Thousands of students assembled at the MTS Centre to hear concerts and motivational speakers talk about making a difference Tuesday.

The second annual We Day brought in pop stars, former world leaders and inspirational speakers to perform for over 18,000 students.

This years iteration featured performances from Shawn Desman and Lights. It also heard from had former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and Mount Kilimanjaro climber Spencer West. Also in attendance were Premier Greg Selinger, Manitoba’s Children and Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief and Justice Murray Sinclair.

Winnipeg’s We Day celebrations were part of a national event organized by the international children's charity Free The Children.

Founders Marc and Craig Kielburger want to inspire children to lead change in their communities and around the world.

Former Soviet president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Gorbachev also spoke at the event. He told students they should never allow others to divide them and they should always be ready to act.

Monday night Gorbachev and West received keys to the city while they were in town for the event.

West is a motivational speaker who scaled Mount Kilimanjaro despite amputated legs.

“Obstacles can be overcome. I was told I would never walk again or be a functioning member of society. I climbed the largest mountain in Africa despite being told that and raised half a million dollars for clean water,” said West. “If I can do that, what more can we all do?”

Student Dimitri Culpepper said the days’ speakers made a big impact on him.

“Different people have made big differences in the world,” said Culpepper. “I feel like they just inspire you to be like them or do even better than them.”

More than 18,000 students from 380 Manitoba schools attended the event at the MTS Centre Tuesday.