Haakon asks youth to walk dignity path, to help needy

ABU DHABI — The UAE is planning to open an embassy in Oslo and Prince Haakon Magnus, the heir to the Norwegian throne, has welcomed the plans.


Silvia Radan

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Published: Wed 14 Apr 2010, 9:23 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 10:50 AM

“We highly encourage this,” said Prince Haakon, who is currently visiting the UAE.

One stop during his tour, which started on Tuesday, was Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, where he gave a lecture to a student-packed auditorium, talking mostly about human development and dignity.

“There are six billion people in the world, and most of them earn between US$1 and US$0,” said the Prince.

As a United Nations (UN) goodwill ambassador, he travelled around world, trying to help with the organisation’s Millennium Development Goals.

“Among them are to halve world poverty, halt HIV, reach universal education and environmental sustainability by 2015,” he mentioned.

The others of the eight goals are gender equality, child health, maternal health and global partnership.

“In the case of extreme poverty, the daily income got better, from US$1.15 per day to US$1.25 per day,” said the Prince.

Still, despite progress, the UN is falling behind on all of its eight goals. The richest 20 per cent of the world’s individuals earn 74 per cent of the world’s income, while the next 60 per cent of individuals only earn 24 per cent of the world’s income, and 20 per cent of persons earn just two per cent of the world’s income.

“This is a waste disposal site in Mongolia,” said the Prince pointing towards a photograph, “where people living in poverty go to look for dumped items to resell them and to make more money they send their children to.

“The UN got the idea to educate these children by setting up school-tents on the site itself.

“During my visit there, I asked some of the children what are their dreams and one wanted to become a police officer, another a politician and another a doctor.” His conclusion? We must stop see each other as ‘them’ and ‘us’, but as people.

“You may ask why should we care about people whom we don’t know and the answer is dignity,” went on the Prince.

Dignity, he explained, is a human condition in itself and a dignified action, “translated” into doing good and helping the needy, is uplifting others, as well as ourselves.

To further explain and convince the younger generations to walk the dignity path, Prince Haakon, philosopher Pekka Himanen and philanthropist John Hope Bryant, set up the non-profit project, Global Dignity, linked to the 2020 World Economic Forum, where young global leaders from politics, business, academia, and civil society have joined together to work for the improvement of the state of the world and its people.


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