LILI FOURNIER’S EPIC QUEST
WOMEN ARE THE WORLD’S MOST POTENT UNTAPPED SOURCE OF POWER
The question we have to ask ourselves is why are women consistently denied the capital they need to fulfill their entrepreneurial potential, when we know with certainty that when women and girls succeed, their families and the world prospers. The Economist has stated unequivocally that women are the most potent force for global economic growth. And still we do nothing on any scale that it will have real short and long term impact. Why?
According to Global Citizen, Women lost out on over $800 billion USD when the pandemic crashed the global economy. The hard losses that hit women show how fragile gains for gender equality have been. Things are only going to get worse. That’s why its so critical we step up now and take bold action.
We have this singular opportunity to help open the heart of humanity, in short, to feed hungry children and their families and to collectively commit to putting the power of resources into the hands of women so they can save themselves and their families.
Not a big ask, but an indication of how we see ourselves as members of the human family. A responsibility that has recently waned CONSIDERABLY.
“Actualizing equal opportunity and advancing the rights and freedom of women and girls is the most profound moral imperative of the 21stcentury. Years of preparation and effort comes down to a single heartbeat in which one makes the impossible dream possible.” - Lili Fournier
THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, EQUALITY & DEMOCRACY
The phrase “eternal vigilance is the price of freedom’ takes on a whole new significance during these dangerous times, “when telling the truth has become a revolutionary act.”
A Journey of a Million miles began with the first step. I saw the future and it was terrifying. “At times, sadly, I felt I was given the gift of prophesy, which totally changed the trajectory of my life.
I made a sacred VOW on Washington Mall, in Washington D.C., right after 9/11 that I would produce Women’s Day Live.
I had determined that educated empowered women were the answer to the attacks on freedom and democracy that I saw coming.
I clearly foresaw this dystopian future. That’s why I could never give up on the mission. I was willing to sacrifice everything to win this battle.
I was born in Transylvania, in an oppressive Communist regime where fear was the daily diet. I learned early about man’s inhumanity to man.
My parents where teenagers when they lost their families to the Nazis. I grew up with no family always asking how could the world stand by, and let this happen.
I was the wrong nationality, gender and religion. Growing up I often suffered from intolerance and hatred.
Then my parents fled this oppressive communist regime and I got a taste of freedom in Canada. Oh my God. Only people who know what it is to not have freedom realize the preciousness of it.
YES, I CAN. AND I WILL.
When I was a little girl, I was always told you can’t because you’re a girl. I would respond “Yes I can, and I will”. Then I was often beaten for the best in me. I didn’t want any child to have to experience what I did. It was like surviving a war zone. I was also an immigrant twice over and know the pain of not belonging. English was my fifth language of seven.
The simmering under belly of hate was always ready to erupt. Watching the rise and threat of this devil that never dies being used to divide us has been horrific. I know where it leads. We can all give testament to it now.
I had also prophesized that a man would come into power that would turn the world upside down. I knew who he was in 2011. The world laughed at me. I tried with all my strength to wake women up to the power of their vote, to avoid the catastrophic impact I knew he would unleash on this world. Being blocked at every turn in 2016 from getting a show on women and the vote on the air, I did short videos on “Vote for Choice, and “God in Government”, and asked the women of influence to mail to their data bases. Most of them refused, saying they didn’t mix politics with their social media. White educated women lost the vote. I have the greatest respect for African American women who ultimately saved the pillars of democracy in 2020.
So, here we are. I have been fearful and fearless all my life. When they were stoning the women in Afghanistan and the world stood by and did nothing, my conscience would not let me sleep or eat for months. My friends and mentors, Maurice Strong and Hanne Strong flew into town. I ran to see them in tears, telling them about my vision and what I was being called to do. They encouraged me to go for it. Maurice founded the Rio Earth Summit, the foundation for the Environmental movement and Hanne the Manitou Foundation. They know a thing or two about implementing big visions. The world was talking a good stick about girls education and women’s empowerment. I thought surely we could come together to make a united global effort for short and long term impact. Now we’ve abandoned the Afghan women and girls again.
IT IS TRAGIC AND HEARTBREAKING BEYOND BELIEF what we as an international community are allowing to happen.
I determined then that this was not going to happen on my watch. This tremendous existential crisis led me to make the commitment for Women’s Day Live. That we would find a way to stand up and fight for a brighter future for the world’s women and girls. I called out to God “where is it written that women and children should be so violated. A person dies of starvation every four seconds. Can’t we hear the women and children crying?”
Gandhi said, “Poverty is the worst form of violence”.
EMPOWER WOMEN. MAKE POVERTY HISTORY. This is our moon shot moment as a human family to make an irrevocable commitment, to keep promises to women and girls. We know what we have to do.
For twelve years I have been a slave to this mission. I traversed the world and figuratively climbed every mountain full time since 2010, coming close 4 times. On each occasion that we got potential commitment for funding, politics got in the way.
I said I will never give up on this dream until Women’s Day Live happens.
I have risked everything to keep going. It has cost me no less than everything. I did it for the future of my children, for all of our children and grandchildren. And to honor the memory of my ancestors. After the Holocaust we said never again. After 9/11 I could feel the bootsteps of fascism on the march again. The US and THEM divide is the basic law of propaganda which the Fascists and Communists alike perfected. How could the world not see this coming?
Tragically, everything I predicted has come to pass. I trusted what I knew to be true and kept going no matter how much rejection and resistance I met with. I did not want to live in a heartless world. I hope all my children and grandchildren will forgive me for giving away their inheritance for a mission that I felt would benefit the future of humanity. I was never a rich woman in monetary terms, just a successful documentary producer. Somehow, I managed to divest my assets which accrued over time. The fact that I’m still standing is a miracle.
“To achieve this mission, I have made vows which have tested my faith, my endurance and my will to the limit. Given that everything I value is at stake, who would I be if I didn’t take a stand?”
I do believe we have to define new rules for success. It’s not about what we have but who we are and what we stand for. I say that in one of my Quest shows. That the Quest for Authenticity is the great quest of our times.
I don’t know why I’ve often felt that I needed to justify my existence. Perhaps its because I am a second-generation survivor. And a woman who grew up receiving mixed messages since she was a little girl, that she was not valued by society. She was only a girl. I want every girl and woman to know they have inherent worth just for being alive! That they deserve every opportunity in the world to live their dreams. And when she doubts herself to remember she is the daughter of a woman, who is the daughter of a woman who never gave up.
I’ve been knocked down and dealt with so many disappointments just like every human being on this earth often does, but I just keep getting up. I believe each of us has the power and strength and resilience to deal with whatever adversity and challenges life gives us.
What I have discovered is that I have finally won my self-respect. I know who I am. I know I am willing to do whatever it takes to save the future for our precious children and grandchildren.
I am a survivor. I am a fighter. Love is the motivator. Love is the power.
What will it take to make an evolutionary leap for humankind?
Last month I contracted COVID on a flight overseas. I felt that I was never so sick in my life. My Doctor thought I could have died over the lack of oxygen. Having just had this wake-up call, I decided to share my thoughts and what is in my heart with you now. I think many of us over the last couple of years have had an existential crisis of meaning and are re-examining if we are living our values.
The great Gabor Mate called me a megalomaniac. I honestly don’t think this life-long commitment to achieve this dream and the personal sacrifices that went with it was about ego. I gave up a powerful media platform across north America that took me ten years to build. It was at the height of my career. What was I thinking? I used to laugh and say I became so committed I should have been committed.
I know I didn’t care for fame. Awards meant nothing to me, and I rarely took credit for anything till now. Given what happened to my family, and ‘knowing’ the attack on our freedom and democracy was coming, I felt the weight of responsibility on my shoulders to help save the world. If this isn’t the height of arrogance. What I did learn was humility and the importance of forgiveness, to keep on living and forgiving, to let go of petty grievances. Life has a way of rounding out your edges.
Letting go of regrets and the past is hard. I will never get the precious 12 years of my life back or all the time I sacrificed with my elders who are all gone now. When I fall into this trap, I think of my cherished friend and great mentor, Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Successful People) who always said “The true joy in life is being used for a purpose known to yourself as a mighty one. He would always ask “What’s your purpose? What are you about? What are you willing to sacrifice for? “
My favorite quote of his which is in one of my Quest PBS specials which he appeared in is “I love the statement from George Bernard Shaw. He said, “This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose known to yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.” That says it all.
This is the time to herald in a new era. I stayed true to this mission, as I aspired to create a model for impact investing and global systems change that could help catapult capitalism into sustainability. The shame of civilization is clear. You can tell a great deal about society and what it values by where it puts its money. Women and girls are the poorest people on the face of the earth. That is no longer acceptable. Ultimately, I made the choice to take personal responsibility and fight for the future I want to see. I wanted to live a life of consequence and to leave behind a sustainable future for my grandchildren. I think we are each being called to step up now with everything we’ve got to fight for freedom and democracy.
WOMEN WE HAVE DOLLAR POWER. VOTE POWER. HELP IGNITE AN UNSTOPPABLE MOVEMENT.
Together we can ignite an unstoppable movement. Victory is the only option. The stakes could not be higher. I really believe that no one can stop us now but us.
We are not going to see decades of progress disappear. We may feel powerless on an individual level but together we can be a powerful force for change.
What I want most right now is for all of us to find a way to work together, to take collaboration to new heights. It is the most vital key to our future.
We have tremendous collective power. The time to use it is now.
Everyone says dream big bold dreams.
When it means change, be prepared to see people run for the hills. They are generally not willing to do the heavy lifting. Ultimately, I wanted to find out why women have no power and how to get it. That is clearly evident now. I also wanted to test the limits of my spiritual beliefs and my faith to find out if we have a fire in the belly for a dream and commit to it with out heart and soul, do we have the power to achieve it?
I could have started small, but then it wouldn’t achieve the GLOBAL impact I was after. Women’s Day live is not just about a concert. Inspiring a new vision of hope for the future is important during this dark night of the soul for humanity. Most importantly it’s about building a powerful consortium of partners to support a global movement for change. To create accountability and consequences for our leaders or nothing will change. History cannot be allowed to repeat itself. I also wanted to be ready with a bold plan to help respond to this Global Humanitarian crisis which I expected, just earlier.
Imagine a global communications network to align women’s and girls’ voices, power and leadership.
In any event, this is what I spent my life thinking about. Sometimes I would rail at the world, asking doesn’t anybody care? I don’t want to live in a heartless world. I think we’re all in need of healing and arriving at a fresh new perspective on the world and our place in it. We need to stay strong, have faith and not run scared. Trusting that we have what it takes.
Our civilization desperately needs to evolve our consciousness. To free ourselves from the delusion that we are somehow separate from the rest of humanity. As Einstein suggested, we have to “free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
I’ve come to see that there are so many heart-centered people who care deeply about the state of the world and are doing incredible work at great risk to themselves. I also know that many people given a chance and the tools would want to make a meaningful difference.
The Heart in Action Global Humanitarian Campaign - the Step Up Revolution gives people a significant opportunity all over the world to do just that.
AMERICAN WOMAN HAVE THE POWER TO ROCK THE WORLD
The Women’s Movement has matured to become a movement for the very future of humanity. Together we can energize and electrify a global movement for change. We need to get ourselves in the driver’s seat. That time is now.
These are the times that is calling each of us to walk a heroic path. To find out what we’re made of. If ever there was time to find the courage to stand up for what we believe in, this is it.
The power of music will bring the heartbeat of the world together in a global campfire to show we care and to share our common humanity, something we desperately need now. In summation, we have a powerful Global Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative that offers innovative globe-spanning philanthropy that can help make serious global impact.
Will you join me in answering the call? We have the dream and the team. The future is in our hands.
With warmest regards,
ABOUT LILI FOURNIER
THE POWER OF PASSION AND PERSEVERANCE
Lili Fournier produced, directed and hosted the award-winning Quest which aired on PBS for over a decade. She played a leading role in pioneering the Human Potential movement on broadcast TV. See the Quest. The shows successfully raised millions of dollars for their fund-raising Pledge drives to support public television.
The Quest was viewed by millions of people in the U.S. and on six Canadian Networks and on cable TV in Europe. See excerpt of Lili’s last PBS pledge show. It took her years of effort and commitment to get her first show on the air, “Discovering Your Human Potential”, which featured an unprecedented gathering of influential thought leaders from Stephen Covey to Deepak Chopra. The mind-body-spirit paradigm was seen as way out there. Clearly, it is now part of our cultural paradigm we wouldn’t think to question.
Lili’s Quest help spearhead spiritual programming on broadcast TV. It was the only show along with Wayne Dyer’s that got 3-5 hour Broadcast blocks for Pledge drives and was often chosen for repeats as the People’s Choice. The Quest was chosen by Chiat Day, (Apple’s Think Different Campaign) in its vanguard study on mega trends in America, (in which they cited Spirituality) as the best personal growth product in the U.S. marketplace. It was the top selling video off the air amongst any network in Canada. See Quest.
Women of Wisdom and Power aired prime time in 28 of the top 30 markets across the U.S. They featured an unprecedented gathering of extraordinary women including Jane Goodall, Gloria Steinem, Alanis Morissette, Shirley MacLaine, Eric Jong, et al. With these shows, Lili helped put International Women’s Day on the map in North America, which was not well known at the time.
The shows received a sensational response from women across the country. This was before email was big. Women said they were electrified. That the shows helped change their lives.
The World March of Women marched in 159 countries in 2000 and it barely made the news. They marched worldwide again in 2005, and it did not make the news at all. Lili had personally gotten up and down planes to meet with all the major news networks to ensure they knew and would put it on the airwaves.
She was outraged and heartbroken. How could something so significant, like the World March of Women happen for women around the world, and no one even knew it happened. The only way to reconcile her anger was to commit to create the biggest global gathering of women in world history to have women’s voices ring out around the world.
She realized that WDL could be a powerful catalyst for change and that she had to ignite unprecedented investment in the future of women to give women and girls the tools and resources they need to survive and thrive. So they know they are worthy of their dreams. We have to entirely change our paradigm of what we think is possible for us. Most of us cannot do it on our own.
She committed to work every day to bring her vision into reality until the day she dies. This is the defining moment for us to implement this bold and ambitious global effort.
Recently, Lili has received numerous email requests from avid Quest fans to make the Quest available. They feel it is a great source of inspiration and strength that could benefit people during these challenging and trying times.
As such, she is preparing to release the original Quest specials and is preparing to launch the new Hero Quest reality series and Hero Quest Nation platform.
In the Native American tradition, “the warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children - the future of humanity.” – Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the beloved Patron of Women’s Day Live, was a man of great wisdom and generosity of spirit. He said that he and his friend the Dalai Lama believe that the world will be saved by women. He invited us to make this humanity’s finest hour.
"Make this Humanity’s Finest Hour”. -Patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu