U2 frontman and social activist Bono spoke about the fight against global poverty and AIDS in Gaston Hall Monday evening.

The event was co-sponsored by Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan and the Global Social Enterprise Initiative at the McDonough School of Business.

Bono criticized the prevalence of attack ads in the presidential campaign, joking about a scenario in which universities ran attack ads.

“Hello, we’re Georgetown and we approve this message. … Syracuse: a school whose mascot is a fruit,” he said in a mocking, baritone voice.

More seriously, he called for Americans to focus their energy on global health issues rather than partisan politics.

“I’d like to hear an attack ad on malaria,” he said.

Bono went on to speak about the effects budget cuts have on populations that depend on foreign aid for famine and AIDS relief.

“Cuts shouldn’t cost lives,” he said. “We must not let the economic recession become a moral recession.”

He discussed the efforts that are necessary to make a difference, challenging the idea that social change can be affected through a one-dollar donation at the grocery store.

“If you want to turn the world right-side up, it’s not going to take a minute or an hour or a day. It’s going to take your whole life,” he said.

Bono emphasized the importance of fostering independent economic growth and investment in developing countries and the pitfalls of reliance on foreign aid, comparing growth in China to growth in Africa.

“We used to talk about Asian tigers … but this is not an African tiger. This is a lion,” he said, predicting that Africa’s future economic development would mirror China’s recent rise to prominence.

Bono closed his speech with an appeal to the American ideals of equality and the pursuit of happiness, saying that support for global health and development initiatives is an extension of these values.

“These aren’t just American ideals anymore. … These truths, your truths, they’re self-evident in us,” he said.

Students said they appreciated Bono’s advocacy efforts in addition to his stage presence.

“It was very inspiring. Obviously he’s very passionate about what he does and really believes that all of us can make a change,” Nadeen Hussain (NHS ’15) said. “He encouraged us to think outside the box and make change.”

“He was very personable. He was both a rock star and innovative,” Lee Stromberg (MSB ’13) said. “He had the charisma of a rock star but the ability to connect with people very easily.

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