The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers Program

September 2018. New York City, Jazz at Lincoln Center

Co-founded in 2017 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Project Everyone, the annual Goalkeepers event brings together heads of state and international Sustainable Development Goals “Goalkeepers” (those spearheading various missions in their local communities) to chart progress, share best practices and build active communities to help achieve the Goals. This year’s Goalkeepers focused on the theme of power of youth.

The 2nd annual event, scheduled during the United Nations General Assembly on September 26, 2018, was set in the iconic Appel room at Jazz at Lincoln Center. The program was set on a unique LED stage which combined both an LED backdrop wall and an LED floor on which extraordinary animated content had been created to illustrate each session.

Goalkeepers opened with keynote remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron, followed by an intimate and inspiring conversation with Bill and Melinda Gates discussing global progress towards the Goals.

Bill and Melinda Gates each presented their own multi-part sessions, covering topics that included the challenges of eradicating extreme poverty, sustainable innovation, and leveraging the power of youth activism in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Among the many other speakers and participants were President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, who spoke on his country's vision for human capital development; writer, campaigner, and co-founder of Project Everyone and the Goalkeepers event, Richard Curtis; actor & writer, Stephen Fry; international advocate for women & children's rights and co-founder of the Graça Machel Trust, Graça Machel; President & CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), David Miliband; Nobel Peace Prize laureate and child rights activist, Kailash Satyarthi; chief innovation officer for the government of Sierra Leone, David Sengeh; and Trisha Shetty, lawyer, social activist, and founder of SheSays.

The day long program was hosted by award-winning BBC World News presenter, Nancy Kacungira and NBC News host, Savannah Sellers.

Energizing musical interstitials were provided by a cappella group, Naturally 7 and Kenyan Rapper King Kaka, along with a moving performance by Broadway star Nicolette Robinson to spotlight the plight of child brides. The day opened and ended with energizing performances by 10-year old DJ Switch Ghana.

Between the informative sessions, the 450 guests enjoyed networking time in the Atrium where they also participated in a variety of experiences and activations that included an art installation made of over 75,000 bottle tops collected and painted by women in Salvador, Brazil, and an interactive photo booth that encouraged guests to select their favorite goal and overlay video data, to help spread the word via social media.

The activations were rounded out by the “Goalkeeper’s Library”, where guests were able to select a book from options curated by Bill & Melinda Gates, and other Goalkeepers.

Empire was proud to work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Project Everyone, and many other partners to present Goalkeepers 2018.

To view the livestream of the full program visit here

To learn more about the Goalkeepers event, please visit:

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

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