I get so excited when I can talk about my incredible friends, and even more excited when they are worth actually bragging about. Professor Pekka Himanen is one of those global bright lights that is worth "bragging about." An author of no less than a dozen important books, one of the world's leading and most sought after philosophers, a Young Global Leader in the same class with myself and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway (2005), for the World Economic Forum, Pekka was literally the first YGL I met when I arrived for my first Davos experience in 2005. We have been close friends from the very first day.
Pekka is also a valued advisor to me, helping me with important decisions over these years, from the publishing of my now bestselling business book in the U.S., LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), to the most sensitive of personal decisions I have had to make; Pekka has been there.
Pekka, who is literally brilliant, and was the youngest Ph.D in Finland's history, is also one of the driving forces that has establishing Global Dignity as an international force for good in 6 short years.
The first website came from Pekka and his colleagues at the University of Art & Design Helsinki. Later Pekka created the first video mesages for Global Dignity, helping us to frame "the who and how" how we wanted to be seen in the world. It goes without saying that Pekka has played a critical role in and around the "intellectual framework" of and for our work. Soon, Pekka will be leading the fist Global Dignity Forum, to be held in Helsinki, Finland. The best is yet to come with Pekka Himanen, literally.
It gives me great pride to say that Pekka is one of the smartest (and kindest) people I have ever met.
Just last night, we stayed up for hours following our GD Country Chair meeting, talking about the important things of life, and how we could better help our world, help our world. Pekka is one that makes me actually stop and take notes, because so often, what he has to say is so incredibly profound.
Pekka's interview (like so many other great ones) did not make it into the first edition of Love Leadership, but with his permission, I will be publishing it soon, here, so the world can also experience his incredible wisdom and vision. I have provided here a snapshot of Dr. Pekka Himanen's incredible background, but remember -- it's only a snapshot!
Prof. Himanen is one of the internationally best-known researchers of the information age, whose works on the subject have been published in 20 languages from Asia to America (English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Croatian, Estonian, Swedish and Finnish).
After obtaining his PhD in Philosophy as the youngest doctor ever in Finland at the age of 20 (University of Helsinki 1994), Himanen moved to carry out research first in England and then in California (Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley). The best-known publication of this research is the book The Hacker Ethic (Random House 2001). Himanen has also coauthored with Prof. Manuel Castells the influential book The Information Society and the Welfare State (Oxford University Press 2002), which has been discussed worldwide in the leading academic and political circles. Himanen is nowadays a popular lecturer around the world.
As a sign of his impact, Himanen's work has been recognized with several awards, such as the World Economic Forum's respectedGlobal Leader for Tomorrow Award in 2003 and his selection of being one of the 200 Young Global Leaders in 2005. Himanen has also had an important role in the actual making of policy. He has advised leading global organizations and corporations. In Finland, Prof. Himanen has recently finished the preparation of a new information society strategy for the Finnish Parliament's Committee for the Future and a national innovation strategy for the Finnish Technology Industry.
Himanen's untraditional work has always also had a broader cultural impact. This includes the media: Himanen is frequently interviewed by the media around the world, from the TV to newspapers. He has also authored numerous articles from Time Magazine to The Financial Times as well as hosted his own TV series called The Net Academy (the Finnish TV1). Himanen's cultural figure has even inspired a provocative theater play,Cherished Disappointments in Love, that has been performed in Finland and in London (Soho Theatre). This satirical play of Jouko Turkka is a story of an older female newspaper editor falling in love with the young philosopher "Himanen"!
Currently, Himanen divides his time between being a professor at the University of Art and Design Helsinki, a visiting professor atthe Oxford University, a Visiting Professor at the IN3 Institute in Barcelona, and a Principal Scientist at the HIIT (Helsinki Institute for Information Technology).
For more information, check out Dr. Pekka Himenan's website here.
J ohn Hope Bryant is founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, bestselling author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), and a member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for President Barack Obama