Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers

September 2019. New York City, Jazz at Lincoln Center

Co-founded in 2017 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Project Everyone, the Goalkeepers event takes place during the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York City and brings together Heads of State and international Sustainable Development Goals “Goalkeepers” (those spearheading various missions in their local communities) alike. Among other themes, this year’s Goalkeepers focused on the challenge of fighting global inequality.

Kicking off the two-day event, the 2019 Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards were presented at the Frederick P. Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center on September 24, 2019. The Awards program opened with an energetic dance number by “This is America” choreographer Sherrie Silver and performed by a group of young dancers synchronized to original screen content.

Host Tumelo Mothotoane kept the program flowing as global changemakers were honored for their work. Award winners included African Union Youth Envoy, Aya Chebbi, Child Rights advocate, Payal Jangid, mPharma founder, Gregory Rockson, and Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who was honored for his progressive sanitation work in India.

Award presenters included Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, and Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, Henrietta Fore. Simultaneous translation was utilized to translate between Hindi and English to ensure the audience could enjoy the entire program.

After the Goalkeepers Awards program guests entered the Atrium space overlooking Central Park to enjoy cocktails and custom food bars. Guests interacted with custom activations including an art installation made of over 75,000 bottle tops, collected and painted by women in Salvador, Brazil, and an impressive 68’ long custom mirror wall, encouraging social sharing by the guests to spread the word about their favorite goals.

The next morning, over 400 guests were welcomed back to the main Goalkeepers event by a stunning multimedia vocal performance by Ogi Ifediora, performing to looped tracks of herself and screen content by renowned Treatment Studios. Once inside the Appel Room, programming began with keynote remarks by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, followed by a seated conversation with both Prime Ministers along with Bill & Melinda Gates.

Throughout the day other speakers delivered impactful messages, including Stanford Professor and Bias expert, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, Lydia Murithi, Dr. Joia Crear Perry (all in conversation with Melinda Gates discussing bias), Aliko Dangote and Zouera Youssoufou (in conversation with Bill Gates discussing ways to change the odds instead of evening the odds for today’s less fortunate, especially the children), as well as Richard Curtis, who spoke regarding the 2020 call to action.

Session moderators included Journalist and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, James Chau (Bill Gates’s session) and British journalist and broadcaster Tulip Mazumdar (Melinda Gates’s session).

Providing even more of an audience reach this year, a segment of the program was filmed for the BBC World Debate. Moderated by Zeinab Bedawi and featuring Mo Ibrahim, Sigrid Kaag, Kay James, and John Fugelsang who discussed inequality throughout the world. This segment was broadcast the following weekend on BBC.

Between and after content sessions and as breakfast, coffee breaks, and lunch were enjoyed, guests were invited to experience activations in the Atrium including the “Goalkeeper’s Library” where the titles from the Goalkeepers community were available for the guests to take. In addition to the Library, guests were able to select a #togetherband, allowing them to showcase their favorite goal in a fashionable way.

Empire was proud to work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Project Everyone, and many other partners to present Goalkeepers 2019.

To learn more about the Goalkeepers event, please visit:

Additional information about the Sustainable Development Goals can be found here:

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