A Global Effort to Raise Compassion, October 20, 2008

Nonprofits around the world unite in a global event to raise the awareness of students worldwide to standards of living, with regards to health care, education, and humane treatment

Davos, Switzerland – October 20, 2008 – Global Dignity, a worldwide mission which aims to inspire and encourage dignity for every person announced today the first Global Dignity Day. In association with the Forum of Young Global Leaders (YGL), an auxiliary of the World Economic Forum, the international event and inaugural celebration of hope and dignity will take place simultaneously around the world on October 20, 2008 in over twenty countries, including South Africa, India, United States, Nigeria, Turkey, Norway, Finland, Jordan, Austria, Japan, Poland, Mozambique, Mexico, England, Canada, Venezuela, China, Belgium, and Singapore. Global Dignity Day goes so far as to reach outer space!

"It is not enough to merely acknowledge that all human beings have inherent dignity. Our actions must reflect the dignity of others," HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, co-founder of Global Dignity. The goal of Global Dignity Day 2008 is to empower and unite youth across the globe in a universal principle – Dignity, at a time when the world agrees on little else, and to give thousands of youth in a single day with the knowledge and skills to obtain a human level of health care, education, income and security, but most of all a personal sense of dignity. It is a paradigm shift in thinking about our global challenges, a new language and a mindset to approach issues of poverty, peace, and progress.

"This is a message to all participants of Global Dignity Day. My name is Richard Garriott and I am on a space ship orbiting the Earth. The view is spectacular from up here. The world looks both beautiful and fragile. In one day I can look down on all of you without seeing any boarders that separates you. It really becomes apparent that we are all in this together. We really do have more in common than what separates us. By focusing on dignity as a powerful source for positive change you are all bringing the world forward. The future is in your hands. The next steps are up to you. That’s it from space. I wish you the best of luck," said CEO Richard Garriott while broadcasting world-wide through the Amateur Radio Station on-board the International Space Station (ISS) as he orbits the Earth.

Since its inception, the co-founders of Global Dignity, HRH Crown Prince Haakon, Professor Pekka Himanen and American silver rights leader John Hope Bryant, inspired directly by YGL members, have in conjunction with World Economic Forum, seeded positive change by conducting a series of Dignity Day teaching sessions to hundreds of students around the world.

"The world has never before needed the unequaled power of hope and dignity more than it does today. In an environment where individuals cannot seem to agree on anything, from religious differences to differences of culture and forms of government, or even forms and definitions of free enterprise, and the definition of capitalism itself, the one thing we can agree on the world over is we all want and need more dignity," said John Hope Bryant, chairman, founder and CEO of Operation HOPE, who also serves as vice chair of the U.S. President’s Council on Financial Literacy. "Operation HOPE supports Global Dignity through HOPE Global Initiatives – HOPE’s international division to support programs and projects globally. We are proud to promote, advocate, help advance Global Dignity," said Bryant. "By formulating a globally shared dream, Global Dignity and HOPE Global Initiatives are perfectly aligned in promoting opportunity around the world, to empower each individual to believe in his or her fundamental right to dignity, respect, and freedom, to make their own decisions in life."

Global Dignity Day 2008 builds upon the success of more than a dozen successful "Dignity Day" events. This event is a global demonstration of the inspirational and inclusive power of dignity, and the mission of the Dignity Project is to implement globally the universal right of every human being to lead a dignified life though an understanding of the Five Dignity Principles:

  1. Every human being has a right to lead a dignified life.
  2. A dignified life means an opportunity to fulfill one’s potential, which is based on having a human level of health care, education, income and security.
  3. Dignity means having the freedom to make decisions on one’s life and to be met with respect for this right.
  4. Dignity should be the basic guiding principle for all actions.
  5. Ultimately, our own dignity is interdependent with the dignity of others.

"We wish to be inspiration-based; commending and encouraging best practice and dignity centered leadership rather than criticizing shortcomings," added Co-founder Professor Himanen during his "Dignity Day" session in Finland.

YGL’s who also participated in Global Dignity Day include:





Alvaro Rodriguez Arregui


Lily Habash

Palestinian Territories

Andrew L. Cohen


Mattias Klum


Corinna E. Lathan


Mugo Kibati


Daniel Sachs


Murat Sarayli


Daniel Shapiro


Natalie Simons

South Africa

Eric C. Anderson


Osayi A. Oruene


Erik Charas


Phuti Malabie

South Africa

Gavin Newsom


Salim Amin


Jennifer Corriero


Sergei Guriev

Russian Federation

Jon S. von Tetzchner


Shai Agassi

Israel, USA

Josef Penninger


Shezad Rokerya


Kate Roberts


Thomas Crampton

Hong Kong SAR

Veronica Colondam


About the Forum of Young Global Leaders

Established in 2004 by Professor Klaus Schwab, The Forum of Young Global Leaders (www.younggloballeaders.org) is a unique, multi-stakeholder community of the world’s most extraordinary young leaders who dedicate a part of their time to jointly address global challenges and who are committed to devote part of their knowledge and energy to collectively work towards a better future. Together, they engage in the 2030 Initiative, a comprehensive endeavour, to understand current and future trends, risks and opportunities both at global and regional levels, formulate a positive vision for the world in 2030 and put forward concrete strategies and workstreams to translate their vision into action.

About Global Dignity

Co-founded by Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway, Professor Pekka Himanen, University of Art & Design Helsinki and Visiting Professor at Oxford University, and John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO from Operation HOPE, and the mission of the Dignity is to implement globally the universal right of every human being to lead a dignified life. It is an autonomous, non-profit and non-partisan project linked to the 2020 process of the World Economic Forum’s Forum of Young Global Leaders, where young global leaders from politics, business, academia, and civil society have joined together to work for the improvement of the state of the world and people based on five principles of dignity. For more information on about Global Dignity, see www.globaldignity.org.

About World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial and not-for-profit; it is tied to no political, partisan or national interests. The World Economic Forum is under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Government. For more information, visit www.weforum.org

About HOPE Global Initiatives

HOPE Global Initiatives was developed out of the organization’s leadership role in hosting Ambassadors and Heads of State visiting Southern California, as well as the founder’s former role with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Geneva, Switzerland, as their first ever goodwill ambassador to the United States. The role of HOPE Global Initiatives is to promote and advocate the benefits of education, financial literacy, self-reliance, economic empowerment and dignity as tools for vastly improving the quality of life in developing countries, with a particular focus on developing countries on the African continent. The role has expanded to serve underserved communities throughout the world. HOPE Global Initiatives is a program of Operation HOPE. For more about Operation HOPE and its programs to go www.operationhope.org.

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