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Global Dignity Day - October 16th, 2013

The Second Annual Global Dignity Day Fundraising Reception was held on October 15, 2013 at the Councillors Lounge in Ottawa City Hall, an event that included HERA Mission President & CEO Peggy Taillon as a guest speaker. Ms Taillon's remarks from the event are available below.

Background on Global Dignity Day

Established in 2005, by HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant and Professor Pekka Himanen, Global Diginity (GD) is linked to the 2020 process of the World Economic Forum, in which leaders from politics, business, academia, and civil society join efforts to improve the state of the world. GD is an independent, non-political organization focused on empowering individuals with the concept that every human being has the universal right to lead a dignified life.

Last October over 9,000 students from Nunavut to British Columbia joined 350,000 students in over 50 countries around the world to celebrate human dignity. In this respect, GD had the privilege of rolling-out GD nationally with national representatives of all political stripes who included: Conservative Senator Yonah Martin, NDP MP Niki Ashton, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Jeffrey Copenace from the Assembly of First Nations, and traditional Inuit researcher, Curtis Konek, to name a few.

What's more, in this third year operating nationally, GD has already signed partnerships with organizations such as: Right To Play, TakingITGlobal, The Heroa Project, the YMCA Canada and The World Economic Forum's Canadian Global Shapers Community. This year, GD Canada’s 2013 “Many Faces of Dignity” campaign celebrates the varied and diverse interpretations of human dignity and how these forces play out in our lives, like youth empowerment, anti-bullying, cultural diversity and beyond. As such, GD has extended invites to executives from different fields and industries to partner with GD in championing the initiative within their professional and personal networks. The purpose of developing these new partnerships is to broaden GD's reach across Canada and to reach more students than ever before in celebrating Global Dignity Day on October 16th and beyond.

HERA Mission President & CEO Remarks from Global Dignity Day Fundraising Reception

Dignity --- a term often used, with a meaning that is rarely thought about.

Its something that means many things to many people.

Something you can not buy.

But you can steal it from others.

Something that can be celebrated by one, and misunderstood by masses.

It can be fleeting, taken for granted, especially when you have abundance.

Something you would die for when you have nothing else to lose.

It can be reflected in many acts --- large and small: The dignity of providing for your loved ones --- your children.

The dignity of listening to, taking time with and leaning from your elders --- and thanking them for making their contribution to life ---paving the way for you.

The dignity truly hearing others, being silent and open to learning from them.

The dignity of being part of, in participating in your community, your nation, our global village.

As most of us do, I stand today reflecting on the many roles I play --- the juggling I do and how each and every action and interaction has a ripple effect --- an impact on others.

As the CEO of CCSD, I stand on a 93 year old legacy, one that envisioned, one that fought for a country where each and everyone of us regardless of where we came from, who we were, what colour our skin is, what we believe in, if we were born a girl or boy---would have an equal chance at finding our own path to dignity, an organization that worked with successive governments to build the foundation of Canada’s social infrastructure when there were few if any formal supports in place.

An organization that has shifted approaches and continues to bring unconventional thinking to complex challenges that often feel intractable.

I also am Founder of a Foundation HERA Mission that works to empower 300 orphans and 100 widows in Western Kenya --- we work with exceptional leaders who choose to act --- participate --- share in a very volatile landscape:

Against political and tribal divides that have consumed 1000s of lives.
Against socio-economic landscape that does not allow land or property ownership.
Against cultural norms such as polygamy.

Risking their lives so the next generation can define and forge their own path towards their own dignity:

The dignity of an education.
From the yield of their own land so that they can share with their community.
A Job.
Clean water.
A platform to let their voices can be heard in a culture that does much to silence them.

Note that I avoided the word support, because it is a truly collaborative process, and me and my friend Wendy Muckle are constantly learning from the women.

This mission has truly altered my life’s path and given it meaning in ways that I am still working to understand --- and of course the universe responded by bringing me my beautiful son Devlin HERA.

My reason to live with and fight for dignity, the person who I face and must explain my actions, my acts big and small, the person who I promised to make proud when I held him for the first time when he was 17 hours old.

For whom I chose to live with moral purpose with others in mind, showing him that this is how we change the world --- individual choices, and actions the big and the small --- the grand and to mundane.

So today, tomorrow and the next --- find your path, your definition , your purpose to live with and fight for dignity, let’s make Global Dignity Day a movement that becomes a shared commitment, a collective pledge that this is how we chose to move through the world and how we will be reflected as a nation, as neighbours and friends.

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