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January 01 2009

Operation HOPE Founder John Hope Bryant Joins Congressional Delegation led by Congresswoman Diane Watson for Official Visit to South Africa, Highlighting American Public Diplomacy Outreach, HOPE 2nd Year Anniversary in South Africa

Bryant leads Banking on Our Future, South Africa financial literacy teaching session for Delegation in Alexandra Township School; Trip points the way toward upcoming Global Financial Summit June 17, 2009 in SE, Washington, D.C.

JOHANNESBURG-- ( May 28, 2009) --Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO, John Hope Bryant joined Rep. Diane E. Watson (D-CA-33) as she made an inaugural donation of films to the Rosa Parks Library and Information Resource Center in Soweto, a township of Johannesburg, South Africa. The presentation is a culmination of her bill, H.R. 2553, the Public Diplomacy Resource Centers Act of 2007, promoting wider screenings of U.S. films at State Department libraries around the world. The presentation was also attended by Rep. Watson’s colleague and bill supporter, Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ-10). Congressman Payne is the sub-committee chairman on Africa in Congress.

The donation consisted of 100 films from the film collection of late Hollywood Mayor, Johnny Grant. Grant, recently deceased, was a legendary American entertainer and the Honorary Mayor of Hollywood. “In this way we honor him for his continued efforts on behalf of the American entertainment industries,” stated Congresswoman Watson. “He was also an ardent proponent of the power of American film to convey the universal values of freedom and opportunity to others around the world. The Johnny Grant Film Collection will provide the United States Government with the opportunity to show the show the world the optimism and promise of America as portrayed by our classic films,” said Rep. Watson.

Bryant then spoke to the youth in attendance, explaining, “Education is the ultimate poverty eradication tool, and knowledge and information, now available through this library and donation, is your way out of poverty and despair.” Bryant continued, “Once you have knowledge, no one can take it from you. It becomes part of your core dignity as a person, helping you to become a self-empowered, contributing member of society.” He concluded, “A modest school library in Compton, California, where I grew up, saved me, and it will change your life too.”

Bryant and HOPE then announced a one-time contribution for every youth present, of a full and free course of Banking on Our Future, a signed Banking on Our Future book autographed by Bryant, its author, and a starter bank account. Operation HOPE of South Africa will also begin providing year-round programming for all youth at the center; providing a course in dignity, financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

While in South Africa, Bryant, who serves as vice chairman on the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy and chairman of its Committee on the Under-Served, also highlighted the 2nd anniversary of HOPE South Africa with a Banking on Our Future Executive teaching session at the Skeen Primary School in Tsutsumani, Alexandra. The Congressional Delegation (CODEL) joined him in the classroom to lead and observe the empowerment course focused on entrepreneurship, financial literary and silver rights in action.

Since 2007, HOPE has nurtured ongoing commitments from HOPE South Africa Partners including the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, CIDA University, IFC at the World Bank Group, Citigroup, South Africa and Deutsche Bank, South Africa, to bolster record results.

Says HOPE, South Africa success story Zoliwe Cutalele, student and BOOF graduate at Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund NGO, Youth Connection, “We realized in the BOOF class that the real challenge is not the lack of information but the lack of applying the knowledge acquired. Someone once told me that being rich has more to do with a picture than a bank account. It’s all about the picture you see in your mind about your life – that determines what’s in your bank account. We know that the picture Operation HOPE has of creating African entrepreneurs will bring about change in Africa. We are all now excited to pass on the information we have learned.”

In two short years, HOPE in South Africa has recruited, trained and mobilized more than 500 volunteers for South African classrooms and communities, has educated more than 7,500 children and women in dignity, and provided financial literacy and entrepreneurship training through the Banking on Our Future program, creating a sustainable Silver Rights movement on the African continent. HOPE expects to reach its 10,000th learner by September 2009, and has set a ten year goal of educating 1,000,000 youth and women in all nine provinces.

With less than a month away to HOPE’s Global Financial Literacy Summit, Bryant has already confirmed that more than 50 national and international speakers from 6 continents, including Africa are slated to participate. The summit is scheduled to take place on June 17, 2009 in Washington, DC with U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chair Sheila Bair and Civil Rights Icon Ambassador Andrew Young headlining the event.