On Friday, December 13, international advocacy organization Global Citizen honoured the inaugural winners of the Global Citizen Prize at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Richard Curtis, Sting, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina J. Mohammed, and Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani, were recognized for their efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.
John Legend served as host of the event, which featured presenters Connie Britton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jason Derulo, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Leona Lewis, Himesh Patel, and Kal Penn.
The award ceremony also featured musical performances from Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Raphael Saadiq, Sting, and Stormzy. Chris Martin, H.E.R., and Jorja Smith also performed as special guests.
The broadcast special will air on Friday, December 20, 2019, at 8PM ET on NBC in the United States and Saturday, December 21, 2019, at 7PM GMT on Sky TV in the United Kingdom. MSNBC will air the special on Sunday, December 22, 2019 at 10PM ET and re-air on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at 11PM ET in the United States.
Richard Curtis was awarded the Global Citizen of the Year Prize, which honours an individual who has demonstrated exceptional and sustained impact towards the goal of ending extreme poverty. As one of the world’s most beloved filmmakers, Curtis has tirelessly championed for a fair and equitable world through his organizations Comic Relief, Sport Relief, Red Nose Day, and now Project Everyone, which is helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. For more than three decades, Curtis has engaged millions across the globe in the fight against child poverty, raising over $1.5 billion that has helped projects in the US, UK and across the world.
Accepting the award, Curtis said, “I obviously don’t deserve this – I was partly responsible for Bridget Jones Two and Mr Bean, but please, if you’re here or watching make a mark in your diary in ink. January 2020: the year I’m going to fight like a lion for our big human family. And then in December, in pencil, put ‘the year we won’. The time to hesitate is through. The only way to get things done is to do things.”
Sting was awarded the Global Citizen Artist of the Year Prize, which honours a creative individual or group using their platform and their work to create change not only through conversation but meaningful impact. As an artist whose career has spanned four decades, Sting has continuously used his profile as a 17-time Grammy-award winner to champion an issue vital to our planet’s future – protecting the world’s rainforests and the Indigenous people living there. Climate change and deforestation has pushed parts of the world’s rainforests dangerously close to a point of no return, but the work of organizations like the Rainforest Fund, co-founded in 1989 by Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, are actively pushing back. To date, the Rainforest Fund has protected over 33 million acres of rainforest. The award included a monetary prize which will be donated to the Rainforest Fund.
Accepting the award, Sting said, “As a citizen of course I’m honoured to receive this award, and it does provide the opportunity to admit that whatever successes, whatever battles we’ve managed to win in the struggle to save our planet, we may well be losing the war. I was humbled recently by the words of Greta Thunberg as she addressed the United Nations on the issue of climate change, where on behalf of her generation she rightfully pointed the finger at ours. That whatever we’ve done, whatever we have tried to accomplish in this struggle, we have not done enough. And so I accept this award with the same humility that I would feel as a schoolboy reading my end of term report card.”