Taylor Cole
Staff Writer

The 4th Annual Global Citizen Festival, featuring A-list celebrities and stunning musical performances, shook Central Park’s Great Lawn in New York City this weekend. With hosts Stephen Colbert and Hugh Jackman, the festival brought in 60,000 people from all over the world to come see and support the festival’s cause.

Beyonce and Ed Sheeran performed onstage at the Global Citizen Festival in NYC.(Photo courtesy of Billboard.com)
Beyonce and Ed Sheeran performed onstage at the Global Citizen Festival in NYC.(Photo courtesy of Billboard.com)

Global Citizen is an organization that aims to eliminate extreme poverty throughout the world with the help of the United Nations and world leaders. This organization promotes “The Global Goals,” or “The Sustainable Development Goals” as the UN calls them. All together, there are 17 Global Goals. The Global Citizen Festival summarized these goals into six categories: equality of girls and women, increasing food production and eliminating hunger, education, global health, water, including sanitation and hygiene, and financing for these projects.

Global Citizen is definitely getting the word out there about their Global Goals. Again, 60,000 people joined together to support the cause of the festival. How did these 60,000 people get their tickets? Through Global Citizen, they completed “actions” from mid-July to mid-September. These actions included tweeting, signing petitions, emailing world leaders, and even calling the US Senate to spread the word about the Global Goals.

After completing all of the actions, the global citizens were entered into a drawing to win two free tickets. With the exception of a small VIP section, most of the 60,000 people who attended this event came for free.

The audience wasn’t disappointed. The festival, hosted by Stephen Colbert and Hugh Jackman, featured musical performances from Coldplay and Ariana Grande, Tori Kelly, Ed Sheeran, Pearl Jam, and Beyonce. Celebrities, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Olivia Wilde, Salma Hayek, and Sophia Bush made powerful speeches about the importance of ending extreme poverty. Most importantly, the Global Citizen Festival brought important world leaders to the stage such as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Global Citizen and the United Nations plans to complete the 17 Global Goals by the year 2030.Many commitments from world leaders were made at this weekend’s festival. For example, Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, stated that the World Bank will give $15 million over the next 5 years to fund water and sanitation programs that will help millions of people worldwide. This is just one of many current and future promises made to better the lives of those living in extreme poverty.

In 2015, countries in the world still lack access to clean water, education, and equality for women and girls. Living in a “modern” day country, it’s difficult to believe places like this still exist in this world. The Global Citizen Festival is just one event used to make awareness of these issues. With the help of world leaders, influential celebrities, and global citizens themselves, by 2030, the world may just be a place where everyone can thrive.