GSBS 2014 is another grand production. It’s almost like a rock concert disguised as a big family Thanksgiving reunion (minus the turkey), with live performance of public speeches – singing songs of hope – before an ever-so-eager audience. The main stage is a monstrous production (boasting nine huge screens, concavely floating in the air) befitting the world’s largest gathering of social business communities. Yet, the show still somehow emits a sense of intimacy.
Two smaller screens were dedicated to live tweets.
But unlike a typical concert, the show opens with the rock star himself, Professor Muhammad Yunus, who, despite slightly panting for breath, upped the ante by redefining happiness (Pharrel, you’re so 2000 and eight!):
“In social business, when you make other people happy, it’s super happiness.”
Now clap along if you feel like (super) happiness is the truth. Because we’re happy.
And so were the rest of the 700-plus delegates from more than 50 countries. Bangladesh in da house. Japan in da house. Germany in da house. Thailand in da house. Malaysia in da house. Singapore are you in da house?
After two back-to-back keynote speeches by Professor Yunus and Lic. Ildefonso Guajardo Villareal, Secretario de Economia (who delivers his speech in Spanish), the show finally welcomes its opening act – The Cateura Recycled Orchestra. They have been taking their inspiring spectacle of trash-into-music around the world (mind you, they’ve been touring with mega rock band, Metallica).
Resurrecting the theme from Mission Impossible, an ensemble of garbage picker, music teacher, youths from a Paraguayan slum performs with both passion and joy, delighting the audience who gave them a standing ovation. What’s so poignant about their performance is that it beautifully (but powerfully) highlights two vital issues of our times: poverty and waste pollution.
And that sets the stage for GSBS 2014.