Hundreds of thousands of Global Citizens take action every year in the run up to Global Citizen Festival, supporting the campaign to end extreme poverty NOW and calling on world leaders to take action to build a better world.
This year marked the 10th anniversary of Global Citizen Festival in New York City, where we introduced our unique blend of pop and policy to the world. On Sept. 24, 2022, we returned to our roots in New York’s Central Park, but also forged new connections in another cultural capital — Accra, Ghana — where we unified more Global Citizens around a common cause: to end extreme poverty NOW.
In between electrifying sets by some of the world’s most exciting artists — from Mariah Carey to Metallica, and Stormzy to TEMS — activists, advocates, and leaders from both the private and public sectors took the stages in both Accra and New York City to share inspiring stories, important victories, pledges, commitments, and calls to action.
All of these stage moments were in support of Global Citizen’s larger End Extreme Poverty NOW campaign, which is calling on world leaders to step up and invest in the well-being and empowerment of women and girls, close the climate financing gap, deliver essential funding to Africa’s smallholder farmers, curb the hunger crisis, and provide urgent relief from crushing debts.
“Amidst all the doomsday messages we hear today, hope lies in the fact that millions of citizens are rising up to take action, more than any other point in history,” said Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen, in a statement. “Ten years ago, Global Citizen was just an idea — and 10 years from now we’ll see a generation of Global Citizens running for office, starting companies, and transforming communities.”
Overall, the 2022 Global Citizen Festival campaign culminated in US$2.4 billion to end extreme poverty — including more than US$440 million earmarked exclusively to initiatives to end extreme poverty on the African continent. Find out more about the impact of the Global Citizen Festival campaign here.
Alongside that extraordinary mobilization of funding, there were so many powerful moments of action and advocacy that played out on the Global Citizen Festival stages — here are just some of our favorites.
1. Ursula von der Leyen Pledges Funding for Food Security, Girls & More
Longtime supporter of Global Citizen and champion of the UN’s Global Goals, President of the European Union Ursula von der Leyen announced new funding for food security, alongside support to prioritize girls and womens rights, biodiversity and more at the Global Citizen Festival: NYC.
2. Little Amal Sheds Light on Global Refugee Crisis
The global refugee crisis has surged once again in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has displaced tens of millions of people from their homes. Giant puppet Little Amal is a stark visual reminder that children experience disproportionate harm while displaced.
3. Belgium Commits 2.6M Euros to Protect Women & Girls Everywhere
Belgium has long supported women’s rights and empowerment globally and Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities Policy Meryame Kitir reaffirmed its commitment at the Global Citizen Festival: NYC with a financial pledge to the International Labor Organization to support women.
4. Global Menstrual Equity Accelerator
Founders of Women in Training, Inc. — Brooke and Breanna Bennett — joined Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu to announce the Global Menstrual Equity Accelerator at Global Citizen Festival: NYC to fight stigma, influence policy, and secure the resources needed to end period poverty.
5. Luxembourg Pledges New Funding for UNICEF and UNFPA to End FGM
Women’s sexual and reproductive health is under threat worldwide as countries roll back protections, but efforts are being made to stop this backlash and build on the advances that have been made in recent decades. Major commitments by the Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were announced at the Global Citizen Festival: NYC.
6. Activists Vanessa Nakate & Xiye Bastida Call for Climate Reparations
Two of the most prominent youth climate activists — Vanessa Nakate and Xiye Bastida — took the stage in New York to call for urgent climate action and criticize the ultra-wealthy who put their profits over the wellbeing of people and the planet.
7. Leaders of Island Nations Call for Climate Justice
The countries least responsible for the climate crisis are disproportionately harmed by its escalating impacts. That’s why Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Vanuatu President Nikenike Vurobaravu came together in New York to call on world leaders to establish climate loss and damage funds at the upcoming COP27 climate conference and phase out coal, oil, and gas.
8. Barbados PM Mia Mottley on Climate Change: 'Our Time Is Running Out'
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has emerged as one of the fiercest and most eloquent champions for justice worldwide. In this powerful speech at Global Citizen Festival: NYC, she calls for immediate climate action to safeguard communities and biodiversity.
9. Mitzy Cortés & Sofia Carson on Indigenous Solutions for Climate Change
Indigenous communities hold the knowledge and wisdom needed to overcome the climate crisis and establish economic systems that work in harmony with ecology. Climate activists Mitzy Cortés & Sofia Carson took the stage in New York to call for Indigenous rights to be safeguarded and empowered.
10. 50 YouTube Creators Call on Their Subscribers to Take Climate Action
YouTube is an immensely influential social media platform that helps to shape the worldview of billions of people worldwide. Global Citizen and YouTube invited 50 creators to a climate summit the day before the festival and these influencers vowed to advocate for climate action to their audiences.
11. Amina Mohammed on World in Crisis: 'We Are Not Helpless — Nor Hopeless'
Few leaders speak with as much conviction as United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, and she carried this fervor into her stage moment in New York, where she described the crises facing humanity and urged people to take action to rise above.
12. Activist Barbie Izquierdo: No One Should Ever Go Hungry
2022 Global Citizen Prize USA winner Barbie Izquierdo knows firsthand the hardship of hunger, and she drew on her lived experience to call on world leaders to ensure that all people have the food they need to survive and thrive.
13. Global Citizen Prize Winner Khanyisile Motsa Calls for Action for Girls
Over two decades ago, Khanyisile Motsa — or Mam’Khanyi as she’s affectionately known — founded the Home of Hope for Girls in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a safe haven for girls who have survived child trafficking, abuse, and gender-based violence. Empowering and protecting girls has been her life’s work, and the 2022 Global Citizen Prize: Citizen Award South Africa winner took to the stage at Global Citizen Festival: Accra to call on world leaders to do more to ensure the rights of girls across Africa.
14. Michaela Coel Reads Her Poem in Celebration of Love
The actor, writer, and director Michaela Coel shared a personal moment with the crowd of Global Citizens at Accra’s Black Star Square, reading her original poem “Love”, about how unconditional love can be, and how love is what we should crave and what we should give.
She read: “I want the kind of love that adores me for things I never knew I had, picks apart my every flaw, and kisses them.”
15. Ghana’s ‘Dance With Purpose’ Brought the Energy With Usher
Ghana’s very own Dance With Purpose academy brought the house down on Sept. 24. From their performance in Beyoncé’s “Already” music video, to creating viral dance routines on TikTok, the academy keeps putting Ghanaian dance on the map. And they did it again at Global Citizen Festival: Accra, showing off their dedication and extraordinary energy as they joined Usher onstage for his performance of “Yeah.”
16. Global Citizen Prize Winner ‘Yemi Adamolekun Told Us to Occupy the Highest Office of Citizenship
For 12 years, Global Citizen Prize: Citizen Award Nigeria winner ‘Yemi Adamolekun has been organizing young people to demand good governance and public accountability from their leaders. At Global Citizen Festival: Accra, she used her stage moment to remind Global Citizens of the power we hold as citizens to change our world and challenge us to fully occupy our space as citizens. She highlighted that through our voices and our actions, we all have the power as citizens to change policy and change lives.
17. United Nations in Ghana Pledges to Leave No One Behind
The United Nations has remained a committed ally to Ghana on the road to achieving the UN's Global Goals in the mission to end extreme poverty. The UN Regional Coordinator Charles Abani took to the Global Citizen Festival: Accra stage and announced a $260 million to strengthen institutions, support inclusive economic growth, and empower women and girls and persons with disabilities.
18. A Star Power Moment for Girls, for the Planet, and to Create Change
In a powerful moment of solidarity in the mission to create change for girls, for the planet, for advocacy, and for action, and to create change, five youth activists — Portia Adu Mensah, Margaret Impraim, Eugenia Baffour Bankoh, Lilipearl Baaba Otoo, and Chibeze Ezekiel — took to the stage in celebration and recognition of their work to make the world a better place for all.
19. Stormzy's Daddy Lumba T-Shirt
In a proud show of love from one great artist to another, for his performance Stormzy donned a t-shirt in honor of Ghanaian Highlife legend Daddy Lumba. Lumba himself took to Facebook to share how “immensely touched” he was by Stormzy’s homage.
“I would like to take this opportunity to share my gratitude and appreciation for the public display of love,” he wrote. “To say that the gesture was heartwarming and humbling is an understatement.”
20. Host Danai Gurira's Fiery Appeal to Protect the Planet
The Black Panther actress made a passionate and urgent plea from Black Star Square for world leaders to take real action to save our planet for this generation and most importantly the next.
“We can no longer stand by as climate change wreaks havoc on so many lives,” she said. “Our leaders must find solutions to the climate crisis and ensure that the well-being is not just for ourselves but also for our children. Enough is enough.”
21. The Launch of the African Prosperity Fund
Global Citizen Festival: Accra saw the official launch of the African Prosperity Fund, with the ambition of becoming a billion-dollar fund, created by Africans for Africans. This was announced by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, in collaboration with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa and former Executive Director of UN Women, Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. The fund will support projects across that continent ranging from the inclusion of women and youth, to education, health care, technology, and sustainability.
22. TEMS’ Call to Show Off Women
TEMS’ rocket-fuelled career is an inspiration to women and girls around the world working to make their dreams happen — and the Nigerian singer-songwriter brought that message of empowerment to the stage at Global Citizen Festival: Accra.
“Women need more chances, women need more opportunities in this world, and if I can give it, why not?” she told Joselyn Dumas and Nomzamo Mbatha backstage. “I feel like if you love someone you show them off, and I want to show every single woman off in the world because they deserve to be shown off.”
Global Citizen Festival calls on world leaders, corporations, and philanthropists to do more than they’ve ever done before to End Extreme Poverty NOW. Through our global campaign and with stages in two iconic locations — NYC’s Central Park and Accra’s Black Star Square — we united leaders, artists, activists, and Global Citizens around the world on Sept. 24 to achieve an ambitious policy agenda focused on empowering girls and women, taking climate action, breaking systemic barriers, and lifting up activists and advocates. But the fight isn't over yet. Join the campaign and take action right now on our website or by downloading the Global Citizen app.