On the anniversary of a heartbreaking tragedy in Oslo, Norway, where I have visited often, I wanted to issue a brief statement of hope, and dignity.
My friends and fellow Young Global Leaders, Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland, and HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and I, created something called Global Dignity, and our first planning meeting was in Oslo, Norway. Since that date in 2005, we have come to Norway at least annually to frame out our plans for expanding dignity curriculum in schools and dignity principals in workplaces and communities around the world. Little did we — I really mean little did I — know that the most encouraging lesson of dignity, and how it shows itself to the world, would come out of Norway itself.
In the midst of one of the worst human tragedies of this generation, the tragic shootings in Norway which took the lives of many, including children, the people of Norway rose up in a way that was full of dignity, healing, and a moving on. I have seldom seen anything like it. The people there are not bitter, nor worn or torn apart from this tragic event. They have not turned their back on the incredible philanthropy that they have a history of sharing with the developing world. They did not turn inwards, forgetting all else. They did not grow bitter.
By all accounts, this horrific tragedy, simply made them better. Rainbows after storms, and as I say in book LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), Loss Creates Leaders. And at the top of this list of leaders and individuals who did not allow the pain and the horror of all of this to damage them, and of individuals who seemingly just became better, and even more compassionate in the midst of this emotional storm — is my friend and Global Dignity co-founder Crown Prince Haakon.
Norway is a lovely country, with lovely, engaged and deeply caring people. When others curse the darkness, they continue to light candles, pointed toward a bright future.
Onward and with HOPE
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass) the only African-American bestselling business author in America, and is chairman of the Subcommittee for the Under-Served and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is the co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll on youth financial dignity and youth economic energy in the U.S. He is also a co-founder of Global Dignity with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland. Global Dignity is affiliated with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum. Mr. Bryant serves on the board of directors of Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation, an NYSE Euronext publicly traded company, and a division of $54 billion Ares Capital.