Bill Gates and Hans Rosling address 2012 Global Poverty Ambassadors

26 January 2012

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, layed out his vision for tackling world poverty when he discussed his Annual Letter with an audience of students, international development experts, and Global Poverty Ambassadors.

The 25 January event, held by campaigning group the Global Poverty Project, marked the launch of its Global Poverty Ambassadors Initiative, supported by The Co-operative Group. This new scheme invites people from all walks of life to engage their communities in the campaign against extreme poverty.

Hosted by the London School of Economics (LSE), Bill Gates covered the key themes of his 2012 Annual Letter, including how innovations in agriculture and health are driving down extreme poverty worldwide. He was joined by Swedish statistician and advisor to the Global Poverty Project, Hans Rosling.

“We were thrilled that Bill Gates chose the launch of the Global Poverty Ambassadors to deliver his annual letter. His vision and commitment is an inspiration for the Ambassadors who will mobilise their own communities in the fight to end extreme poverty”, said Elisha London, UK Director of the Global Poverty Project.

The speakers took questions from the audience, including the Global Poverty Ambassadors chosen from across the United Kingdom who had compiled their own annual letters ahead of the event.

Over 100 individuals will be chosen to be Ambassadors in 2012. They will be trained by leading experts at the LSE, gaining the knowledge and expertise to engage with a diverse range of communities, from students to businesses and faith groups. The Ambassadors will become leading voices in the campaign against extreme poverty, informing and inspiring their own communities to take meaningful action on behalf of the poor.

“Becoming a Global Poverty Ambassador is a fantastic opportunity for people from all walks of life to get involved in raising awareness for the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty,” said Elisha.

“We are looking for people who enjoy public speaking and are keen to spread the news about ending extreme poverty in a way that others can understand, through engaging real-life stories and positive examples of change.”

The Global Poverty Project has partnered with The Co-operative during the UN Year of Co-operatives to launch this initiative.

Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive, The Co-operative Group said: “Campaigning has always been at the core of the co-operative movement. The International Year of Co-operatives is the ideal opportunity for our members and customers to mobilise, join with the Global Poverty Project and help make this a fairer world where everyone’s basic human rights are met and respected.

“The Co-operative’s six million customer members can be vital in the fight against global poverty. From becoming a Global Poverty Ambassador, to committing to buy Fairtrade products, to resolving to switch to a Co-operative Bank account, there is something we can all do to help.”



For further information, please contact Nicky Wimble at or 07876476402.
For information about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, please contact Amy Enright at


Notes to Editors:

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What is the The Global Poverty Ambassadors Initiative?

The Global Poverty Project has partnered with The Co–operative in the Ambassadors initiative to raise awareness and inspire communities to take action on behalf of the 1.4 billion people still living in extreme poverty.

Also supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the initiative offers an open invitation for leading voices in youth, faith, business and other communities to become part of this national movement.

Once selected over 100 Global Poverty Ambassadors will be trained at London School of Economics or in Edinburgh by leading experts to deliver the ground-breaking 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation and to inspire their communities to support a range of UK campaigns fighting extreme poverty.


What is The Global Poverty Project?

The Global Poverty Project’s vision is a world without extreme poverty. We believe that this world is possible within a generation – if citizens around the world, poor and rich alike, focus their efforts on fighting poverty armed with evidence, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a commitment to acting together in the interests of the world’s poor.

The organisation's mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action to end extreme poverty through a range of media, communications, policy, campaigning and education initiatives that call for better aid, trade and good governance.  Key initiatives for 2012 include the Live Below the Line community fundraising challenge, the 1.4 Billion Reasons live presentation and the Global Poverty Ambassador Initiative.