Emily Balan/News Copy Editor
The hum of excited conversation and Dutch DJ Tiesto playing in the distance filled the late September air as masses of people waited in line, starting six blocks before the 73rd Street entrance and through the maze of barricades, to finally enter the expansive Great Lawn in Central Park for the third annual Global Citizens Festival.
The “concert to end extreme poverty” estimated about 60,000 spectators in attendance Saturday Sept. 27, according to MSNBC. It was aired on MSNBC and MSNBC.com, hosted by Chris Hayes, Alex Wagner, and Ronan Farrow.
The musical lineup included Jay-Z, No Doubt, Carrie Underwood, fun., The Roots and Tiesto; last minute special guests Alicia Keys and Sting; and surprise guest Beyoncé. Special musical performances included “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones and performed by fun. Additionally, Carrie Underwood covered “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. Sting performed “Message in a Bottle” with No Doubt, an amazing collaboration. The show stopper of the night was Beyoncé performing “Holy Grail” with Jay-Z and the Jay-Z cover of “Young Forever.”
The goal of the Global Citizens movement is to end extreme poverty by 2030. One statistic reported at the Festival claimed that half the people affected by extreme poverty are under the age of 25. The festival focused on the importance of sanitation, vaccination and universal education in battling the global issue of extreme poverty.
Short videos highlighting individuals who directly demonstrate these problems were interspersed with speakers and musical performers. One video highlighted Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was attacked because she spoke out in favor of women’s rights and universal education.
Everyone rose to their feet excitedly from their lounging positions on the lush green lawn when President Barack Obama spoke in a pre-recorded video, encouraging people “to step up” to face these issues. Similar excitement was shown for the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who challenged all world leaders to develop ambitious plans to end extreme poverty.
Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway, summed up the purpose of the festival when she said in a statement, “We are here to stop poverty. Let’s stop waiting for others to do something and do it ourselves.”
Norway is scaling up, doubling its support of global education. Solberg stated that by 2017, Norway will allocate $600 million to education and $100 million to support the recent partnership of Project Atlas and the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SUI), a public agency promoting international cooperation in education and research.
Preceding a speech given by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, it was stated that one billion people in the world do not have access to a toilet. In response, the prime minister pledged to make a toilet available to every citizen of India by 2019.
The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power spoke about the Ebola outbreak and the importance of vaccination in Third World countries.
“Make more noise than you’re making now,” Power encouraged the audience. “Every government has to know it matters to you.”
Actress Connie Britton spoke several times on stage and in videos. Actor Hugh Jackman also made multiple appearances on stage and in videos, encouraging the audience to join him in being global citizens by spreading the word and thereby increasing awareness of the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.
Jessica Alba, Zachary Quinto and Katie Holmes were among the celebrity activists showing their support for the event. Returning Global Citizens advocate Olivia Wilde reminded people that “your dollar is your vote” but at the same time “your voice can be as powerful as your wallet.”
There are some ways students can become involved in the Global Citizens campaign. Actress Dianna Agron promoted a campaign to #ShowYourSelfie to spread awareness by taking a selfie in your Global Citizens t-shirt, available for purchase online.
In another campaign, the phrase “I’m Busy Giving a S—” was posted on the bathroom doors at the event. Its purpose is to raise awareness of the global issue of adequate sanitation. People are encouraged to take pictures of the sign, available for purchase online, and post it to social media with the hashtag “#OpenDefacation” to show support for the third of the world that does not have access to proper sanitation.
Emily Balan can be reached at Emily.Balan@student.shu.edu.