Shakira, Miley, Usher, Beckham and … von der Leyen

Brussels (AFP)

Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Hudson, David Beckham, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Megastars of music, film, sport, fashion and regional governance will join online events on Saturday to support the search for a coronavirus vaccine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen takes centre stage
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen takes centre stage Francisco Seco POOL/AFP/File

“Artists have the power to inspire change. They use their talents to serve great causes,” von der Leyen said, announcing the conference and a concert.

Along with US-based movement Global Citizen, the EU executive is sponsoring a fund-raising and coordination drive to boost efforts to control the epidemic.

Since a first fund-raising summit on May 4 the effort has raised pledges of almost 10 billion euros from governments and billionaire philanthropists.

Von der leyen says the money will help develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus and help make sure it is shared with the most vulnerable populations.

Johnson, a former pro-wrestler turned move star, will host the event.

“This moment in history requires all of us, so let’s join together to chart a better future, for everyone,” he said, according to a European Commission statement.

Star power will be brought to the online event by celebrity artists such as Miley Cyrus, Salma Hayek, Charlize Theron, Forest Whitaker and Angelique Kidjo.

They will be joined by the likes of former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, president of the Gavi vaccine alliance and candidate to lead the WTO.

Philanthropist Melinda Gates will be there, along with veteran activist Derrick Johnson, president of the US civil rights organisation NAACP.

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