03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Apr 12, 2013

Taking a Stand For The Poor - Global 'Stand Up' Events This Weekend

The "Stand Up Take Action' online campaign officially launched worldwide this week with events in Australia, New Zealand and New York, with many more to come this weekend.

The effort, created by the United Nations Millennium Campaign and the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), seeks to shine a spotlight on poverty and demand that leaders of the world take action to help the least fortunate by working to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - a set of promises to eradicate extreme poverty and its root causes by 2015.

Anyone can participate, engaging in live discussions with world leaders, decision makers, celebrities and ordinary citizens to discuss the UN"s Millennium Development Goals to end poverty. Last year, more than 116 million people participated in "Stand Up," shattering the Guinness World Record for the largest mobilization of people in recorded history.

Organizers hope that participants will shatter that record once again. This year, the UN is partnering with Skype and Ustream, the leading live online video platform that enables anyone to broadcast to a global audience of unlimited size, in order to create these global conversations about critical issues facing our generation.

The unique partnership gathers high profile speakers to discuss poverty with citizens around the world in 30-minute interactive online conversations. Several of these online discussions have already taken place this week, including talks by Grammy Award-winning singer Angelique Kidjo, who spoke with youth in Uganda about education, and award-winning Nigerian singer Femi Kuti who spoke with school children in Kenya about poverty. Anyone can join the conversation about poverty and its root causes on these powerful social networking platforms. There are also events happening offline as well. In New York City tonight (October 16), citizens will Stand Up and Dance at a party organized by Mercy Corps and the ONE Campaign to pressure the United States Congress to pass the Roadmap to End Global Hunger plan.

Salil Shetty, Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign, says that "this year's mobilization will place particular emphasis on telling world leaders that their track record on women's rights, maternal mortality and hunger is unacceptable. Citizens refuse to accept the fact that 70 percent of the people living in poverty are women and children and 500,000 women continue to die annually in the process of giving life, and they are demanding urgent action from their leaders."