23 October 2015

#UN70: My Stroll with Elyx, United Nations Digital Ambassador

Elyx is the United Nations’ first digital ambassador, and its job description is, One, to smile; two, to carry the message of the UN around the world; and three, to smile again (Lol)

As we celebrate United Nations Day, today October 24th, I take a stroll with the brain behind this wonderful project, Elyx, to discuss animation as a force for good and Elyx’ journey around the world carrying out his duty as digital ambassador.

Watch out! Elyx might be visiting your city soon!!! Here’s my stroll with Yak and Elyx.

Ebenezar: What inspired you to start Elyx? 

Yak: First it was a pure artistic research, to find a very essential form to express a maximum amount of emotion. As I was a digital artist and director, I naturally looked for a form that could exist in a kind of augmented reality, and play with real elements. Elyx was born out of this research. 

I started travelling with Elyx trying to find a universal expression through drawing and the freedom of childhood and smile. Elyx became viral on Social networks, and then I met the UN.

Yak, the brain behind Elyx
Ebenezar: Is this project like a formal partnership with the United Nations, or...?

Yak: The collaboration didn’t start formally at all, I met the UNRIC in Brussels that used Elyx for digital communication but very quickly the HQ in New York used it too and after almost one year of hard work and goodwill involvement, UN declared Elyx its first digital ambassador. 

Ebenezar: Wow, that’s so cool.

Yak: Yeah! The partnership with the UN came by Elyx’ popularity on social networks, and I am very proud and glad this very citizen project may help spreading the UN’s universal values.

Ebenezar: Elyx has a lot of followership (I mean he's even got more followers than me on Instagram). What are some goals of this project? What do you plan to do with the engagement you've already gathered?

Yak: Elyx’ motto is WE ARE ONE. Even the name ELYX refers to the DNA Helix, a kind of common human capital we all share. My goal with Elyx it to involve everyone; Elyx has no culture or nationality and creates links and connections everyone everywhere he goes.

I try to share good vibes, smiles and hope, while I am very conscious of global issues—I believe we have to act positively despite the challenges we face. Elyx is my contribution to this goal of a positive world, and I achieve this by using powerful tools like social media, traditional media, books, etc.

Ebenezar: What are some activities Elyx has planned for the UN’s 70th Anniversary?

Yak: Elyx has been in many different countries, meeting many different people everywhere showing them what the UN does every day. For this travel Elyx used no oil, no passport or Visa, and everybody understood him and he shared his smile everywhere. Somehow, he’s virtually living in the kind of sustainably developed world we all hope for.

Ebenezar: What have you learned as an individual in course of carrying out this project?

Yak: I have learned so much and I continue to learn. I learned that we all have common points and I am deeply convinced we should work more on that. 

I have learned that a smile is very powerful, much more than what I believed. I learned that people are much more creative than what they think, they have a huge potential that needs the right context to express itself.

Ebenezar: Finally, let's talk about the potential of animation as a force for good. Elyx has shown us one way, what other ways can animation be used as a force for good?

Yak: I think we are entering in a new age of citizen power, thanks to digital technologies and social networks. People are able to organize themselves for what they believe, they take action more and more often and easily, this leads to totally new ways to govern for traditional states.

For instance, campaign sites like Avaaz express very powerfully and positively the voice of a citizen. Elyx is a very contemporary hero, playing with digital communication and 2030 global objectives, acting for a better world.

Ebenezar: Any final words before we go?

Yak: Yes, Elyx is also a collaborative project. With Elyx Parties, I share drawings so people can also express themselves positively with Elyx. A book was just published in France, I hope there will be many more international editions to share this vision and make the world smile. To follow ELYX on Social Media, search @elyxyak. Our Website is www.elyx.net

Ebenezar: Thank you so much for your time, Yacine. It was indeed a pleasure speaking with you. Good luck with Elyx as you travel around the world.

Yak: Thank you for having me, Ebenezar.

For more about Yacine's work, visit his blog here.

Food for the Soul: "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart;good news makes for good health." (Proverbs 15: 30, NLT)

(Images Credit: Yak)

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