Meghan Markle spoke out about the fight against gender and race inequality while addressing young women around the world at a digital global leadership summit on Tuesday – during which she quoted the Dalai Lama while urging participants to focus on ‘compassion’ instead of ‘anger’.
The 38-year-old Duchess of Sussex joined the event, organized by UN initiative Girl Up, to give a passionate speech about racial and gender injustices the world over – insisting that young women are the key to global change if they are willing to put aside negativity and focus on ‘building each other up’.
Standing in front of a plain wall while wearing a vibrant blue dress, Meghan told participants that they must challenge world leaders and executives to fight major issues including racial injustice and gender inequality, as well as gun violence, mental health awareness, and the reform of the criminal justice system.
Motivation: Meghan Markle urged young women around the world to fight race and gender inequality with ‘compassion’ while addressing the Girl Up Leadership Summit on Tuesday
Exciting: The 38-year-old Duchess of Sussex was announced as a keynote speaker at the online event just last week
‘Those in the halls and corridors in places of power, from lawmakers to world leaders to executives, all of those people, they depend on you more than you will ever depend on them. They know this,’ Meghan said.
‘Many of them, at their worst, they don’t listen until they have to,’ she continued. ‘The status quo is easy to excuse and hard to break.’
The Duchess of Sussex, who is currently living in Tyler Perry’s $18 million Los Angeles home with her husband Prince Harry and their baby son Archie, noted that powerful organizations, including government, ‘pull tightest right before snapping’ and she urged the young summit participants to ‘keep challenging’ global leaders.
‘Make them uncomfortable,’ she insisted.
However, the former Suits star also noted that any fight for change or social justice should be done with ‘compassion’, insisting that ‘compassion doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel anger or outrage’ – but rather than you should ‘broaden’ those emotions into something positive.
Quoting the Dalai Lama, Meghan continued: ‘I challenge you to broaden that feeling. The Dalai Lama famously said, “Compassion is the radicalism of our time.”‘
The duchess also addressed the ‘power’ of social media, noting that it has the potential both to ‘aid’ and ‘impair’ the fight for justice.
‘Our online role has the power to affirm and support as much as it does to harm,’ she noted.
Speaking about dealing with negativity in all forms, Meghan shared her advice for how to handle it, both in person and online, telling the summit participants that they must learn to drown out the ‘noise’ of negative voices and prioritize positivity.
‘We are not meant to be breaking each other down,’ she said. ‘Build each other up, support each other.
‘There will always be negative voices. Drown out that noise. Because that’s what it is, it is just noise. Your voices can and should be much louder.’
Pro: Meghan is now more than used to speaking via meeting software having dialed into several events recently, including an address last month to her former high school
Working together: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also joined a video call with young leaders from the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust earlier this month
Meghan then vowed to continue ‘cheering on’ all young women who are leading the fight for social change, while also offering the support of Prince Harry and their son Archie.
‘I will be cheering you on, so will my husband, so will Archie,’ she concluded.
Girl Up, which has the motto ‘uniting girls to change the world’, revealed that the royal was set to appear at its virtual 2020 Global Leadership Summit last week, sharing the news on its social media platforms.
Meghan was a keynote speaker at the online event, which began on July 13 and is set to continue until July 15.
It is the latest in a series of public steps taken by Prince Harry and Meghan as they shift the focus of their royal work towards racial equality and social justice.
The post announcing the Duchess of Sussex’s appearance read: ‘The present is female! But don’t take our word for it.
‘Hear from our keynote speaker Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, as she takes the stage at our 2020 Leadership Summit, happening virtually July 13-15!’
The campaign group said this year’s summit promises to be ‘unforgettable with interactive virtual workshops, panels with global leaders, and so much more’.
The Girl Up Global Leadership Summit is part of an initiative started by the UN, which is ‘dedicated to securing equal opportunities for underprivileged adolescent girls in developing countries such as Ethiopia, Malawi, Guatemala, and India’.
Cheerleaders: Meghan told Girl Up summit participants that she will be ‘cheering them on’ alongside Prince Harry and their son Archie
Initially, the leadership summit was due to take place in Washington, D.C., however it was moved to an online format over fears about safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The summit boasts a host of big-name corporate sponsors, including P&G, while the organization itself has partnered with the likes of Google, BNY Mellon, H&M, Intel, and Penguin.
A spokesperson for Girl Up confirmed to DailyMail.com that speakers are not paid for their time, and all take part in the summit on a volunteer basis.
However, experts have previously revealed that both Meghan and Prince Harry could stand to earn millions from public speaking engagements in the future – with one agency estimating that the couple could rake in up to $500,000 each from a single appearance.
In February, a PR expert told DailyMail.com that the couple may have earned ‘up to $1 million’ between them to speak at a star-studded JP Morgan summit in Miami, insisting that the couple will be the ‘highest-paid speakers that exist on the corporate market’.
‘I would not be shocked if they earned in excess of $1 million,’ Ronn Torossian, CEO of New York-based firm 5W Public Relations, said of their JP Morgan engagement.
‘Over the year their earning power could be unlimited.’
Meanwhile, GDA Speakers, whose clients include Nicole Kidman and Diane Keaton, told TMZ that the Duke and Duchess will likely attract much higher fees than regular celebrities, even without their HRH titles.
The majority of big-name celebrities earn between $200,000 and $300,000 for a speaking engagement, however the agency estimates that Harry and Meghan could each earn close to double that amount thanks to their impressive global standing.