The gates to the Great Lawn in New Yorks' Central Park opened for thousands of music lovers at 2pm (EST) on 27 September 2014, leading to a phenomenal night of festivities, dance, rock concerts and inspirational speeches.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been making one impactful speech after another since he arrived in the US, used the unchartered platform to inspire the youth gathered for the Global Citizen Festival. Modi was introduced to the crowd by actor Hugh Jackman as someone who started as a "tea salesman" and went on to become the Chief Minister of Gujarat and then the Prime Minister of India.
Modi began with expressing his happiness over addressing the gathering in open at the Central Park, as opposed to conference rooms and said that he believed the youth are the future: "What you do today will determine our tomorrow".
Impressed with the time and energy Global Citizens devote for the those people living far away, "whose faces you have not seen, whose names you do not know and whose nationality does not matter to you," he said he felt a current of hope. "I feel confident about the future of the entire human race. What an admirable act this is!"
He saluted the crowd not once, but twice amid thunderous applause and quoted the Sanskrit Shloka: "Sarve Bhavanthu Sukhina: Sarve Santhu Niramayaa: Sarve bhadraṇi pashyanthu. Maa kashchit duḥkha bhaagbhavet", that calls for peace in the world.
What knocked the ball out the Central Park, though, was when he ended the seven-minute speech by quoting famed Star Wars phrase "May the Force be with you".
The Global Citizen Festival, which aims to "raise consciousness of a generation to make change inevitable", has been an incredible tool to promote activism. The celebrity-studded concert, which also featured actors such as Jessica Alba, Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Wilde, milks the universal love for live music entertainment and uses it to give world leaders a clear and compelling mandate to commit to ending extreme poverty by 2030.
"We want all the world's children and young people to survive and thrive. In 2014, we are campaigning for tangible commitments in the areas of vaccines, education and sanitation," reads the Global Citizen Festival website.
Throughout the campaign, Global Citizens take up targeted actions that are designed to secure commitments from companies, charities world leaders and philanthropists that could affect the lives of 50 million people by 2025.
Other notable speakers at the event included United Nation Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who said, "The UN has heard your voices here tonight. You are a generation that wants to see an end to extreme poverty by 2030", and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, who reiterated the importance of the youth in realising the 2030 goal: "We know that the 2030 goal is possible, but it's going to take everyone mobilising behind it, especially young people".
As always, this year as well, the Global Citizen Festival had an impressive line-up of artists including JAY Z, No Doubt, Carrie Underwood, Fun., Kings of Leon, The Roots and Tiësto.
Making matters dramatically impressive, headliner Jay-Z brought his wife Beyonce as an unannounced guest toward the end of the night to perform a "Holy Grail," a controversial song that depicts the female voice as that of a sad wife. The song had sparked rumours about the couple's break-up during their "One the Run Tour" earlier this year.
Marking the end of the event around 7.30pm, Global Citizen tweeted out a picture of Jay Z and Beyonce leaving the stage:
— Global Citizen (@GlblCtzn) September 28, 2014