TACOMA, Washington — Global Citizen is an organization based in New York with offices all around the world. Hugh Evans, Simon Moss and Wei Soo founded the organization in 2008. Their mission is “to build a movement of 100M action-taking Global Citizens to help achieve [their]vision of ending extreme poverty by 2030.” Since 2011, Global Citizen constituents have taken more than 24 million actions. Their work has resulted in advocacy efforts, policy implementations and legislative commitments to end extreme poverty.
Global Citizen Prizes
Since 2016, Global Citizen Prizes are awarded each year to celebrate individuals making strides in providing for the most vulnerable communities around the world. John Legend hosted the virtual 2020 Global Citizen Prizes celebration. While different from previous years, the event hoped to renew hope and commitment to philanthropy for the new year.
Prize categories included Global Citizen of the Year, Global Citizen Artist of the Year, Global Citizen Prize for World Leader, Global Citizen Prize for Business Leader, Global Citizen Prize for Philanthropy, Global Citizen Prize for Culture and Education, Global Citizen Prize for Activism and Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award.
Global Citizen of the Year
Bryan Stevenson won the 2020 Global Citizen of the Year for his work as founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. The organization works to defend the wrongfully accused. As an activist and attorney, Stevenson works closely with the wrongfully accused. Often, that tends to be those living at or below the poverty line. Without access to proper representation, these individuals are more likely to be convicted than affluent counterparts, criminalizing poverty.
Artist of the Year
The Artist of the Year prize was awarded to Sir Elton John for his work in ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. For nearly 30 years, John has owned the Elton John AIDS Foundation and has worked on the ground with his team to provide essential medical care in impoverished countries. The mission of the foundation is to be a fighting force in the battle against HIV/AIDS. In addition, it seeks to ensure there is no more stigma, no more pain and no more deaths from this virus.
Prize for Philanthropy
Warren Buffett received the Prize for Philanthropy. Buffett has pledged to gradually donate 99% of his stock gains to nonprofits. In the last 10 years alone, he has donated $37 billion. In a statement made to The Giving Pledge, Buffett explained that more than 1% of his fortune would not make him and his family happier, nor significantly increase their well-being. However, the remaining 99% can and will make a world of difference to impoverished communities around the world.
Cisco Youth Leadership Award
The Cisco Youth Leadership Award was to be awarded live on the air to one of Global Citizen’s three finalists: Ryan Gersava, Christelle Kwizera and Suhani Jalota. Gersava is the founder of Virtualahan, an organization that works to even the opportunity of employment for disadvantaged individuals or individuals living with disabilities through the power of technology.
Kwizera founded Water Access Rwanda to solve the Rwandan water crisis, in addition to creating jobs for young people. Lastly, Jalota is the founder of the Myna Mahila Foundation, an organization that developed technology platforms to create safer physical spaces for women to receive medical care and to ensure all health products and services are easily accessible. Ultimately, Christelle Kwizera won the award for her work through Water Access Rwanda.
Typically hosted in person, the 2020 Global Citizen Prize aired on December 19 on NBC, with a virtual red carpet event streamed on Facebook and Twitter. Events like the Global Citizen Prize that recognize humanitarian efforts and philanthropists are vital to encourage the global community to take action in eliminating global poverty.
– Jessica Raskauskas
Photo: Wikimedia Commons