Co-Founder and CEO
Hugh Evans is an internationally renowned humanitarian, one of the most recognized leaders in international development and the CEO and Co-Founder of Global Citizen, the world’s largest movement of citizens taking action to end extreme poverty now. Over the course of a decade, Global Citizen has grown to be a movement of tens of millions of people around the world working to defend the planet, defeat poverty and tackle inequality.
Hugh’s passion for poverty eradication was sparked at the age of 14, when he spent the night in a slum in the Philippines, built on top of a garbage dump. This later led him to co-found the Oaktree Foundation, Australia’s first youth-run aid organization. The foundation focuses on creating education opportunities to countries in need across Asia Pacific and African regions, and is still run today by people 16 to 26. In 2006, Evans coordinated the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign in Australia, culminating with a concert on the eve of the G20 meeting. With support from Bono and Pearl Jam, the Australian Government agreed to double its investment in international development. Immediately following, with a grant from the United Nations, Global Citizen was born with the mission of building an unstoppable movement toward eradicating extreme poverty.
The Global Citizen model rewards people for taking action - through acts of service, citizens earn their way in experiences, like the Global Citizen Festival. The festival takes place on the Great Lawn in Central Park, where it annually coincides with the UN General Assembly. Since 2012, the festival has gone on to take place in London, Paris, Lagos, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Hamburg, Toronto, Berlin, and Johannesburg. In 2021, Global Citizen hosted ‘Global Citizen Live’, a 24-hour global broadcast filmed across 6 continents. This once in a generation campaign secured over 60M COVID-19 vaccines, 157M trees planted, and over $1.1B USD committed to climate, famine, and COVID response efforts.
Over the last 10 years, Global Citizens have taken over 30.7 million actions. Today, these actions, in combination with high-level advocacy work, have secured over $41.4 billion being distributed to our partners around the world, impacting 1.15 billion lives in the fight to defeat poverty and defend the planet.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Global Citizen produced ‘One World: Together at Home’ alongside Lady Gaga and the World Health Organization - a global broadcast special that raised $127M to purchase and provide PPE to frontline healthcare workers.
Recently, Global Citizen coordinated ‘Stand Up For Ukraine’, a global social media rally - with support from Billie Eilish, Oprah, Pharrell, Bruce Springsteen, Celine Dion, Jonas Brothers, Elton John, Metallica, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lopez, U2, and more - that culminated with a pledging summit hosted by European Commission President von der Leyen and Prime Minister Trudeau, raising $10.1 billion for refugees and internally displaced people of Ukraine.
For his efforts, Hugh has been named Young Australian of the Year, featured on Forbes 30 Under 30 (2012), and in 2021 was honored in Town & Country’s Philanthropy Summit. Hugh has also been honored as Billboard magazine’s Humanitarian of the Year (2015). Global Citizen currently owns two Guinness Book of World Records, has won multiple Webby awards, and was named to Fast Company’s Most Innovative Businesses in 2021.
Hugh earned his Bachelor Degree in Law and Science from Monash University (Melbourne, Australia), as well as completing his Master of Philosophy in International Relations from the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, England). Hugh’s also received two Honorary Doctorates from Utah State University and St. John’s University.