The recorded performance will serve to promote World Humanitarian Day on Aug. 19.
Wrapped in a white sequined gown, the singer delivered a commanding live performance to the musical track as pictures of U.N. aide workers assisting in wars, famines and floods around the world appeared on a massive screen behind her.
On the scene was CNN personality Anderson Cooper, who spoke to a range of people involved in humanitarian efforts.
“Is this what happens at the U.N. every Friday night?” Anderson Cooper humorously asked the crowd at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations on Friday. “Because, I’ve gotta tell you … I wanna be here every Friday night if this goes on.”
Cooper was referring to the many members of the organization and the guests who were in attendance.
After rehearsing earlier in the day Friday, Beyoncé was introduced by Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson.
“Tonight she brings more than her stunning talents; she brings inspiration to help another person, to help another human being,” Eliasson told the crowd. He went on to describe “I Was Here” as “a profound and moving song.”
The Secretary went on to recall a “dark day in the history of the U.N.” when 22 humanitarian workers were killed in a terrorist attack in Iraq on August 19, 2003. This event along with World Humanitarian Day serve to honor those who lost their lives as well as to encourage people to join the effort.
Anderson Cooper hosted individual interviews with guests like the son of a missing humanitarian worker and a former child soldier-turned-author from Sierra Leone.
In her sit-down with Cooper, Under-Secretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos encouraged everyone to log on to WHD-IWasHere.org by August 19 and commit to doing one good act to help someone in need.
She said of Beyoncé, “It’s great that we have her here because she can reach millions of people. I could spend the rest of my life doing what I do, and I wouldn’t reach the 10th of that number.”
After her performance Beyoncé finished with a closing message.
“I’d like to ask everyone to make sure they’re a part of August 19th,” she said. “It’s such a beautiful, beautiful day, and I’d like to honor the 22 people who lost their lives. God bless you all. Thank you so much for having me.”