Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers

September 2022. 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 2022 Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards were presented at the Frederick P. Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center on September 20, 2022. The Awards program opened a spoken word performance by George the Poet accompanied on harp by Brandi Younger.

Host Tumelo Mothotoane kept the program flowing as global changemakers were honored for their work. Award winners included climate justice activist, Vanessa Nakate, Child Health Rights advocate, Radhika Batra, Afghan journalist, Zahra Joya, and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who was honored for bringing together leaders to discuss pandemic preparedness, especially in the wake of COVID-19.

Award presenters included Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, Canadian YouTuber Lilly Singh and actress and humanitarian, Angelina Jolie.

After the Goalkeepers Awards program guests entered the Atrium space overlooking Central Park to enjoy cocktails and custom food bars. Guests interacted with a GIF booth featuring a bespoke GK lettering as a backdrop to their festive photos, while enjoying the vibe set by DJ Amira and Kayla.

The next morning, over 400 guests were welcomed back to the main Goalkeepers event, hosted by Nigerian media personality, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, with a stunning choral performance by The Harlem Gospel Choir, performing their rendition of Pharrell’s “Happy”, along with screen content by renowned Treatment Studios.

After the opening, programming began with keynote remarks by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Motley and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, followed by a seated conversation with both Prime Ministers along with Bill & Melinda Gates. Bill and Melinda also had a second Head of State conversation later in the day with Nigerian President Mohamed Bazoum.

Throughout the day other speakers delivered impactful messages, including Vice President Marketing East Africa, Catherine Mudachi, South African Physician Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, Author Helena Andrews-Dyer, and Nigerian writer Chiamamanda Ngozi Adichie (all in conversation with Melinda French Gates discussing women’s power), NASA Scientist, Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, Professor Lindiwe Majele Sibanda and Chef Pierre Thiam (in conversation with Bill Gates discussing ways to feed the world), Writer Renée DiResta and Journalist Govindraj Ethiraj (in conversation with Bill Gates and Kal Penn about misinformation). There was also a powerful conversation between Sierra Leonean Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer, Dr. Kealoha Fox, Satta F. Sheriff, Mikaela Loach, Sukhmeet Singh Sachal and Prajakta Koli.

Session moderators included British television presenter, June Sarpong (Heads of State sessions), African agriculture and nutrition expert, Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli (Bill Gates’ food security session), actor, author, academic lecturer, Kal Penn (Bill Gates’ misinformation session), correspondent, Zinhle Essamuah (Goalkeepers Community Session), Kenyan media personality, Janet Mbugua (Melinda French Gates session).

This year, there were performances by various artistic groups, including the Harlem Gospel Choir, the Syncopated Ladies and a ballerina duo during the Women’s Power session.

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. After lunch, the guests networked and socialized along to DJ Kayla and Amira’s beats.

Empire was proud to again work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Project Everyone, and many other partners to present Goalkeepers 2022.

To learn more about the Goalkeepers event, please visit:

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

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