In November 2018, Henley & Partners hosted an exclusive cocktail philanthropy event at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art in Cape Town. The event was supported by UNHCR High Profile Supporter Nomzamo Mbatha and attended by Dr. Kälin in his capacity as Henley & Partners Group Chairman, philanthropist, and global citizen. Musical entertainment on the evening was provided by esteemed Congolese musician Silvestre Kabassidi and his band, and proceeds were raised for the Adonis Musati Project, an extraordinary Cape Town-based organization that works to empower marginalized refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa. The speech delivered by Dr. Kälin is provided below.
Full Text of Speech by Dr. Christian H. Kälin:
It is my great pleasure to welcome all of you to this wonderful space, and to be a part of this evening. I would like to share a few thoughts on what global citizenship means for us, as an ideal and as a principle behind the work that we do.
We work to connect individuals seeking personal freedom with nations seeking economic freedom in a mutually beneficial exchange. Our clients are global citizens, unconstrained by the limits which were imposed on them by something as arbitrary as their place of birth. As leaders of the investment migration industry, we are first-hand witnesses to the transformative effect that increased travel freedom and access can have on the lives of our clients. We see how global mobility opens up opportunities, how it dissolves barriers, and connects people.
We see what these freedoms mean for our clients, and so we also have a profound insight into what it means to be denied them. We know this because of the work that we do, but this awareness is perhaps an inevitable result of living in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world.
Globalization has many effects, and one of them is that it is no longer possible for any of us to close our eyes to the desperate hardships of other people in other places. We see what war does to a country, what famine does to a city, what terror and displacement means to a population. Previous generations might have been able to claim ignorance of these problems, but the dissolving of physical and imaginative boundaries has transformed our awareness of how other people live, and how they suffer.
More awareness as global citizens means more empathy, and a greater sense of obligation. At Henley & Partners, we take these responsibilities and obligations very seriously, and it is for this reason that the focus of our philanthropic commitment rests with those who do not have the same range of choices and opportunities as our clients – but on the contrary, are forced to move.
Over the years, we have worked to provide meaningful and sustained support to refugees and displaced people, and I speak for all of us when I say that we are extremely proud of the contributions we have made. My own recent visit to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan has only confirmed my conviction that the global refugee crisis is one of the most pressing issue of our time, and that our firm has an ethical and moral obligation to help address it.
A highlight of our year is the Global Citizens Award, where we honor an individual who has demonstrated vision, courage, commitment, and dedication in improving our global community. The choice of laureates over the years reflects our commitment to refugee causes, and our belief that this is where we can do the most good. The first laureate was Harald Höppner, the founder of refugee aid project Sea Watch, an organization which has been directly responsible for saving the lives of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean. We have also honored Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, who will be familiar to many of you as the founder of Gift of the Givers, Africa’s largest disaster relief organization, and Monique Morrow, the president and o-founder of The Humanized Internet, an organization which works to support the 1.1 billion people worldwide who lack an official identity.
Two weeks ago in Dubai, I was delighted to be able to present the 2018 Global Citizen Award to Diep Vuong, the founder of the Pacific Links Foundation, in recognition of her tireless advocacy on behalf of those enslaved by human trafficking. Like the previous laureates, Vuong inspired us with her willingness to act in confronting a problem that many see as simply too vast to address. Not satisfied with condemning an affront to dignity and justice, Vuong and her previous laureates found themselves compelled to act.
We can look to them all as the embodiment of what it means to be a global citizen in the most meaningful sense, and I hope that all of us will continue to be inspired by their examples. We are gathered here this evening to celebrate another organization which is making an extraordinary intervention on behalf of displaced people, this time here in Cape Town. On behalf of Henley & Partners, I am very pleased to reaffirm our ongoing commitment to the remarkable global citizens and organizations fighting to make a difference.
Thank you so much.
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