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Receiving the highest honor for a non-governmental organization in international Geneva, the WCC received acknowledgment in a ceremony on 1 February for its innovative, effective social media outreach and engagement. 

Geneva Engage examines Genevas global footprint by looking at the social media engagement of Geneva-based organisations and Genevas web relevance and online meetings.

Ultimately, Geneva Engage examines the links between International Geneva and communities from around the world that are affected by the policies discussed and negotiated in Geneva in areas such as development, human rights, and digital issues.

WCC moderator Bishop Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm expressed great joy about the award. “Communication is crucial for our global network of churches to be a source of peace and reconciliation in a fragile and divided world,” he said. “As churches we are deeply rooted in the local communities all over the world and yet all share the universal vision of a world in which all human beings can live in dignity and in respect of each other and of nature.”

Bedford-Strohm noted that we can promote this vision in the discourse of global civil society and in the consultations with politics only through good communication. “The Geneva Engage Award is a wonderful acknowledgment and encouragement of these efforts.” he said. “I am proud of our communication team for being the winner of this award, and I see it as strong backwind for the WCC’s involvement in a world, which so much needs spiritual and moral renewal.”

WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay said he was grateful for the honor, for the WCC staff members, and for the global audience for their interest and inspiration.

Being situated in Geneva, the WCC is blessed to have many, many global bodies dealing with significant issues on a global level,” he said. As WCC general secretary, I believe we need to be even more connected to these non-governmental organizations.”

We are facing some serious challenges now—the war in Ukraine and Russia, rising nuclear threats, climate change, poverty, gender-based violence, HIV and AIDS, and the COVID-19 pandemic, Pillay added. All these things require Christians to come together and work together—but not only Christians, people of other faiths and no faith as well. Consequently, good and appropriate communication is vital for collaboration and cooperation to steer interventions and transform the world.”

He added: “I am pleased that the work of our communications team is being recognized and appreciated.”

A global face

The face of the WCC has been reaching more and more people across the world.

From a website visited more than two million times in 2022, to more than 92,000 followers and fans on social media, the images and stories of the WCC have been travelling across the globe in many ways.

The WCC website saw a 7 percent increase in 2022 attendance compared to 2021. The month with the highest attendance was September—during the WCC 11th Assembly—when 257,000 visitors clicked in, twice the average number of monthly visitors during the rest of 2022.

During 2022, the WCCs social media channels—Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—drew more than 92,000 followers, including 5,808 new fans. The WCC published over 2,000 social media posts on the three different channels that reached over 2 million people and appeared on different timelines 3.5 million times.

In its communication strategy, the WCC envisions itself as a catalyst for change for a world with unity, justice, and peace at its heart, said WCC communication director Marianne Ejdersten.

She added that WCC communicators also strive to be inclusive; the core of their work involves participation and, most of all, hope. Our task is to ignite hope for a better world where human dignity prevails,” said Ejdersten. Human dignity and equality must permeate all communications.

Thanks to the WCC fellowships strong interactions, our common voice resounds clearly in social media,” said Ejdersten. May we continue to be messengers of hope, unity, and justice!”

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What leads to a Geneva Engage Award? Clear structure, efficient methodology, and dedicated content (WCC news release 1 February 2023)