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Inspired by Elie Wiesel: A Journey of Compassion and Advocacy

Elie Wiesel at World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2008 at session entitled “Believing in the Future.” Photo: World Economic Forum

Elie Wiesel’s novels are more than literary achievements; they are beacons of hope and resilience that have profoundly influenced my life and work. By bearing witness to the atrocities of the past and the triumph of the human spirit, Wiesel has inspired countless individuals to strive for a more just and compassionate world.

New York, N.Y. In high school, I embarked on a literary journey that profoundly shaped my worldview and life’s mission. I collected and read as many novels written by Elie Wiesel [Luce Index score: 97] as I could: Dawn, The Forgotten, The Town Beyond the Wall, Twilight, Day, A Beggar in Jerusalem, The Gates of the Forest, The Oath. These books, still proudly displayed on my living room shelf, became a cornerstone of my understanding of humanity, resilience, and the eternal struggle between good and evil.

Elie Wiesel’s works are not merely stories; they are profound reflections on the human condition, imbued with his personal experiences of suffering and survival during the Holocaust. Through his narratives, Wiesel exposes the depths of human cruelty and the endurance of the human spirit. Reading these novels allowed me to grasp the reality of evil in the world, a stark contrast to the idealism of youth. Yet, amid the darkness, Wiesel’s stories also illuminated the resilience of goodness, the possibility of redemption, and the power of hope.

With Eli Wiesel and friends at a dinner at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.

This duality of darkness and light in Wiesel’s writing deeply influenced my perspective on life and humanity. His works underscored the importance of remembering and bearing witness, not just to honor the past but to ensure a more compassionate future. This understanding was pivotal in steering my dedication to uplifting humanity, leading to the founding of Orphans International Worldwide and the James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation. Both organizations are committed to the welfare and education of vulnerable populations, aiming to foster global citizens who are both compassionate and empowered.

The opportunity to meet Elie Wiesel at a dinner at the 92nd Street Y in New York City was one of the most profound moments of my life. I was honored to share with him how his works had impacted me personally and shaped my endeavors. In our brief conversation, I felt the weight of his experiences and the depth of his wisdom. Wiesel’s gentle demeanor and profound insights reinforced my commitment to humanitarian work. His life and writings exemplify the power of storytelling to inspire action and empathy, teaching us that despite the prevalence of evil, goodness can and does prevail.

Wiesel’s impact on my life is not just a personal narrative; it is a testament to the transformative power of literature and the enduring influence of a single individual’s courage and resilience. His novels are a call to action, urging readers to confront injustice, remember the past, and work tirelessly for a better future. This call resonated deeply with me, driving the mission and vision of the organizations I founded.

Orphans International Worldwide aims to support and nurture children who have lost their parents, providing them with the tools and opportunities to lead fulfilling lives. Similarly, the J. Luce Foundation focuses on educational and leadership initiatives, empowering young people to become compassionate and effective leaders. These efforts are grounded in the belief that every individual has the potential to contribute positively to society, a belief that was significantly shaped by Wiesel’s writings.

When I read about Elie Wiesel attending the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in 2008, at a session entitled “Believing in the Future,” I was reminded of Wiesel’s enduring legacy. The discussions on global challenges and the future of humanity echoed the themes of hope and resilience that permeate his novels. It was a powerful affirmation of the interconnectedness of our work and the importance of continuing to believe in and work towards a better future.

Elie Wiesel’s impact on my life, both through his writings and our brief meeting, continues to guide my efforts to uplift humanity and foster global compassion. Through Orphans International Worldwide and the J. Luce Foundation, I strive to honor his legacy by promoting education, empowerment, and empathy among those most in need.

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Inspired by Elie Wiesel: A Journey of Compassion and Advocacy (May 26, 2024)

Jim Luce
Jim Luce
Raising, Supporting & Educating Young Global Leaders through Orphans International Worldwide (, the J. Luce Foundation (, and The Stewardship Report ( Jim is also founder and president of the New York Global Leaders Lions Club.


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