“We’re at an interesting time where things are really divisive, so I’m especially moved by what Global Citizen does – empowering positivity and making big strides in equality, health, hunger, the environment and more around the world,” Harris, 43, says in the new issue of PEOPLE.
For the past five years, the nonprofit Global Citizen has brought together musicians, celebrities, world leaders and fans who make a difference in their communities to advocate for change. And this year, the annual festival, which will happen Sept. 24 in New York City’s Central Park, will draw headliners including Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Metallica, Kendrick Lamar and Major Lazer.
For more on Global Citizen Festival and Neil Patrick Harris’ involvement, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.
“Encouraging change through positivity and action: How could you not be into that?” Harris says. “When thousands of people join to sing along or cheer on a world leader pledging to make a change, it leaves a strong mark.”
Global Citizen aims to move world leaders to pledge policy changes and funds to enact change throughout the world, with an ultimate goal to end extreme poverty by the year 2030. And, the organization’s efforts have moved world leaders to make financial and policy commitments at the festivals that could affect up to 656 million people around the world.
While Harris is looking forward to the performances and camaraderie at the festival (Olivia Wilde, Andy Cohen, Connie Britton, Pete Wentz and many more join him on join him on the host committee), the actor says the advocacy group and festival’s goals are particularly important to him now that he’s a father.
“When you’re alone or a sole practitioner, your views tend to be myopic, and you are only thinking about your world and how your world is being affected,” says Harris, who with his husband David Burtka has 5-year-old twins: son Gideon and daughter Harper.
“When you have a new generation that you’re helping raise, it’s clear that it’s not only our lifetime that we need to be aware of, but theirs, and potentially their children’s,” he adds.
The 2016 Global Citizen Festival will air on MSNBC, as well as be available for streaming on YouTube and MSNBC.com beginning at 3 p.m. EST on Sept. 24.