Tonight in Central Park, top musicians, actors, politicians, and philanthropists came together before a massive crowd of nearly 60,000 people. The goal: to end extreme poverty by 2030. The event: the 3rd Annual Global Citizen Festival in New York City. The inspiring charity concert featured a diverse powerhouse of musical talent, including (in order of appearance), Tiësto, Alicia Keys, The Roots, fun., Carrie Underwood, No Doubt featuring Sting, and Jay Z with a surprise performance from Beyoncé.
The live-broadcasted concert was billed as a “free ticketed event” which required fans to complete tasks and accrue points on the Global Citizen Festival online platform to earn their entry. The challenges on the website worked to educate and spread awareness about issues of vaccines, education, and sanitation around the world. Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed motivating speeches from stars like Jessica Alba, Hugh Jackman, Zachary Quinto, Connie Britton, Olivia Wilde, and many more.
They also had the chance to see some major political figures and philanthropists speak live about the cause between sets, including Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India; Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine of Sweden; Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General; Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway; Sushil Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal; Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group; Hery Rajaonarimampianina, President of Madagascar; Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia; Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg; and President Barack Obama (his via pre-recorded video).
Tonight’s concert helped commit $2.9 billion in partnership with the World Bank, which will save 500,000 lives by 2015. The contribution is part of the World Bank’s global $15 billion pledge to improve clean water and sanitation. Leaders from Sweden, Norway, and India also pledged generous contributions throughout the festival.
The event was rich with memorable quotes, such as “The opposite of poverty is justice,” from Alicia Keys, and “You are now part of the global fight to end extreme poverty, and this is a fight we can win,” from Barack Obama. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also made a moving speech, which closed with a Sanskrit shloka, “sarve bhavantu sukhina, sarve santu niramaya. Sarve bhadrani pashayantu, ma kashchit dukh bhaagbhavet. Om shanti, shanti, shanti” which translates to “May all be prosperous and happy, may all be free from disease, may all see what is spiritual upliftment, may no one suffer. May no one suffer, Om peace, peace, peace.”