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In many ways, Global Citizen reflects the mission of The Borgen Project by uniting American citizens in the fight to end global poverty. Global citizen is a website and mobile application that was developed to help the general population find ways to tackle extreme poverty. It is a tool to draw attention to the suffering of the 1.2 billion people in the world who live on less than $1 per day and to act upon this injustice.

A Global Citizen is one who “identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices”. It is up to the citizens of the globe to request change for the most vulnerable populations. The systems that perpetuate a cycle of poverty must be brought to light.

Although Global Citizen does not ask for donations or charity, they work to learn more about pertinent issues that relate to extreme poverty and ways we can overcome them. Initiated by the Global Poverty Project, the Global Citizen Festival kicked-off this past September in New York City for its third annual gathering.

Accompanying United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were stars such as Jay Z, No Doubt, Sting, Foo Fighters, John Legend, the Roots and many more. Almost 60,000 people joined the celebration of global unity and aspiration to address the world’s most urgent problems. Tickets were free for all audience members, who assisted or volunteered in some way to help spread awareness about global poverty.

This year’s Global Citizen Festival efforts were aimed in improving access to education, vaccination and sanitation. Although not an official event for the U.N. General Assembly, the Global Citizen Festival has assembled a host of world leaders who have voiced their commitment to focus and address the issues of extreme poverty, climate change and sustainable development.

With less than 465 days to achieve all eight of the Millennium Development Goals, Ki-moon reassured the crowd that “a better world was around the corner.”

– Leeda Jewayni

Sources: United Nations, Global Citizen, MSNBC, Kosmos JournalE
Photo: MSNBC

representative schock
WASHINGTON – As the first member of Congress born in the 1980s, Representative Schock (R-Illinois) has proved that one is never too young to improve the world.

1. Representative Aaron Schock served in the Illinois legislature.

From 2005-2009, Representative Schock was the youngest member of the Illinois House of Representatives, where he was involved with many organizations as well as medical mission trips to Jamaica and Mexico.

2. Schock has set an precedent of young leaders in the Republican Party.

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009, he has built a name for himself, working tirelessly on bipartisan issues with other young elected officials at the federal, state and local levels.

3. He has become an ally to the world’s poor.

After only six years as representative of the 18th District of Illinois, Representative Schock already seems to be advocating on behalf of the world’s poorest. He has cosponsored Senator Paul Simon’s Water for the World Act of 2013, recently signed onto a resolution to support increasing access to vaccines around the world and cosponsored Betty McCollum’s Global Food Security Act. On the issue of malnutrition, Schock stated, “The United States has a strong history of leadership in providing assistance to developing nations, but a renewed focus and streamlined approach is needed to prevent more children and families from suffering the long-term consequences of malnutrition.”

4. A few months ago, Representative Schock’s congressional team created this video about his dedication to increasing access to water and sanitation.

In the video, he said even though all of our hometowns face challenges with homelessness and poverty, such obstacles are weak in comparison to those of the hundreds of millions of people around the world who do not have access to basic needs such as clean drinking water. He stated that is why he has introduced the Water for the World Act, which will ensure that United States foreign aid will go to the people around the world who need it most.

5. In July, Congressman Schock spoke on the House floor about the importance of nonprofits.

Representative Schock stated that he has worked with many organizations, such as Global Poverty Project, who strive to eradicate extreme poverty, provide developing countries with clean water and healthcare and encourage economic opportunities for women and children. He emphasized the importance of public charities and communities, churches and private foundations that work to alleviate global poverty.

– Colleen Moore

Sources: Global Citizen, Wn.com, Congressman Aaron Schock, YouTube
Photo: ABCNews

music festival
Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project, organized a music festival late last month in an effort to inspire youth to become invested in eliminating global poverty.

Renowned electronic dance music (EDM) artists performed at the “Thank You Festival,” which was meant to be both a celebration of past successes in the poverty reduction field as well as an opportunity to get young people excited about the cause. It was organized by Global Citizen, an offshoot of the Global Poverty Project.

The number of people living below the international poverty line and the number of global child deaths have dropped significantly in the past decade. “The American public, charities and governments have played a vital role in helping to make this happen. In recognition of the American public’s efforts, and to call for further action on behalf of the world’s children, Global Citizen and World Childhood Foundation held the Thank You Festival,” said Evans.

The festival organizers wanted the event to be stimulating, but didn’t want to lose track of the bigger picture. To help accomplish this, a massive, 15-foot-tall inflatable toilet was installed near the center of the event as a symbol of the dire state of global sanitation, which made it hard for festival-goers to forget what the music was celebrating.

Why target the music festival crowd as potential supporters of poverty reduction? “If you look at who listens to EDM, it’s young people,” said Evans. “If you want to be speaking to millennials, you’ve got to be speaking to [the artists] millennials are listening to… I think that the people behind the music care deeply about these issues, and the question is: How do you create the right platform for them to express that?”

One of his methods to achieve this involved changing how people could access tickets. Tickets to the event could only be earned by performing certain tasks online through Global Citizen. For example, potential festival-goers could write a letter to Congress, volunteer or sign a poverty-related petition to gain points that would make them more likely to receive tickets.

Even if some portion of the target audience is performing these activities just as a means to get tickets, they are still becoming more informed citizens and are learning first-hand how to make a difference in the world.

The Thank You Festival celebrated the contributions that the United States has made thus far in the fight against global poverty and the efforts that have been made in improving the lives of children across the globe. “Our foreign aid and our charitable contributions,” Evans said, “are saving and transforming lives, enabling parents and children in the poorest communities in the world to achieve their dreams.”

There is, however, much progress to be made. The end of global poverty will only be possible with support and dedication from the rising generation of youth — a goal that Hugh Evans and Global Citizen are one step closer to achieving through their work melding EDM festivals with poverty reduction projects.

– Emily Jablonksi

Sources: Global Citizen, MSNBC, Washington Post
Photo: Club Glow

global citizen festival
Extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.25 per day, consumes 1.2 billion people of the world’s population. Fortunately, awareness of this problem is beginning to penetrate the mainstream and even many celebrities are starting to take action. Jay-Z, Carrie Underwood, Tiesto, and other well-known artists are set to headline the Global Citizen Festival on September 27th at Central Park in New York City. This festival is aimed to highlight the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

In regards to the festival, Jay-Z stated, “Change only takes place when and where there is action. I’m joining the 2014 Global Citizen Festival because I believe through actions, whether it be by raising awareness, getting involved or educating ourselves, the goal to end extreme poverty by 2030 is possible.”

The Global Poverty Project has taken the initiative to create this festival not only to raise awareness about the issue, but also to increase the number of people participating in poverty-reduction efforts. In order to maximize attendance and participation in such efforts, 45,000 tickets will be distributed free of charge for participating in Global Citizen’s online platform.

Many may argue that a concert, even with such famous artists, will not do much to alleviate extreme poverty around the globe, but the statistics show otherwise. In the past two years of Global Citizen Festivals, with performances by John Mayer, Alicia Keys, The Foo Fighters, and Kings of Leon, actions taken by concert attendees generated $1.3 billion to put toward poverty reduction programs, as well as commitments from 35 world leaders to aid the poor. Although much more funding and aid is needed to eliminate extreme poverty, $1.3 billion has saved lives.

In terms of participation, exposure, and timing, the Global Citizen Festival has been very strategically organized. This festival is set up to reach the widest audience possible by having iconic artists from three completely different genres of music come together to perform at the same concert, attracting people from many different backgrounds. The festival has also established partnerships with mainstream media outlets, such as NBC and MSNBC in order to reach people on a national level as well.

September 27th is a very important date for the festival to be held because it coincides with the United Nations General Assembly, where leaders from all over the world will gather to discuss public policy and international affairs. The fact that this festival is on the same day will give added inspiration to these leaders to commit to providing even more funding from their nations for international aid development to reduce extreme global poverty.

Besides eliminating extreme poverty by 2030, the main goals of this years’ Global Citizen Festival include bringing vaccines to the world’s poor, expanding education to the 60 million adolescents who are not provided the opportunity to learn and increasing conditions of sanitation to prevent disease and other problems.

In the fight against global poverty, it is extremely helpful and important that celebrities like Jay-Z and Carrie Underwood use their spotlight of fame toward a worthy cause in order to raise awareness. The combination of high-profile figures, established media partnerships, and strategic methods of participation in poverty-reduction, has set this years’ Global Citizens Festival at an unprecedented reach.

– Lucas Vazquez
Sources: Inquisitr, Rolling Stone
Photo: radio.com

global poverty
Philanthropist Hugh Evans, co-founder of the Oaktree Foundation and Global Poverty Project, organized an electronic dance music festival on June 26 named the Thank You Festival. This benefit show is working to engage the millennial generation in the fight against global poverty.

The show will feature one of the most popular electronic DJs in the world, Tiesto, as well as Above and Beyond and a Maryland local electronic DJ by the name of Alvin Risk. The festival will utilize a 15-foot inflatable toilet to bring awareness to water and sanitation issues around the world. Electronic dance festivals, which are commonly associated with drug use and experimentation, may not seem an ideal place to speak about global poverty.

However, Evans notes that to reach the millennial generation it has to be done through the people they listen to, in this case through electronic dance artists. His previous work with the Make Poverty History concert in Melbourne, Australia was highly successful. The concert, which occurred simultaneously with the G20 meeting, was responsible for Australia doubling its foreign aid efforts. Other concerts Evans has been involved with include the 2012 Global Citizen Festival for which Evans secured the Great Lawn in Central Park, N.Y. The New York festival also occurred simultaneously with another international meeting, this time of the United Nations General Assembly.

The concert raised $1.3 billion in programs to aid the global poor. The June 26 concert is aimed at getting the United States to continue its aid efforts for child survival services as well as double the U.S. government’s funding of the Global Partnership for Education, which would total $40 million. Previous concert efforts of Evans have been associated with rock and pop music. This will be his first effort utilizing electronic dance music.

The festival will feature DJs, Evans and top U.S. Foreign Aid officials who will speak about the cause of eliminating extreme poverty and encourage fans to get involved. Tiesto expressed in an email that the festival provides a unique possibility to produce effective change. “I know that my fans are thoughtful, generous and caring and this festival is a great opportunity to show Washington D.C. what our community is really about.” The festival, which is partnered with Club Glow, the World Childhood Foundation, The Global Poverty Project and Global Citizen, will begin at 4 p.m. on June 26 at Merriweather Pavilion in Columbia, Md.

– Christopher Kolezynski

Sources: EDM, Spin, Washington Post

Photo: Oh So Fresh

global citizen nights
Ever since the great success of “We Are the World,” the music industry has been known for being a big part of poverty awareness, as many artists use their notoriety to make a difference.

The Global Poverty Project (GPP), started in 2008 by Hugh Evans, is best known for its once-per-year event, the Global Citizen Festival. Due to all the success the festivals have had in the past few years, the GPP has started a new concert series to help work toward its goal to end global poverty by 2030: Global Citizen Nights.

Billboard announced on February 26, 2014 that The Fray will be the headliner for the very first Global Citizen Night, taking place at Emo’s East in Austin, Texas on March 10. In addition to The Fray, Allen Stone and Saints of Valory will also be playing the event.

The lead singer of The Fray, Isaac Slade, said to Billboard recently, “It’s almost unimaginable how many people live in extreme poverty today. With all the technology and connectivity in our so-called modern global landscape, you’d think we’d have this figured out by now. We hope the Global Citizen Nights concerts will help bring attention to this important issue.”

The GPP is planning for additional Global Citizen Nights in Nashville, Chicago and St. Louis. Those performers and the venues they will be playing will be announced soon.

The process to earn tickets for Global Citizen Nights will be in the same vein as earning tickets for the Global Citizen Festival. Anyone can take action online by visiting Globalcitizen.org and entering a prize draw for whichever event he or she chooses. Any person can put his or her name in the draw up to three times. These tickets that are earned are completely free of charge. In addition, there are a small number of VIP tickets available that guarantee a ticket to the show and better seating.

One of the trademarks of the GPP is that it works tirelessly to get everyday citizens involved and to educate them about the extreme poverty that exists in our world. Partnering with musicians has further allowed the GPP to connect with the “Global Citizens” that it tries to create and unite, because it provides both incentive and inspiration to make a difference.

Evans hopes that this new venture will continue to attract a young crowd, as these individuals can become some of the most involved Global Citizens. Evans has said, “The Global Citizen Nights concert series lets us bring major artists to small venues as a reward to young, energetic, and socially-conscious Global Citizens who are engaging with us online.”

Evans is taking a unique approach to demonstrate the progress that has been made in alleviating poverty and emphasizing what still needs to be done to end poverty as a whole. By encouraging activism and spreading awareness, Evans’ goal is get increased United States government funding to provide a wide range of aid.

The focus of Global Citizen Nights, in addition to spreading awareness, is to guarantee that every single child has access to food, clean water, an education and basic healthcare. By partnering with the music industry and using free concerts as rewards, the GPP is targeting a younger audience and uniting Global Citizens to successfully end poverty by 2030.

Julie Guacci

Sources: Global Citizen, Billboard
Photo: Global Citizen

hugh_jackman_global_poverty_project
Hugh Jackman is perhaps best known for his role as Wolverine in Marvel’s X-Men series. Outside of acting, though, the Australian actor is also well-known for his efforts as a great humanitarian. His involvement with the Global Poverty Project and various other charity programs, ranging from AIDS prevention to Children’s Hospitals, show that is he is someone who uses his status to bring awareness to the various problems in our society and help those in need.

Global Poverty Project is an organization that combats extreme poverty through various campaigns of awareness and government action.  One of their campaigns is 1.4 Billion Reasons—one for each person living in extreme poverty all over the world (extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $1.25/day). The campaign is one of awareness: the presentation introduces the viewers to the persistence of poverty, and the many possible solutions to it.

Hugh Jackman is associated with another campaign of the Global Poverty Project: Live Below the Line. For five days, the participants of this campaign live below the poverty line, spending only $1.25 a day on food. This takes a great deal of commitment and helps to develop sympathy for those for whom this is an everyday reality.

In addition to supporting such campaigns, Hugh Jackman also recently did some fundraising for charity. He charged all the guests to attend his birthday party, and after performing a musical number, dancing, and telling stories the whole night, sent all the proceeds to the Motion Picture and Television Fund, which gives services such as healthcare to those who work in and have retired from the entertainment industry.

Clearly, Hugh Jackman understands the importance of helping those both near and far—those with whom he works, and those who he will probably never meet in his life. He brings awareness to serious issues and is a great role model to people everywhere. He feels the need to help those all over the world, and that shows he’s a true humanitarian.

– Aalekhya Malladi

Sources: Newsday, Look to the Stars
Photo: Zimbio

Concert Goers AIDS Activists Fight Global Poverty
Last year, thousands of people came together in Manhattan’s Central Park to enjoy some of the biggest names in music. It cost concert goers nothing. The catch? Donate time and effort to signing petitions, sharing content, tweeting at companies, and pledging support to organizations working in tandem with the Global Citizens.

With this conversion of activism into tangible benefits, Global Poverty Project CEO Hugh Evans has created a new type of activism in which 60,000 people are mobilized into action while having the opportunity to experience the live music they love. This type of involvement matches the participants’ own interests with those of NGOs and the bottom billion around the world.

As the likes of Neil Young, Foo Fighters, Black Keys, Band of Horses, and K’naan graced the stage with their sets last year, they ended with a collaborative version of “Rockin’ in the Free World,” with assorted members from the bands. After such a lineup it seems hard to improve.

Yet, this is exactly what has happened. The new lineup is even more impressive than before as the Global Poverty Project and Global Citizens have acquired headliners like Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, and Kings of Leon. And it’s not just performers.

This year’s festival on September 28th will coincide with the United Nations General Assembly. The UN’s highest ranking figure, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will be in attendance at the concert.

Other big names in attendance include the Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, and three U.S. Congress Members. But it doesn’t end there. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Liberian President, will receive the Global Citizen Movement Award for her efforts on women’s rights. Her presenter? The face of activism, Bono of U2.

Bringing such a cast to a festival has incentivized activists and Evans is capitalizing on it. His most recent idea aimed at focusing social media to pressure Trojan, Durex, ONE, and Lifestyles condom companies to commit 2% of profits to family planning worldwide. If a participating activist was to tweet at a condom company they would receive 5 of the 8 points necessary to receive a ticket for this blockbuster concert.

As 222 million women and girls are without access to contraceptives, family planning, and sexual education, profits will go towards providing these important services for 120 million of these women. The funds raised will go towards “It Takes Two” and other family planning initiatives.

Access to family planning and contraceptives allows women around the world to understand their own fertility and provides them with alternatives to childbearing. This can help prevent childbirth at a young age and promote their continued education and success.

– Michael Carney

Sources: The Daily Beast, NYT, ABC News, Global Citizen
Photo: Old Gold And Black

Why “Women’s Issues” Are Actually Human Issues
Many political campaigns, government agencies, and non-profit organizations categorize a series of topics as “women’s issues.” These issues generally address subjects such as birth control, reproductive rights, and women’s access to education and equal pay. Yet, these issues affect more than just women—they affect everyone. Women’s issues are actually human issues.

In many parts of the world, women are viewed as inferior to men. While boys are encouraged to receive an education, girls are often removed from school to take care of the home, losing out on an education that could increase a woman’s pay and her household’s earning potential in the future. At a microscopic level, a reduced household income increases the chance of a single-family living in poverty. However, when entire cultures neglect the role of women as productive members of society, not only do individual households suffer, but entire economies lag, negatively affecting everyone.

Even in societies where women are allowed to work, women are undervalued for their skills and labor. They are concentrated in “insecure jobs in the informal sector with low income and few rights.” According to the Global Poverty Project, “women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, produce half of the world’s food, but earn only 10% of the world’s income and own less than one percent of the world’s property. On average, women earn half of what men earn.” This pay reduction, while better than a complete ban on allowing women to work, also contributes to poverty. When women earn less, their family earns less, increasing a household’s chance of living in poverty.

Because many areas of the world limit a woman’s access to education and job opportunities, women are often viewed as inferior to men and are left powerless in their societies. Throughout the globe, “three million women die each year because of gender-based violence, and four million girls and women a year are sold into prostitution. One in five women is a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.”

Societies are better off economically and socially when women are valued, are allowed to receive an education, are presented with equal work opportunities, and are protected from abuse. In areas where women are educated, fertility rates are lower, helping to reduce overpopulation and contributing to a higher GDP per capita. Children are also better cared for and healthier when their mothers are educated. And as stated before, women with access to education and equal work opportunities are able to earn higher wages, reducing the chance of their family living in poverty and improving overall economic production.

“Women’s issues” are truly human issues because they affect everyone. The role that women play in society not only affects sisters, mothers, and daughters, but also their brothers, fathers, sons, and husbands. By enabling women with the tools they need to be safe, healthy, and productive members of society, the entire world will be a better place.

Jordan Kline

Sources: Global Poverty Project, UN Women
Photo: Current Gender Issues

Live Below the Line
The Global Poverty Project challenges people around the world to change their perspective on global poverty by signing up to live on £1 per day for five days.

The Live Below the Line campaign began in Australia in 2010 when anti-poverty campaigner Richard Fleming lived for three weeks on the amount the World Bank defined as the extreme poverty line—the equivalent of U.S. $1.25 per day.

The campaign made its way to the U.K. in 2011, where it raised over £100,000 in its first year.  Live Below the Line has proven to be a powerful advocacy tool in addition to a fundraiser, as it forces participants to consider the real implications of living in impoverished conditions.

In 2013, over 6,000 people stepped up to the challenge of living on less than one Euro per day. This is good news, because the campaign’s managers have pointed out that getting people directly engaged in the campaign makes them more likely to continue campaigning or to take action in the future.

Beyond individuals, charities can also sign up to participate in the Live Below the Line challenge. In 2013, partners ranged from large organizations, like Save the Children, to smaller ones, like Positive Women, a group that aims to empower African women.

The Global Poverty Project is the same organization that launched the Global Citizens Music Festival, the End of Polio Campaign, and 1.4 Billion Reasons. The organization has worked tirelessly towards its vision of “a world without extreme poverty within a generation.”

By working to increase active participation along with general awareness, the Global Poverty Project shows its commitment to making a viable, positive difference in the fight against global poverty.

– Alexandra Bruschi

Source: Third Sector, Global Poverty Project
Photo: Style Quotidien