During last night's star-studded 2015 Global Citizen Festival in Manhattan's Central Park, Beyoncé sang duets with Ed Sheeran and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Ariana Grande performed with Coldplay, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai drew a well-deserved standing ovation, and First Lady Michelle Obama introduced #62MillionGirls, an inspiring new campaign focusing on education for girls. Initially announcing the campaign in an afternoon video message, FLOTUS later surprised everyone by taking the stage to discuss the initiative. She was introduced by none other than Queen Bey herself, who had just finished a rousing — and thematically appropriate — set that featured some of her most empowering songs, including “Survivor,” “Run the World (Girls)” and “Single Ladies,” intermixed with quotations from Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, poet Maya Angelou, and mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey.
"Let's give it up for the amazing Beyoncé," Obama said to the roaring crowd after hugging the superstar. "I am thrilled to be here tonight...and honored to follow a woman who I admire and adore." “Right now, more than 62 million girls worldwide are out of school,” she continued. “As I’ve traveled around the world, I have met so many of these girls and they are so bright and so determined to make something of themselves...These girls are our girls and I simply cannot walk away from them.” The first lady's new campaign focuses on giving girls the economic and social opportunities to stay in school, because as its mission statement eloquently explains, "When girls aren’t given the chance to realize their potential, the whole world loses out." Obama asked the roaring crowd to share selfies on social media, along with a description of one thing they learned in school, using the hashtag #62MillionGirls. (What did Obama learn? The charismatic first lady credits school with teaching her how to "speak up.") "It was truly an incredible night, full of surprises," our own social media maven, Victoria Tomkinson, tells us of the festival. "It was so inspiring to see such a huge crowd of people come together to support such an important cause. I went expecting to see a great concert with some of my favorite artists, but came away excited about the impact it made — and even more excited about seeing everyone, from Michelle Obama to Malala, speak." Watch Michelle Obama's rousing speech, below, and visit 62MillionGirls.com to find out how you can take action.