The last weekend of September was such a tease. Summer decided to prolong its ephemeral visit- and where’s a better place to be on a sunny day than an outdoor concert? My friend scored free tickets to the Global Citizen Festival. I tagged along- unsure of what to expect, but with an open mind.
The third annual Global Citizen Festival, run by an organization called the Global Poverty Project, took place in Central Park. The lineup included Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys, Jay Z, Sting, No Doubt, Fun., Tiesto, and The Roots. Hey, live music is live music; I went because it was free and because I love Gwen Stefani. And I was impressed, chiefly by the organization’s vision and efforts to bring about change to the world.
The Global Poverty Project is described as “an international education and advocacy organization.” I surely think they fulfilled this status on Saturday night. Approximately 60,000 people (mostly under 25) were exposed to striking videos between acts. The clips clearly spread awareness on our world’s most distressing affairs, from children’s lack of access to education, to women’s rights issues and the scarcity of clean water and sanitation. The special guests were impressive- and I don’t mean the music artists. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, the U.N.’s Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon and Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela (Chairman of Africa Rising foundation) all made appearances as advocates against world hunger.
One of the Global Poverty Project’s goals is to end world poverty by 2030. According to the UN, more than 800 million people (one in nine) suffer from hunger- approving that this is a lofty goal. Worldhunger.org states that world hunger is not due to scarcity of resources, but due to difficulty in obtaining these resources as a result of poverty.
Ultimately, the Global Citizen festival was an enjoyable outdoor concert that brought attention to more serious issues that many people tend to avoid: that too many people are bereft of sanitation, education, medicine, and food worldwide. And we can make a difference by supporting campaigns and organisations creating sustainable change. The Global Poverty Project states, “There are more than 250,000 Global Citizens already taking action around the world.” Our generation has the power to shape our world, we just need to act.