When a photo pretty much says it all.
The HOPE Global Forum, 2016 Annual Meeting of Operation HOPE in Atlanta, Georgia was arguably the largest gathering of leaders from government, community, the private sector, faith, academia and the media for the purpose of the empowerment of the poor, in the world today.
Many of our esteemed Delegates continued from Atlanta to attend the world renown ‘Davos’ Meeting of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland. Two separate agenda, but a shared interest in ‘a world better.’
We also were honored to share our platform with our friends from the Clinton Foundation and CGI America, which will gather June, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Vice Chairman of the Clinton Foundation, my friend Chelsea Clinton, joined me for a rich conversation on the future of leadership, which I will share later this week.
More than 3200 Delegates gathered in Atlanta last week (we had to close registration two days prior), from more than 30 countries (I am still awaiting a final report on all countries represented) came together for one, singular purpose — empowering and uplifting the poor, the underserved, the overwhelmed and the left behind. One Delegate I spoke with, an entrepreneur and YGL named Ganhuyag Chuluun Hutagt, traveled all the way from Mongolia, or a 35 hour flight.
Prominent speakers were as diverse as topics covered, and there was a high likelihood that if you were a a Democrat, you were sitting next to a Republican, but you found common ground and agreement.
It was entirely likely that if you African-American or Hispanic and liberal, you were sitting next to someone White, and you found deep areas of common ground and agreement.
It was entirely likely that if you were from Saudi Arabia and female, you could relate completely with the issues being addressed by all minorities in say Ferguson, MO, or Detroit, Michigan.
At the HOPE Global Forum Annual Meeting, it was entirely likely that you would find a billionaire sitting next to a millionaire, sitting next to a thousand-aire, sitting next to someone who was once on Section-8 (government assistance).
This was a gathering of and for ‘all of us,’ and the agenda — for a change — was not whether you were white or black, rich or poor, conservative of liberal, southern and rural, or northern and urban. The agenda was prosperity, possibility and shared aspirations for all.
The meeting gave birth to not only to the theme for the next Annual Meeting (also inspired by one of the Delegates traveling from afar), but the new ‘tag line’ for Operation HOPE itself: “Building an Economy for All.”
A special thank you to the more than 300 speakers who invested time, attention and their own resources to be with us at the Annual Meeting, including Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation and best-selling author; Jack Lew, U.S. Secretary of Treasury, Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta [Honorary Co-Chair], Andrea Jung, CEO, Grameen America; Andrew Young, civil rights icon and former U.S. ambassador; Alice Rivlin, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution; Founder, Congressional Budget Office, D. Bryan Jordan, Chairman, President & CEO, First Horizon National Corporation, Dikembe Mutombo, Chairman and Founder, Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, Inc., E.J. Dionne, Washington Post Columnist and Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution; Jack Lew, U.S. Secretary of Treasury;Julián Castro, U.S. Secretary Housing and Urban Development; Michael Clayton, NFL Veteran /Super Bowl XLVI champion; Founder, Generation Next Foundation; Dr. Regina Benjamin, Former U.S. Surgeon General; Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan Boards of Directors.
A special thank you to MSNBC and Univision, both of which covered the Annual Meeting through LiveStream and interview coverage, along with NewsMaxTV, Black Enterprise Magazine, Ebony Magazine and Rolling Out Magazine, amongst many others, who were on site.
John Hope Bryant