Where do you find global leaders calling upon a crowd of 60,000 people to eradicate global poverty? No other place than the Global Citizen Festival.
I am so grateful for the generosity of the Global Poverty Project and the Global Citizen Festival. After I took action to address global health and food security through emailing, calling and tweeting world leaders, I was thrilled to hear that I won tickets to the event. I was deeply immersed in the cause. It was profoundly moving to address issues of global importance with incredible policymakers and pop stars that inspire me each day.
Global citizenship took the center stage in New York City this weekend as international leaders convened at the United Nations for the General Assembly. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate poverty by 2030 were successfully adopted.
An expansive 60,000 person wave of change convened in Central Park as notable figures called upon the international community to address the dire state of poverty. Hosted by Stephen Colbert and Hugh Jackman, the show welcomed speakers such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Katie Holmes. Leo DiCaprio noted that “right now Europe is paralyzed trying to absorb the influx of over a million Syrian refugees”.
I was enamored by the cadence of Malala’s call to action. Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, stood in front of me and asked the crowd to stand with her and girls around the world for education and peace. It was a humbling experience to see someone I so look up to in person. Malala hopes for education to be regarded as a human right in this fast paced global society, saying that "No one leader would want their child deprived of an education"
Chris Martin, Coldplay’s lead vocalist, pledged to help the Global Citizen organization for the next 15 years to eradicate poverty. Coldplay performed with Ariana Grande and debuted their new song “Amazing Day”. Chris Martin from Coldplay sang “Thinking Out Loud” with Ed Sheeran.
Powerful women dominated the stage in Central Park. Beyoncé stole the show as she performed songs such as “Single Ladies” and “Survivor”. Beyoncé gave First Lady Michelle Obama a welcoming hug on stage. Mrs. Obama encouraged everyone to tweet #62MillionGirls to highlight the 62 million girls who are not enrolled in school.
Vice President Joe Biden took the stage at the Global Citizen Festival and called upon the audience to take action, noting “There are many different issues that bring us here tonight: extreme poverty, climate change, [and] standing up for women and girls”.
Feet away from the stage, I was thrilled to hear Bill and Melinda Gates present. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, declared that the road to eradicate poverty will have its challenges, but we can achieve it.
Pearl Jam concluded the show with a brilliant set full of colorful lights and powerful music. Millions of Americans watched from home as MSNBC streamed a live taping of the concert on televisions across the U.S.
We must not be a generation of bystanders; we must be a generation of informed and engaged global citizens who take on the mantle of leadership in our society. Through ensuring prosperity for all, we must combat climate change, protect life below water, foster gender equality, promote well-being and advocate for quality education. There is no one else better than global citizens to tackle this issue. The next 15 years look very promising; we are the generation that can eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.