Now in its third year, the Global Citizen Festival took its ambitious name to heart during its Sept. 27 gathering on the Great Lawn of New York’s Central Park. In addition to show-stopping performances from Jay Z (with a two-song finale cameo from Beyonce), No Doubt (who were at one point joined by Sting), Carrie Underwood, fun., Alicia Keys, The Roots and Tiesto, efforts to fix seemingly all the world’s problems were rampant throughout.
Celebrities like host Hugh Jackman and presenters Dianna Agron, Zachary Quinto and Erin Heatherton often appeared alongside world dignitaries like Queen Silvia of Sweden, Prime Minister Narenda Modi of India, Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway and even President Barack Obama (via pre-recorded video), often interrupting the raucous adrenaline of the rock performances taking place to remind the 50,000-plus crowd and global audience tuning in via NBC/ MSNBC of global poverty as well as epidemics like ebola, HIV and dirty water. The shifts in tone wouldn’t seem so drastic if the calls to action weren’t so compelling. “You are now part of the global fight to end extreme poverty, and this is a fight we can win,” President Obama said at one point.