To promote the 2030 Agenda and #FirstGeneration, the Embassy of Sweden together with the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) and twenty students from their graduating Swedish programme initiated a social media campaign. The students’ posts with the #FirstGeneration hashtag were read two million times during the three-week campaign and led to thousands of comments about the UN Global Goals.
The students were divided into groups and asked to choose one of the goals, explain why that goal is important to them, and communicate their message on the Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo. Some of the main topics were gender discrimination, women’s exercise and sustainable cities. Several experts were invited by the Embassy to hold inspirational lectures for the students about topics related to the Global Goals.
#FirstGeneration – a social media success
To implement the campaign, the Embassy created a Chinese version of the hashtag #FirstGeneration to use on Weibo: #第一代人#. During the three week period the hashtag was viewed 1 943 000 times and received over 3 200 comments. Some of the students contacted online celebrities and asked them to forward their posts. They also used instant messaging app WeChat to spread their message. Many of the posts contained videos that the students had produced, which contributed to the large number of forwards – around 5 000.
The students created several campaigns of their own under the #FirstGeneration hashtag. One group initiated PinkDay to promote the goal of health and well-being by focusing on gender and exercise. Another project called AskAnnika interviewed Swedish women with the goal of empowering women in China. A third group of students focused on the goal of qualitative education by giving greater creative freedom to school children as a statement against the test result-oriented school environment of today.
Congratulated by Ambassador Anna Lindstedt
On 27 September, the students and their teachers were invited to the Embassy to present their work. A total of nine groups gave presentations on a wide range of topics, all related to one of the Global Goals. After the presentations the students were congratulated by Ambassador Anna Lindstedt on their successful campaigns, and all participants were awarded a diploma signed by the Ambassador.