Stephen Colbert & Hugh Jackman to Host Global Citizen Festival
Is there anything better than music that plays for a good cause?

The 2015 Global Citizen Festival will take place in New York City’s Central Park on September 26. The Festival will celebrate the launch of the United Nations’ Global Goals, a set of 17 initiatives designed to protect the environment, support universal education and end extreme poverty by 2030. Featured headliners include Pearl Jam, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay.

Although the free event announced the artists earlier this summer, it just recently revealed the hosts of the show. The group of mega-talented individuals that will share the stage with the musical headliners include Stephen Colbert, Hugh Jackman, Deborra-Lee Furness, Salma Hayek Pinault, Kerry Washington and Olivia Wilde.

An online platform created by the Global Poverty Project in 2012, Global Citizen features informative articles and innovative campaigns dedicated to ending extreme poverty, injustice and inequality. It has hosted the Global Citizen Festival since 2012. The hosts this year will encourage festival attendees and fans around the world to become involved in Global Citizen’s mission to eradicate poverty.

In fact, in order to earn tickets the festival requires that people “take action” against poverty. After visiting the Global Citizen website to create an account, fans must perform a series of honorable actions to receive tickets to the festival. Such actions include signing virtual petitions against poverty, tweeting to world leaders and calling the U.S. State Department about the U.S. foreign aid budget.

Colbert and Jackman have expressed their excitement to host the festival as well as their firm belief that extreme global poverty can be eliminated by 2030. World leaders will be in attendance this year, providing the hosts and global citizens alike with the opportunity to voice their support of the Global Goals and the eradication of poverty.

Since 2012, the Global Citizen Festivals have made significant impacts in eradicating poverty; people have taken more than 3 million actions on the Global Citizen website. This September, the Festival will be jam-packed with good music, great people and an awesome cause.

Sarah Sheppard

Sources: Rolling Stone, Global Citizen 1, Global Citizen 2
Photo: Tick Pick

Actor Hugh Jackman, best known for his role as “Wolverine” Marvel’s X-Men series, recently released a video urging others to help end global poverty through the platform Global Citizen and through the initiative of the Global Poverty Project.  “The world has the resources, the policy leaders have the ideas, the question is, do we as global citizens have the will?” asks Jackman in the new video.

This is not the first video Jackman has made regarding the issue of global poverty. In 2013, released an impactful video where Jackman explains the organization’s “Live Below the Line” fundraiser. Four thousand people took part in the fundraiser by living below the poverty line, or surviving off of two dollars a day for five days. Their efforts raised $440,000 toward ending extreme poverty. “Lines can’t help it, they separate things. But we can also be the ones who color outside those lines. We can voyage out to cross over lines for the sake of each other and for the planet,” explains Jackman.

Now, Jackman is focusing on the positive: global poverty has been cut in half in the past 20 years. Poverty now has the potential to be completely eliminated by 2030. This year is crucial as world leaders will be making important decisions regarding the future of extreme poverty. Global Citizen remarks that the year 2015 could be a “turning point.”

Global Citizen launched in 2012 and quickly gained the support of many celebrities, including rapper Jay-Z, actress Katie Holmes and singer Carrie Underwood. Every year, Global Citizen hosts a festival attended by many celebrities. In order to win the opportunity to attend, steps toward ending poverty must be taken, such as signing online petitions.

“I am thrilled to be a part of this year’s Global Citizen Festival to further the movement to end extreme poverty,” Jackman was quoted as saying at last year’s festival, which was held in Central Park. “This is a cause that has been close to my heart for many years, and I look forward to joining 60,000 Global Citizens in Central Park as we change the world for the better.”

Jackman’s dedication to the cause is admirable, and chances are this is not the last call-to-action we will see from him.

Melissa Binns

Sources: Global Citizen, Huffington Post, People
Photo: Zimbio

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

Live Below the Poverty Line

Recently, students at the University of Melbourne in Australia spent five days on less than two Australian dollars a day in order to raise awareness for those living in extreme poverty.

Students participated in this as part of the Live Below the Line challenge, a program of the Global Poverty Project.  The Global Poverty Project is in organization designed to advocate for the world’s poor and get citizens effectively engaged in the fight to end extreme poverty.  Their Live Below the Line Challenge, which spans three continents, asks participants to spend five days living below the poverty line in an effort to show solidarity with the world’s poor and to raise money and awareness for their cause.

The challenge of the Live Below the Line campaign is effectively budgeting resources so that participants have the food to last themselves 5 days.  Participants are not allowed to take snacks from their pantries or consume anything that had been bought before the challenge unless it was factored into their five day budget.  Their diet consisted mainly of pasta, lentils, fruit, and rice for the duration of the challenge, and they were only allowed to drink tap water.

The students at the University of Melbourne raised over $24,000, which is more than any other Australian university.  The closest American university to raising this amount was the University of Notre Dame, raising only $3,239.  Some celebrities are also involved in the Live Below the Line challenge, ranging from Ben Affleck to Hugh Jackman.

This was an impressive achievement for these Australian students.  However, as hard as it seems to buy food on such a low budget, participants still had it better off than the world’s poor.  They had access to shelter, sanitation, and healthcare—things that most of those living below the poverty line do not have.   It is hard for us in the developed world to imagine the amount of hardship faced by the world’s poor, but the Live Below the Line challenge gives a small peek into the lives of the least fortunate.

Citizens interested in the program should go to where there are further descriptions of the program, recipes and other helpful resources.  The website also contains leaderboards so that participants can see what individuals or groups have achieved the most fundraising so far.  The question that the challenge poses to all of us in the developing world is obvious:  Can YOU Live Below the Line?

– Martin Drake

Source: Live Below the Line, The Age
Photo: VSO

Celebrity Chefs Participate in Live Below the Line CampaignThe Australian-based Live Below the Line campaign, sponsored by the Global Poverty Project, is slated to begin its 2013 campaign this April. The campaign, which challenges people worldwide to live on just $1.50 per day for five days, was started in 2009 by Australian Richard Fleming, in an attempt to raise awareness and to fundraise for some 1.4 billion people around the world who live in extreme poverty. Now in its third year, Live Below the Line raised $2 million last year for global poverty.

This year, many of the UK’s most well-known chefs are taking part in the challenge to create meals for $1.50, which is the accepted global figure that defines extreme poverty. Award-winning chef Kevin Tew said, “It really makes you think about waste, you have to make things as simple as possible while making sure you get the right balance.”

Other celebrity chefs, including Gordon Ramsey, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the Fabulous Baker Brothers, Bill Granger and Jean-Christophe Novelli will participate in the campaign and create recipes that will maximize the little amount of food allotted in five days’ time.

Since people find $1.50 is usually not enough money to purchase meat, the chefs will come up with other recipes using cost-effective staples such as rice, oats, beans, and a few vegetables. Besides raising awareness for global poverty and food insecurity, Live Below the Line also hopes to create changes in participant’s everyday lives after completing the 5-day challenge.

The campaign also has other famous supporters, such as actor Hugh Jackman, and this year will be operating in the UK, the United States, Australia, with over 20,000 participants expected.

Christina Kindlon

Source: 4 News