Today was an important day for Operation HOPE and our global push for silver rights empowerment for all, around the world. Accepting a distinguished invitation by the World Bank to present on our new Wikia-OPE Global Money Initiative at the World Bank Spring Meeting, Civil Society Forum, Operation HOPE was honored to be joined by Sue Rutledge, in charge of global consumer protection and financial literacy from the World Bank, Thierry Tanoh, vice president for Sub-Saharan African and Latin America for IFC of the World Bank Group, and Sean Cleary, a visionary leader and advisor to nations around the world (and chairman of the HOPE Global Board of Advisors).
With representatives from a dozen countries in the room, we outlined our vision for Global Money, and how this is about much more than simple financial literacy. We are living in a "reset world," almost defined by our individual and collective economic condition, and to quote HOPE Global Spokesman Ambassador Andrew Young, "to live in a system of free enterprise and capitalism, and yet to not understand the system of free enterprise and capitalism, must be the very definition of slavery."
I have found that money is emotion, and money is also "agnostic." We must bring spirit and purpose to money, and recognize that decisions about and around money are highly influenced by your life conditions, circumstances, culture, your learnings, but also your state of hope in your life. At Operation HOPE we believe that financial literacy is the new civil rights issue, here and around the world. I believe that if Dr. King was alive today, this would be the work that he would be doing. Giving people the tools, the inspiration and the ability to "do for their themselves." To help people help themselves. To empower them with the respect and dignity to operate in this economic world. That's the vision for Global Money, but also much more.
It is estimated that there is a need for more than 100 million jobs in the Middle East alone over the next 20 years or less, and for a population that will be majority under the age of 25. I believe that most of these jobs will by necessity be "self employment projects, small business and entrepreneurship oriented," and not traditional corporate or even government jobs. Global Money will become the universal language that the poor and the under-served must learn, in order to become "good citizens," and to live and operate in a world where the rules are drawn along economic lines. Global Money, once translated into 50 languages around the world, becomes every person's "do for yourself" business plan; a starting point for and towards aspiration and prosperity, no matter who you are, where you come from, what your family name is, nor what color or culture you come from. You can do something. You are, somebody.
A special thank you to HOPE's own Jena Roscoe, who runs government relations and public policy, Shannon Campbell, who runs our HOPE Corps and Global Money, and Kouri Marshall, who works closely with Jena, for making today happen.
John 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