Today, in collaboration with Harvard University and other partners, Lady Gaga is officially launching her "Born This Way Foundation". As discussed on this blog, on news outlets, and in the peer reviewed literature, bullying is a serious problem with potential connection to public health issues such as depression and suicide. Lady Gaga has been a vocal anti-bullying advocate, and in 2011 channeled that energy into the development of a Foundation. Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta, founded the Born This Way Foundation to foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated.
The launch is being held at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre. Lady Gaga and her mother will be joined on stage by Oprah Winfrey, author and speaker Deepak Chopra, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and esteemed Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree to discuss the vision of the organization, and how we can all get involved.
An academic symposium has been planned in conjunction with the launch. The event invites researchers, policymakers, and foundation representatives to discuss ways to reach youth and promote a culture free from bullying. I'm proud to see that my former employer, the Education Development Center, has been invited to the symposium and will share insights from their extensive research in this area.
I look forward to hearing more about the vision of the organization, because although Lady Gaga is hugely influential (at the time of this post, she had 19,773,280 followers on twitter), the strategies and tangible goals for the Foundation are not completely clear from their website. Under their mission statement, they list three pillars of the Foundation:
What strategies do you think could help BTWF support the three pillars of safety, skills, and opportunity?
What outcomes should they look at in order to evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts?