Girls’ Globe was present at the Global Citizen Festival, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, to provide coverage of the festival and to share stories of the JNJ Young Leaders.
During the festival Girls’ Globe’s team of young women bloggers interviewed festival participants, talked with the Young Leaders and reported live from the heart of the action. But here’s the question: Can a festival really create sustainable change or make a difference? Here are some of our bloggers’ thoughts:
I think the most profound moments during the Global Citizens Festival were when I had moments to contemplate the sheer magnitude of the experience. The idea that more than 60,000 people were gathered from all over the world with varying socioeconomic and religious backgrounds to celebrate change in spite of the current geopolitical climate. Priyanka Chopra said it best, “The Global Citizen Festival is the only gathering that empowers people to make the change that they want to see.” I’ve always been taught to celebrate in the good times and in the bad; on September 24 the Global Citizens came together to make noise against a slew of social injustices. Although I loved being outside and hearing the phenomenal artist, I think my favorite moment was when HP as well as other tech companies announced the creation of Learning Studios in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. I’m not sure how to put it into words, so I will just say YES!!!
– Wynter Oshiberu
It’s special to be involved in an event where artists and attendees alike are of one mind, seeking to better the world.
– Sarah North
The Global Citizen Festival was undoubtedly a festival with a difference. It raised awareness about issues affecting vulnerable populations across the world. We need to invest in education for girls, no girl below the age of 18 should be out of school for any reason. It is crucial that we jointly work towards building safer communities for women and girls. The most powerful tool we have after our voices, is the power of technology and social media to improve lives and influence decision-makers to adopt more inclusive and progressive policies and that will seek to protect the rights of women and girls.”
– Zanele Mabaso
At the Global Citizen Festival I was very inspired that they had a big focus on refugees and the crisis the world is standing in front of in light of war and injustice. What I was most inspired by was the fact that they brought people who had been in these horrible situations themselves. For example there was a girl who had swam as far as 3 kilometers while pushing a boat with people in it – just to help them survive. Now she lives in Germany and competed in this year’s Olympic Games as a swimmer. That inspires me and I am very thankful that Global Citizen is giving these people a chance to tell their story.
– Amanda Ring
The Global Citizen festival is very different from any other music festival, because the entire premise of the event is for people to take individual and collective action to solve some of the biggest and most pressing challenges of the world.
— Jashan Thapar (@JashanThapar) September 27, 2016
Through these actions and push from the festival and its thousands of participants and supporters, real commitments are made – for example, the Dutch government committed to spend $100 million per year for three years to improve access to water and sanitation, Canada committed C$20 million to UNICEF’s Education Cannot Wait Fund, Australia committed AU$10 million towards improving girls’ education in the Indo-Pacific Region and Microsoft made commitments towards providing various types of services to refugees, from psychosocial support to digital literacy and computer science.
These are only a handful of all the commitments and pledges that have been made in connection to this year’s Global Citizen festival – and it’s quite clear that this festival does, indeed, make a real difference and act as a catalyst for concrete action and change. It proves there is strength in social media and in collective action, and that we are strongest when we come together to demand accountability, demand commitment – and most importantly, demand action.
Girls’ Globe is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson to provide coverage during the Global Citizen Festival and to share the stories of the Young Leaders who are participating in the activities in New York.
Photo Credit: Sarah North / Girls’ Globe