SEATTLE — Recently, Rihanna called on her 74 million Twitter fans and directed their attention toward the upcoming 2017 G20 Hamburg Summit, where pressing global issues, including global education development, will be discussed by leaders of the world’s 20 wealthiest countries.
Using her status as an international pop star and the 2017 Harvard Humanitarian of the Year, Rihanna asked fans to demand that leaders focus on this important development issue, linking to the Global Citizen organization’s website where followers could take action by tweeting in support of the growing #FundEducation movement.
Rihanna went even further by personally tweeting leaders of several G20 countries to get their commitment to funding education development, including French President Emmanuel Macron, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Press Secretary Steffen Seibert.
Many of the world leaders responded, with Argentina’s Macri saying “Hola @Rihanna! Education is the central core of our political aims. Only education can change the world.” His tweet was joined by that of Canadian PM Trudeau, who wrote “@Rihanna we’ve got your back! Thanks to @mclaudebibeau who made sure girls’ education is in our feminist international development policy.”
Germany’s Seibert tweeted his commitment by saying “Hi @Rihanna, education is a key area of German development policy. We have nearly doubled spending since 2013. Thanks for spreading the word!”
By using social media as a tool to connect with politicians, Rihanna has tapped into a modern method of increasing accountability and exchange between world leaders and citizens.
Rihanna has been actively involved in philanthropy from early on in her career, founding the Clara Lionel Foundation to advocate for basic rights to education and healthcare around the world.
Last year, she and her foundation partnered with Global Citizen to travel to Malawi and provide aid to schoolchildren there. The two organizations are working together to raise $3.1 billion in the next 1-3 years to provide educational access to youth who are victims of poverty, conflict, or discrimination.
– Saru Duckworth