Annie Lennox, pictured in 2016, has long been active in the fight against global poverty as well as HIV/AIDS
Singer and humanitarian Annie Lennox will kick off a week of advocacy in New York to press for foreign aid ahead of a major September 23 concert, organizers said Wednesday.
The Global Citizen Festival, which takes places annually in Central Park as world leaders gather across town for the UN General Assembly, this year plans a week of events ahead of the music in hopes of broadening involvement.
The week will open with Global Citizen presenting an award named in honor of late Beatle George Harrison to Lennox, the Eurythmics singer who has long been active in the fight against global poverty as well as HIV/AIDS.
Other events include a 50th anniversary commemoration of Martin Luther King’s “Beyond Vietnam” talk, among the slain civil rights icon’s more controversial speeches, in which he condemned the US war effort in Southeast Asia and urged a focus on fighting poverty.
The September 17 event will take place in the same Riverside Church in Upper Manhattan where King spoke and include civil rights activist and minister Al Sharpton as well as actor Forest Whitaker.
Other events during the week include a performance by soul singer Audra Day and a forum, with the Australian government as co-host, on urban sanitation and child health.
Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans in a statement said that the week “will turn New York into an arena of advocacy, calling on world leaders to deliver on their promises of a world without extreme poverty.”
The previously announced September 23 concert will feature music legend Stevie Wonder as well as punk rockers Green Day, pop chart-topper Pharrell Williams, alternative rockers The Killers and electronic duo The Chainsmokers.
Unlike traditional concerts, Global Citizen gives tickets for free to fans who agree to take actions such as petitioning their governments to support foreign aid.
The latest festival comes at a critical time as US President Donald Trump presses for sweeping cuts to foreign assistance. The mogul says that the international aid does not benefit US taxpayers, although advocates point out that aid from advanced economies has helped halve poverty and bring down deaths from preventable diseases over the past 30 years.