On June 26th, 2014, the Global Citizen and World Childhood Foundation held the Thank You Festival, a 20,000 person event at Merriweather Post Pavilion that featured performances from Tiësto, Above & Beyond, Krewella, Cedric Gervais, and Alvin Risk. Aiming to activate socially-conscious youth about the causes and consequences of extreme poverty, the Thank You Festival resulted in more than 140,000 online “actions” to call on Dr. Raj Shah, Administrator of USAID, to increase American aid support to help the world’s children survive and thrive.
As a result, Dr. Shah committed on stage to realign $2.9 billion to end preventable child deaths and $40 million for the Global Partnership for Education. Further, he committed to working with Congress to allocate an additional $50 million in FY2015 to the Global Partnership for Education This funding will help to save the lives of more than 500,000 children while helping educate 29 million children.
Hugh Evans, CEO of The Global Poverty Project, stated, “Over the last several months, over 140,000 actions were taken in support of issues of child survival and global education by everyday Americans who have said this is something we care about.”
Weeping Elvis: Tell us a little about Global Citizen and how it came to be the success story it is today.
Hugh Evans: This idea actually originated with Princess Madeleine’s of Sweden. Two years ago she came to my office and wanted to collaborate and build the ‘Thank-You’ Global Citizen Festival that could mobilize 19,000 people coming together under one umbrella using the power of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) to focus on the issues of child protection and child survival. Child protection has been a passion of Her Royal Highness Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine. We also saw that Raj Shah, the Administrator of USAID (the U.S. government’s foreign aid distributor) was very passionate about child survival. At the end of the day, it’s all about children and we thought that if we can bring both passions together under one roof tonight for something really special. We have had over 140,000 actions that have been taken on globalcitizen.org by the citizens who are here tonight. It’s a powerful movement that continues to grow every day.
Congratulations on all the success Global Citizen has made thusfar. Tiësto, what advice would you give to someone who is trying to follow their dreams but continues to face challenges. You’ve probably had people motivate you and urge you to pursue your dreams: Now it’s your turn to return the favor!
Tiësto: First of all, you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe in what you’re doing and every action you take towards your dream has to come from the heart. You should do it because you really want to; you can’t just do it because it’s what’s popular now. It should be what you feel and what you want to do, then just do it. That’s the advice I would tell someone who is struggling. That goes for everything; painting, producing, doing what Hugh does, doing what I do, it has to come from the heart.
Recently music has become something that is so accessible, thank you both for sharing a little bit about the Global Citizen Project and telling us what ‘following your dream’ means to you. This cause is an inspiration for many people to take action and raise awareness for a noble cause. Thank you both for your time.
Hugh Evans & Tiësto: Our pleasure, enjoy the show!