Simon grew up in Australia and was inspired to challenge inequality and injustice after he heard about the release of Nelson Mandela in 1996, when he was just eleven years old. After studying Psychology, international Development and Development Studies at the University of Melbourne, Simon co-founded Global Citizen in 2008. He is currently their Managing Director of Campaigns.
Now based in New York, Simon campaigns globally and advocates for Global Citizen's vision of a world without extreme poverty by 2030. Global Citizen utilises education, communications, advocacy, campaigning, and the media to work with ordinary people – global citizens – to make a difference in the present and focus on improving the future by changing the systems and policies that keep people in poverty. In the past 10 years, Global Citizen has raised over £35 billion to help fight poverty across the world.
ACTING TO MAKE HUMAN RIGHTS
Global Citizen believes that every person, everywhere, should have an equal chance to live up to their full potential. They believe that to achieve this, the world needs to defeat extreme poverty, protect the planet and demand equity for every human being. This involves changing the lives of hundreds of millions, indeed billions of people. But to make this a reality, Global Citizens encourages millions of people to take simple, specific actions as part of international campaigns which, counted together, can change the world.
Simon co-founded Global Citizens because he believes that individuals acting together in a coordinated way can make a difference. By encouraging lots of people to take specific and simple actions focussed on specific goals, Global Citizens have shown they can improve the lives of millions. In early 2021, they calculated that 28 million actions by their global citizens had impacted the lives of 880 million people. (That’s more than 30 people for every action!)
Look at the Take Action page on Global Citizen’s website. How many of their campaign actions could you do in the next 24 hours? Which campaigns and actions appeal to you the most? Can you explain why these are important to you? Could you encourage your friends to join you in taking actions? How would you do this?
Global Citizen want to eradicate extreme poverty which affects the poorest 700 million people in the world (more than ten times the population of the United Kingdom). Many people in the UK are very poor and have extremely difficult lives, despite it being the fifth richest country in the world. Many of the poorest countries in the world are in Africa. Some people say ‘charity begins at home’ – what do you think this phrase means? What is the difference between relative and absolute poverty? Do you think actions from people in richer countries can have an impact in poorer countries, even if they cost virtually nothing (tweeting, signing petitions, emailing politicians)?
The internet and social media enable millions of people to make their voices heard by powerful by tweeting, signing petitions and contacting politicians – locally nationally and internationally. If you could choose one thing you would like to change – in your area, in the country, or anywhere in the world - who do you think you would you need to contact? Are they on social media? What do you think would be the most effective way to contact them? Can you write a tweet/email/petition or any other form of communication that might make an impact?
Is there a moment that inspired you to take action?
Who inspired you and why?
What in your human rights life makes you proud?
What gives you hope now?
How do you make human rights a reality?
What do human rights mean to you?
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
What does hope mean to you?
How has someone else given you hope?
What piece of advice would you give?