On April 21st American Idol will air it’s Idol Gives Back benefit show. This year, there will be a segment featuring season seven winner, David Cook. Cook recently traveled to Ethiopia as part of the United Nations Foundation. The focus of Cook’s trip was on education for girls. According to the U.N. Foundation there are 130 million “out-of-school” youth around the world. And out of those 130 million, 70% are girls.
In a teleconference from Ethiopia, Cook took some time to talk about his trip. Joining in on the conference was United Nations Director of Global Partnerships, Elizabeth Gore. Gore explained that focusing on girls is a big priority for the U.N, and that the foundation was excited to be working with Idol Gives Back on the project. Cook said that he was also excited to be working with the foundation and that it was something he had wanted to do since his time on the show.
Cook said he was particularly moved by Annie Lennox’s performance of “Many Rivers to Cross,” which featured heartbreaking images of Ethiopia in the background. Cook later explained that he felt this experience in Ethiopia was a life-changing experience that he will carry with him forever. When asked what his first impressions of Ethiopia were, Cook said that he was “completely shocked by this country in an extremely positive way.” He went on the say the city of Addis Ababa (where he was staying) was very lush and green, and the people were very friendly.
In response to question about what makes him the most thankful for his life in America, Cook responded that he felt “guilty for the bubble I’ve built around myself.” He said the reality there is beyond even what is shown on TV. Reality there is “real, and it’s heavy, and it’s something that truly deserves our attention.” He said he hopes everyone takes the mantra “we are only as good as the people that we surround ourselves with” to a global level. He continued the sentiment with, “Everyone is struggling right now, but we, as a country, are only as good as the countries that we surround ourselves with.”