Recently elected Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi addressed the Global Citizen Festival’s 60,000+ crowd in Central Park, New York City this past weekend.
Modi, who was joined on stage by actor Hugh Jackman, was received with raucous applause after he ended his speech with the words: “I salute you… may the Force be with you.”
Modi told the Manhattan crowd: “This is a great city. It has assimilated the world in itself. I am delighted to be here in the open Central Park and not inside a closed conference room. I feel a current of hope in this park…” The Indian Prime Minister continued, “Some believe that the world changed with the wisdom of the old. I think that the idealism, innovation, energy and ‘can-do’ attitude of the youth is even more powerful.”
Indian Express interviewed 22-year-old student Jennifer Robinson, who said regarding the speech: “Yes, I liked the Indian Prime Minister. He spoke about peace and blessed us all. There is also something I heard about India making toilets for all in the next few years. That’s very impressive.”
An organizer of the Global Citizens Festival said they were sold on Modi as an invite to their event after he announced India was committed to a national sanitation campaign. “After he reiterated that he was taking up sanitation and building clean toilets as a national campaign, we knew that we needed to have him here,” said an unnamed event organizer. “And today, just look at the way the crowds reacted to him.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim were also among the international authorities in attendance at the Global Citizens Festival. Among the musical artists who performed were Jay-Z, Sting, and The Roots.