want to hear from those of you in our audience who are using social media sites and new technology to keep up with international issues, as we've been talking about. If you've got ideas for how this might work, give us a call, too, 800-989-8255. Email us,

Also with us here in the studio in the New York bureau is Sloane Berrent, founder of Answer With Action, a caused-based marketing and social branding company. Nice to have you with us today.

Ms. SLOANE BERRENT (Founder, Answer With Action): Thank you.

CONAN: And you've already - doing some of this that Chris Hughes has been talking about. Tell us what you're doing.

Ms. BERRENT: I would imagine I'd be the type of person that would be a super-user for something like Jumo. Basically what I had found is working in the online space, as well, there's so many ways that people talk online about giving back in cause, and then when you're offline in the world, it can be a big disconnect.

So one of my own personal goals through my blog, which is actually called The Causemopolitan, is increasing what I call cause-filled living, which is building a little bit of cause into your life every day the way people do with exercise or with eating healthy.

And so I've created a few campaigns where I really try and encourage people to give back. And one example, last year for my birthday, I created a microsite called Cause It's My Birthday and created seven parties in seven days in seven cities for one cause.

And so we raised money for malaria nets to go to Ghana and raised about $20,000 in the course of that week by going to different cities, having essentially birthday parties but where 100 percent of all the donations went to malaria nets.

CONAN: Tough week for you.

Ms. BERRENT: It was exhausting.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: I bet it was. And these were, like, gatherings as we saw again during the Obama campaign, get-togethers?

Ms. BERRENT: Yeah, exactly. It was crowd-sourced. What I had done was using my online platform and people from, you know, best friends t high school to people I'd never met but talked to online, they created the parties in each of the seven cities, did all the outreach.

We created an online platform where people could give, and the big difference is that there are tools that are available this year, almost 12 months later, that were not available last year both in terms of how you can fundraise online, how you can connect with people, how you can share information about the events.

And so being really involved in the cause space, it changes so rapidly in a really exciting way for everyone.

CONAN: Let's get some callers in on the conversation, 800-989-8255. Email us, William's(ph) on the line from Sherwood in Arkansas.

WILLIAM (Caller): Yes, good afternoon. How are you doing today?

CONAN: Very well, thanks.

WILLIAM: This is my first time on your show. I'll just make a real quick comment back to what you originally spoke about, was making sure that the donators using the texting device, making sure the donators are more engaged for a longer time.

I just wouldn't want the technology to get too far ahead of itself, of making sure that there are responsible parties out there taking the money in via texting. Because we all know that a lot of the money that comes in kind of gets dismissed or gets displaced or people steal it.

But it's a great social network technique to ask people to donate via texting, but still we just need to make sure that there are those processes put in place to make sure people are actually being responsible with our money. And any other type of comments, I'll take off the air. Thanks.

CONAN: All right, thanks very much, and we appreciate the call, William. Chris Hughes?

Mr. HUGHES: Yeah, I think that comment is right on. I think there's a couple things going on. First off, of course, you need to make sure that any support that you as an individual are providing doesn't go to a fraudulent organization. But the cost of having to do that as an individual is really quite high. Instead, you need services that can help point you in that direction.

I think the second piece of that comment, which the caller alluded to, is making sure that you know your money's actually making a difference. Because none of us wants to give to an organization which is not using that money as effectively as possible and we don't have the time to research and know that.

So we have to rely on systems and networks, and this is one of the things that Jumo will provide, to help inform our decision-making and really know that we can trust the recipients of any time or money that we're contributing.

CONAN: We're talking about using new technology and social media in global causes. If you're doing that, call and tell us how. If you've got ideas how that could be done, give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email us, Our guests are Sloane Berrent, a cause-based marketing and social branding consultant, maybe the first person with that title, and Chris Hughes, one of the co-founders of Facebook, now involved with, about which more later. Stay with us. I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION. Im Neal Conan in New York City for the U.N. General Assembly.

We're talking about the power of social media and how more people are harnessing it to build momentum for international causes. One initiative that got a lot of attention is the Text Messages for Haiti effort earlier this year, which raised more than $5 million in donations.

More and more people are finding that providing a simple way for people to engage helps increase the level of involvement. Keeping them engaged is the next hurdle. What about you? Have you used social networking to connect with an international initiative? Do you have ideas about how that might be done? Give us a call, 800-989-8255. Email us,

And our guests are Chris Hughes, one of the co-founders of Facebook, now creating the new site; and Sloane Berrent, who's a cause-based marketing and social branding consultant.

Also joining us here is Ray Chambers, special envoy of the United Nations secretary-general for malaria. A number of U.N. organizations also use sites like Facebook and Twitter. He's with us from his office in New York. Nice to have you with us today.

Mr. RAY CHAMBERS (United Nations Special Envoy for Malaria): Thank you.

CONAN: And how do you use social media?

Mr. CHAMBERS: Well, we've used it a number of ways, but when Ashton Kutcher was in the race to be the first one to have one million followers on Twitter, he agreed to donate $100,000 to purchase mosquito nets if he won.

And he did win, and we kept closely in touch with them, and he helped us with his social media messages over the year, and then his firm, Catalyst Media, established 50 social media envoys for us, and they're the 50 tweeters with the largest following, from Bill Gates to Shaquille O'Neal to Queen Rania.

And each of the social media envoys has agreed to tweet once per month a message on malaria, starting with $10 buys a bed net, saves a child's life, and we've reached over 200 million people through that medium.

CONAN: You've reached over 200 million people. How many of them have responded?

Mr. CHAMBERS: Well, they've responded to a number of organizations that we've linked them to, but we don't have the exact count. We did have 60,000 young people who wrote End Malaria on their hands and then took a photo of themselves and tweeted it.

And the World Bank was so impressed because we used this method to thank the World Bank for all of their support, and they in turn then provided malaria with even more financial support. So it was indirect, but it clearly resulted from social media.

CONAN: I wonder, I'm sure you've heard about Jumo, which Chris Hughes is working on. Is that something that you would be interested in as well?

Mr. CHAMBERS: I would hope so. I spent some time with Chris, and I'm an admirer of him and what he's doing. But I do think connecting people to specific causes and getting them engaged in something like malaria is going to be a natural part of his website, and we're looking forward to people getting actively involved, helping us spread the word on malaria, as well as just writing checks.

CONAN: And I have to ask, an issue like malaria is in part so difficult because it is so persistent. Is it going to be easy to keep people engaged in this issue?

Mr. CHAMBERS: That's a good question. You know, malaria has killed over 50 million children, a million a year in sub-Saharan Africa. Through social media and many other forms of raising awareness we have raised close to $5 billion over the last four years.

We will cover 700 million people in sub-Saharan Africa with insecticide-treated bed nets by the end of this year, and tomorrow we're going to issue a prediction that we should be at near zero deaths from malaria by 2015.

CONAN: By 2015?


CONAN: Well, we certainly hope you reach the goal. I have to ask: Did Ashton Kutcher come across with a check?

Mr. CHAMBERS: He did, absolutely.

CONAN: Okay. Ray Chambers, we wish you the best of luck. We appreciate you taking your time to speak with us today.

Mr. CHAMBERS: Thanks, Neal.

CONAN: Ray Chambers is the special envoy of the United Nations secretary-general for malaria, with us here from his office in New York.

Let's see if we can get another caller on the line. And let's go to Luke, and Luke's with us from Clarkston, Michigan.

LUKE (Caller): Thank you so much for taking my call. First, before I get into my question - Chris, I want to thank you for being part of the Facebook team. I love the site. I've never had any complaints about it. I really don't understand how anybody could comment negatively about something that's so socially relevant and free at the same time. Nice job.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. HUGHES: Well, thank you.

LUKE: My question is: I'm getting ready to launch a website called ichurchnow, and basically it's a fundraising tool for ministries. How can I get my site listed on Jumo?

Mr. HUGHES: Well, as soon as Jumo launches, just in a couple months, your group I don't know if you're a registered 501(c)(3), but regardless of your legal tax status, if you are a group that is working for social change, and that of course can be very broadly interpreted, you'll be able to come on, immediately set up a page and begin to connect with anyone who's interested in what you do.

So for now, you can go to and just provide us with your email address, and we can help you and anyone else get set up on day one.

LUKE: Would it be safe to assume that it would be as easy to set up something as it is on Facebook?

Mr. HUGHES: That's the idea. I mean, what I've seen both at Facebook and on the Obama campaign is that technology can really make it much easier for people to talk about their passions, talk about their ideas, and then find and connect with the individuals who line up with them. So we're trying to apply that same philosophy here with Jumo.

LUKE: Thank you so much, Chris, for your ingenuity and the brainwork that goes behind making these kind of tools available to us.

Mr. HUGHES: Yeah, thanks.

CONAN: Thanks for the call, Luke. Sloane Berrent, we're hearing about these organizations and how to link to them. You're actually talking about individuals acting as their own organizations.

Ms. BERRENT: Yeah, I think that one of the big keys for people is a lot of people feel that, you know, volunteering or giving back is sort of a someday activity, as in someday when I have a million dollars to give, or someday when I have all this time to volunteer.

CONAN: Yeah, when I make as much money as Bill Gates...

Ms. BERRENT: Then I will. You know, and so people sort of, they put it off. And so I think one of the big steps is saying, you know, you dont have to take one organization. It doesn't have to be your legacy organization right out of the bat the first time.

You can, you know, give five, 10 dollars to a number of organizations. You can sign up for their e-newsletter and stay green, but still be informed about who they are and what they do and slowly build a relationship with an organization.

And I think that part of being an individual is really being concerned about the world around us and doing what we can on a daily basis.

CONAN: Here's an email from Patricia: I just raised $4,000 in 14 days from 50 donors on My project is called Stories for Hope: Rwanda - an international storytelling project for girl orphans in Rwanda who are trying to learn about the past from the elders as a way to build hope.

I was able to raise funds on Facebook and LinkedIn by providing this link to potential donors. vets all their projects very carefully and thoroughly and provides 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status for the donations. They also emphasize the importance of small donors, from $10 up. Is that a model that you've looked at, Chris?

Mr. HUGHES: Absolutely. Global Giving is one of the best sites out there, if not the best to fund small projects that are happening internationally and doing good work.

I think that the power of the small donor cannot be underestimated here. I mean, just to take a cue from the Obama campaign, where I worked as the director of online organizing for two years, we raised over $500 million online, and the vast majority of that came in as small-dollar donations from nurses, lawyers, teachers, everyday people who felt that they could make a difference with it. I think that can and should be applied here in the social sector.

CONAN: And we're getting a lot of questions from callers. They hear the mention of the Obama campaign. Is this site going to be available to everybody?

Mr. HUGHES: So we define who can set up shop on the site very broadly, and that's very purposely done. Anybody who has an organization that's working for social change can come in and set up an organization page.

But anybody, just as an individual, can come and find those causes and find those organizations and connect to them. So we'll be open, but we will be very much focused on helping the social sector in particular work more efficiently.

CONAN: Let's go next to Rick, and Rick is with us from Sarasota.

RICK (Caller): Hey, how you doing?

CONAN: Very well, thanks.

RICK: I love the program. Thank you.

(Soundbite of laughter)

RICK: Hey, I was interested in asking Chris first for a comment, I suppose. I attempted to cancel my Facebook account, and when I did, I noticed that the simple fact that if I ever wanted to start my Facebook account again, all I had to do was enter my password, just like I do if I had a Facebook account.

So there's really no way to delete a Facebook account, which I have attempted to do, and I have noticed there's lots of websites all over the Web just devoted to the fact that you can't actually delete or cancel your factually your account.

And I was interested, as a journalist, Mr. Conan, you've ever considered the fact that - well, what do you think of the fact that with each mention of Facebook, which I'm gonna do, Facebook and Twitter and Google and, you know, it's free advertising. Do you ever feel compromised in the fact that, simultaneously, we're singing the praises of all these large corporate, you know, multibillion-dollar corporations, we're also giving them free advertising?

And Id be interested in the marketing professional in commenting on whether that's actually included in companies like Facebook's bottom line in how they figure their marketing budget and their - and what they devote annually to advertising so much of it being given for free in so many different places?

CONAN: I'm not sure we have anybody to answer that last question. In terms of the second question, in terms of, well, are we just giving them free publicity? We're talking about ways that people are using social media in new ways. When you talk about copiers, you tend to talk a lot about Xerox. When you're talking about social media, you tend to talk a lot about Facebook and Twitter. But...

RICK: But when I get in my car every day, I don't get in my Ford and drive to work. Or when I put my pants on, I don't even know what brand they are.

CONAN: Yeah. But you blow your nose in a Kleenex, so...

RICK: (Unintelligible). You know what I mean?

CONAN: Let's see if we can get Chris to give us an answer.

Mr. HUGHES: Well, a couple of things. One quick point of clarification -Facebook actually gives users an option. You can either deactivate your account and then, as the caller was mentioning, come back and use your password to reactivate, or you can choose to delete your account all together. And that erases the information that you've shared with your friends from Facebook servers all together. So that follows in the philosophy of the user should have complete and total control of her information.

I think that the question of, you know, how social media and all these different tools are being used is a really good one because we do need more tools out there. I think that there's been an immense amount of innovation across the Web in the past 15, 20 years. But we need to see more innovation in this space, so that we're talking not just about the Facebooks and the Twitters but about all of the other tools that can make it easier for people to connect to causes that are important to them.

Ms. BERRENT: And one of the other really important things, I think, is that we have an opportunity to ask organizations and ask the people who are taking our donations to provide information back to us when they give that money to the people on the ground.

And that's, you know, one of the joys of other networks like YouTube or Flickr or, you know, other places where they can say, hey, we took this money, we gave it to our field partners who are really the people, you know, giving it to - giving it to those who need it on the ground and providing information. And social media is a terrific customer service tool for us to ask organizations to give that to us.

CONAN: Well, also, one of the benefits of these kinds of organizations has been their usefulness in terms of providing accountability. Hey, everybody, I saw something that didn't quite square with what I thought was going on. Is that gonna be an aspect of Jumo? Is it an aspect of what you do?

Mr. HUGHES: I think that structurally this technology enables everyone to have a voice. And that voice in some cases can be positive and it can say this is a great organization or this is a great cause, and in some cases, it can be negative. You know, we've all heard stories of some organizations who won't call back potential volunteers or, you know, every now and then, we hear negative feedback about the way an issue is being presented or portrayed.

And I think the beauty of - and also one of the risks of all the technology that's emerged in the past decade is that it gives everyone the ability to praise and also critique anything they choose. The challenge is just to organize that information, so that it's actually useful.

CONAN: Sloane Berrent.

Ms. BERRENT: And I think something else is to remember that brands and nonprofits are very different. They're different typically in the budgets that they have and how they can operate online. This isn't across the board but, you know, a lot of brands have more money to dedicate someone to being their online marketing manager and handling their social media channels, and nonprofits don't.

And so I think that any type of social network or online activity that nonprofits engage in needs to, you know, result in their bottom line and that's going to be donations coming in through the door. And so while I certainly encourage people to, you know, reach out to nonprofits that they like and want to learn more about on social networks to understand that resources are limited.

CONAN: That's Sloane Berrent. Also with us, Chris Hughes.

You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

And let's get Blake(ph) on the line, Blake with us from Salt Lake.

BLAKE (Caller): Hi. I was wanting to talk about - obviously, social networking is great and it can get across some wonderful message and everyone is pro supporting Haiti and providing relief. But my concern is when perhaps like, say, for example, the owners of Twitter or Facebook don't necessarily agree with a social movement, for example, Proposition 19, the legalization of marijuana in California. Recently, Facebook prevented people from listing those.

So not only that issue, but if there are other issues that they aren't agreeing with, personally, I think it's very important to prevent censorship of that type. And I was hoping that the gentleman from Facebook would give a comment on that.

CONAN: Are you still with Facebook?

Mr. HUGHES: So - I'm not. I'm still a shareholder, but I'm not -speaking just personally, I couldn't agree more with the caller's, you know, underlying belief that if these are going to be public for people to talk about important political or - and social issues, they need to be as open and as encouraging to that debate as possible. So I don't the know the details about Proposition 19, which the caller mentioned, but I couldn't agree more that the principle is something that we have to hold pretty firm to.

CONAN: Okay. Thanks very much for the call, Blake. Appreciate it. Let's see if we go next to - this is Scott(ph), Scott with us from San Francisco.

SCOTT (Caller): Hey. How are you? How are you guys doing?

CONAN: Good. Thanks.

SCOTT: Hey, I have a question for you regarding, like, open-source platforms for the development that would help, like, bridge - like put together donors and sponsors around an idea platform. Is there anything, like, in the works in that capacity where...

CONAN: Sloane Berrent?

SCOTT: ...let's say, for - say, for example, like a donor has an idea to help raise funds for a particular organization. Is there a way, like on - just like, say, for example, like Jumo, where you can present that idea to a group that could be crowdsourced among different sponsors to get that idea as a way to (unintelligible) that.

CONAN: Sloane?

Ms. BERRENT: Well, to start from, there are sort of two questions you have. And the first about open source, which is theres something called CrisisComments, and that's a result of transparency 2.0 movements and crisis camps around the nation that have come together to, sort of, help the technology response and emergency disaster relief. And so that's an excellent place to look in your local area. Its usually set up like a BarCamp method where people can come together and build tools.

CONAN: And Chris Hughes, just a few seconds left.

Mr. HUGHES: Yeah. There's a lot of open-source opportunities. I mean, (unintelligible) which led off - led us on the hour, I think is a really interesting open source platform for a lot of people to use. But this will definitely be part of the suite of technology that we'll build in time at Jumo as well.

CONAN: Chris Hughes, cofounder of Facebook, now just a shareholder with that organization, now creating a new site And we wish him the best of luck with that. And Sloane Berrent, founder of Answer With Action, a cause-based marketing and social branding company. They were both with us here in the studio at NPR's New York bureau. Thank you both for your time today.

Ms. BERRENT: Thank you.

Mr. HUGHES: Thanks.

CONAN: We'll talk more about how social - no, we won't. When many Americans think of the United Nations, they think of one thing: blue helmet. We'll talk with the former head of U.N.'s peacekeeping operations next. Join the conversation: 800-989-8255. Email: Stay with us.

I'm Neal Conan. It's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

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