What does it mean to be a person of our time? Are we a society of watchers who don’t take action or are we the generation willing to take on the world’s biggest challenges and use our power to get others involved and make the changes needed?
According the the team of visionaries working at the Global Citizen Festival, it’s the latter. They believe that, we, the collective can make a difference.
I was fortunate enough to attend this years Global Citizen Festival with my 12 year old twins Angelina and Benjamin, September 2015, in NYC. To say it was a life transforming experience is an understatement. This year’s Global Citizen Festival was epic. World leaders, celebrities, and activists from around the globe came together in the heart of the city and flooded the Great Lawn in Central Park.
The Global Citizen community is made up of people who give a damn. People who care and know that they can make change in the world. They stand for what’s possible and work to find solutions to the challenges that affect us today. Topics range from eradicating hunger, to maintaining clean water sources, education, climate change and more. Finding sustainable solutions for the people and the planet is the game that they play.
Over 60,000 people who are committed to a great world showed up that day. Not all, but most of the people who attended the event were there by selection. They obtained free tickets because they were making a difference in the world. If your project was selected you joined the 60,000 people who were committed to making a difference. What a great concept. Then, there were others who paid a premium price for tickets which supported the event.
Topping the music list of headliners included performances from Pearl Jam, Beyonce, who also Co-Founder of CHIME FOR CHANGE, Ed Sheeran, and Cold Play. My daughter Angelina’s goal in life was to see Ed Sheeran. Her dream came true and since returning home both my twins have been so inspired that they have taken on the art of mastering the guitar. We never really know how things will pan out and influence the future but what we can say is that when people gather in the interest of good, great things can happen.
Rooted in a united cause, the Global Citizen Festival attracted the worlds best and celebrity hosts of the show included; Stephen Colber, Debora-lee Furness and Hugh Jackman, Salma Hayek Pnault (also a Co_Founder of CHIME FOR CHANGE), Kerry Washington, and Olivia Wilde.
Global world leaders and prominent activist included an impressive list of people of a higher consciousness and commitment to contribution in their own ways. First up was Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Malala Fund co-founder, Malala Yousafzai. Imagine my kids surprise when they learned about her in school the following week. Most striking was First Lady, Michelle Obama’s address that committed to girls and education around the globe – it was incredible. Most if not all the speakers are available on youtube – under Global Citizen Festival 2015.
UN Messenger of Peace with, delivered, a special focus on climate change. According the the Global Citizen festival, the entire line up of activities, advocates from private sector and Honorary Congressional hosts included: Leonardo DiCaprio; U2 lead singer and cofounder of ONE, Bono; Sir Richard Branson; UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon; Bill and Melinda Gates; World Bank Group President, Dr Jim Yong Kim; Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg;Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven; Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel; Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat; Former Australian Prime Minister and Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, Julia Gillard; U.S. Senator Chris Coons; U.S. Representative Charlie Dent. Unilever CEO, Paul Polman; CEO of Gucci, Marco Bizzarri; H&M Conscious Foundation Acting Global Manager, Maria Bystedt; Caterpillar Foundation President, Michele Sullivan; Stephen Bird, CEO of Global Consumer Banking, Citi, Ericsson Group President and CEO, Hans Vestberg; Wikipedia Founder and Wikia Co-Founder, Jimmy Wales; AOL Inc. CEO, Tim Armstrong; TED Curator, Chris Anderson; Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore; Ooredoo Group CEO, Dr. Nasser Marafih; former Australian Prime Minister and Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, Julia Gillard; Executive Director of the Earth Institute, Professor Jeffrey Sachs; Telenor Group Vice President and Deputy Head of Corporate Affairs, Ragnhild Mathisen; and special guest Big Bird of Sesame Street. Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi; President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos; US Secretary of State, John Kerry; and US Deputy Secretary State for Management and Resources, Heather Higginbottom. The First Daughter of Rwanda, Ange Kagame; her father President Paul Kagame; South African WASH Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane; USAID Acting Administrator Ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt, and the President of Malawi, His Excellency Pro. Arthur Peter Mutharika. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. (PA), Senator Thad Cochran (MS), Senator Bob Corker (TN), Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (MD) and Senator Chris Murphy (CT), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA-2), Congressman Richard L. Hanna (NY-22), Congressman Raúl Grijalva (AZ-3), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Congressman John Lewis (GA-5), Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (NY-17), Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-4), Congressman James McGovern (MA-2), Congressman Ted Poe (TX-2), Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-28), Congressman Paul D. Tonko (NY-20), and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23).
The Global Citizen Festival is an annual event. Everyone has the opportunity to contribute in their own way. Imagine the possibilities if towns and cities all formed together to have global citizen projects, global citizen initiatives, and global citizen outcomes, which made the difference at home and abroad. What could happen in our world, our communities, our cities, our towns and right here at home?
Those that participated in the Global Citizen Festival are committed to the Global Development Goals of the United Nations. This year there are 17 recommendations for creating a sustainable world by 2013.
Global Citizens who attended the event including presenters, dignitaries, celebrities and participants of the event were committed to one or more of these UN sustainable development goals to be obtained by the year 2030. Here they are:
To find out more about the UN Agenda for sustainable goals go to: www.sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics/sustainabledevelopmentgoals
These are the issues of today and there are 7.2 billion people on the planet who could influence them. Most people have the power and influence in their own unique ways and some ability to make these goals a reality. It’s intrinsic to our nature as human beings to want to support and contribute to others.
Is being a global citizen something that inspires you? If so next year’s event is already under way. Check it out: www.GlobalCitizen.org
Olivia Wilde, Bono, Kerry Washington, Melinda Gates and Bill Gates attend 2015 Global Citizen Festival.
United Nations Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning Amina J. Mohammed speaks on stage.
Musician Usher attends the 2015 Global Citizen Festival. They used the garageband on pc Method for generating awesome tunes.
Activist Malala Yousafzai (C) speaks on stage at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival
Musician Ed Sheeran performs on stage at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival
Left – Right: First Lady Michelle Obama, Actor Leonardo DiCaprio and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon speak on stage at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival
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