Pope Francis speaks during the TED Conference, urging people to connect with and understand others, in Vancouver, Canada, April 25, 2017.
Glenn Chapman—AFP/Getty Images
April 26, 2017 2:18 AM EDT

In an unexpected TED Talk that surprised audience members in Vancouver, Canada Tuesday, Pope Francis urged world leaders to act “humbly” and called on people worldwide to show solidarity with one another.

Speaking from the Vatican via videolink, the 80-year-old Pontiff recounted his own family’s experience as immigrants in Argentina, saying that when he meets “discarded” people such as the sick and migrants, he always asks himself: “Why them and not me?”

“I could have very well ended up among today’s ‘discarded’ people,” he told the 1,800 attendees at the TED 2017 conference, which included the CEOs of some of the largest technology companies in the world.

“I would love it if this meeting could help to remind us that we all need each other,” Francis said “and we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.”

During the 18-minute video, which was translated to English from Italian, the Pope decried what he called a “culture of waste” that extended beyond food and goods, to cast vulnerable people aside. “Our techno-economic systems,” he said, “are now putting products at their core, instead of people.”

[ted id=2744]

Audience members were told that “good intentions and conventional formulas” used to appease our consciences are not enough, and that “people who call themselves ‘respectable'” often leave “entire populations, on the side of the road.”

Francis ended his talk with a message of hope, however, saying that the world needs a “revolution in tenderness.” The Pope, who compared power to “drinking gin on an empty stomach,” said world leaders should act “humbly” as “the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people.”

“I know that TED gathers many creative minds,” Francis told the high-powered audience. “How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us.”

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