Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Citizenship

20 of the Most Inspiring Quotes from the Global Citizen Festival Stage


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Global Citizens, including activists and music fans, gather every year to call on world leaders to achieve the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development and end extreme poverty. Motivational celebrity guest speakers help spread the event’s mission. You can join us in taking action on this issue here. 

The stage at the Global Citizen Festival is a powerful place — a platform from which world leaders, incredible musical artists, and extraordinary humans share their visions for a world without poverty.

Over the past six years that Global Citizen has been combining pop and policy all over the world, from New York to Mumbai, there have been dozens of incredibly inspirational moments on that stage.

Now, with just one day to go before the 2018 Global Citizen Festival in New York City, we’re looking back at 20 of the most inspirational quotes from luminaries, leaders, and Global Citizens just like you.

Read More: 18 Stunning Photos From Global Citizen Festival Hamburg


“[T]he fact is that today, 130 million girls of all ages are still not in school. This breaks my heart, both as a woman whose life was transformed by my education and as the mother of two daughters, who wants them and every girl on this planet to fulfill her boundless potential, and become who and what she’s meant to be.” 

Former first lady Michelle Obama, videoing into Global Citizen Festival in New York City, 2017

“I wish you could see what I see because when I look out at all of this I say this is how you change the world. You don’t have to wait for everybody, you can do it on your own. This is how we change the world — one person at a time saying: ‘This is what has to happen, and I’m not gonna take the BS anymore.’”

Actress Whoopi Goldberg, on stage at Global Citizen Festival in New York City, 2017

"Chimpanzees help prove there is no sharp line that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. And yet knowing that they have emotions like ours, we still show cruelty toward animals and each other. With our clever brains, how is it that we humans are destroying the environment?"

Primatologist Jane Goodall, on stage at Global Citizen Festival in New York City, 2017 

“None of us can move forward if half of us are held back.” 

Actress Lupita Nyong’o, on stage at Global Citizen Festival in New York City, 2017 

“We're going to end extreme poverty by 2030. Fact.”
Jay Z, on the Global Citizen Festival India stage in 2016.

Jay_Z_GCF_NYC.jpg

“I know many of you have been raising awareness about an issue I care deeply about, the fact that right now nearly 62 million girls worldwide are not in school…. This year I’m asking you to take the next step and actually take action to help these girls learn… These girls are counting on us to be their champions, and I intend to keep using my voice to speak out on their behalf, not just for the rest of my time in the White House, but for the rest of my life. I hope you all will join me.”
First lady Michelle Obama, on the Global Citizen Festival stage in New York City, 2015.

Michelle_Obama_GCF_NYC.jpg

“Our efforts here will be in vain if we do not also address the forces that are threatening to destroy our very planet. The first people to suffer the effects of these calamities will be the world’s poor and most marginalized.”
Leonardo DiCaprio, on the Global Citizen Festival stage in New York City, 2015.

Leo_DiCaprio_GCF_NYC.jpgImage: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen

“Every year at this time, the world comes to New York City at this time and this concert is all about giving back to this world. Whether you’re here in Central Park or watching from somewhere else, you are now part of the global fight to end extreme poverty.”
President Barack Obama, during a video broadcast on the Global Citizen Festival stage in New York City, 2014.

Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 12.41.07 PM.png

“It’s not natural for people to live in extreme poverty and I feel proud to be part of a movement that isn’t just building, it’s huge already.” 
Hugh Jackman, at the Global Citizen Festival New York Red Carpet, 2014

Time Travel Hugh Jackman.jpgImage: Gage Skidmore

“We have to reach beyond ourselves, we have to be a light to the world.”
Joe Biden, on stage at the Global Citizen Festival New York, 2015

Joe_Biden_2015_GCF (1).jpg

“Given the opportunity, women and girls can change the world.”
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and Mrs. Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, Global Citizen Festival Hamburg stage, 2017.

Canadian leaders_Justin-Trudeau-Sophie-Gregoir

“That is the sound of change in 2017.”  
Pharrell Williams, Global Citizen Festival Hamburg stage, 2017.

Hamburg_Pharrell_RamonHaindlForGlobalCitizen_6.jpg

“This is the type of event that allows people to feel they’re part of a movement and to participate in activism, people who maybe have felt excluded from the world of activism and philanthropy before. It’s a reminder that we’re all responsible for making the world a better place.” 
 Olivia Wilde, at the Global Citizen Festival New York Red Carpet, 2014.

usher and olivia wilde gcf.jpgImage: Getty Images

“I believe we can speak with one voice.” 
Narendra Modi on stage at the Global Citizen Festival New York, 2014.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Hugh Jackman GCF 2014 Kevin Mazur.jpgImage: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen

"You are the generation that can end extreme poverty by 2030." 
Ban Ki-moon on stage at the Global Citizen Festival New York, 2014

Kim and Moon.jpg

“I’m here standing with four other girls for a cause, for a basic human right — the right to go to school.”
Malala Yousafzai, on stage at the Global Citizen Festival New York, 2015.

photo highlights 2015 gcf malala.jpg

“My call to action for you tonight is to know your power, to know your power to drive change, to know your power to advance the vision of a more just and sustainable world, to know the power to spread your dreams, to know the power of your dreams and then to spread them to others to stand with us in these shared goals.”
Nancy Pelosi, on stage at the Global Citizen Festival New York, 2016.

nancy_pelosi_gcfestival_2016.jpgImage: Global Citizen / Getty Images

“That’s why it’s important for all governments to investigate and record all killings, suicides, and disappearances of women that are taking place, and to ensure that there are laws to punish these killers.”
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy on stage at the Global Citizen Festival New York, 2016.

Salma_Sharmeen.jpg

“Mental health support can help enable refugees, like Nadia, and many others who have been victims of conflict to seek justice, provide closure, and heal.”
Demi Lovato, on stage at the Global Citizen Festival Hamburg, 2017.

Hamburg_DemiLovato_Stage_GreyHuttonForGlobalCitizen.jpg

“Every woman, and every girl, should be able to decide, for herself: how many kids she wants to have, when she wants to have them, and with whom she wants to have them.”
Alexander de Croo, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, on stage at the Global Citizen Festival Hamburg, 2017.

Hamburg_AlexanderDeCroo_GreyHuttonForGlobalCitizen.jpgImage: Grey Hutton/Global Citizen


The 2018 Global Citizen Festival in New York will be presented for the very first time by Citi. MSNBC and Comcast NBCUniversal will air a live simulcast of the Festival on MSNBC and MSNBC.com. The Festival will also be livestreamed on YouTube and Twitter, presented by Johnson & Johnson. Proud partners of the 2018 Global Citizen Festival include Global Citizen’s global health partner and major partner Johnson & Johnson, and major partners P&G, CHIME FOR CHANGE Founded by Gucci, Verizon, House of Mandela, iHeartMedia, and NYC Parks. Associate partners include Microsoft, Great Big Story, and One Championship.

GCF_NYC_2018_admat_Janet.png