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Harry and Meghan make surprise phone calls to young leaders in the US

Royal couple congratulated the recipients of the first-ever Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund grants

Olivia Petter
Wednesday 02 August 2023 15:45 BST

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have surprised a group of young leaders in the tech world with personal congratulatory phone calls, thanking them for their work.

On Wednesday (2 August), it was announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had personally called several recipients of the first-ever Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund grants.

On its website, the organisation describes its offering as “a first of its kind philanthropic initiative aimed at supporting youth and intergenerationally led organisations shaping the responsible technology movement”.

It adds that the Fund has already raised US$2m (£1.5m) from 14 funders and is awarding amounts ranging from $25,000 (£19,000) to $200,000 (£157,000) — based on the stage of the organization and funding needs.

The responsible technology movement, it goes on, is about “building, shaping, and stewarding our tech ecosystem to safeguard human rights” as well as “mitigating the harmful impacts of technology in communities”.

A handful of those who spoke to the royal couple shared their experiences with People magazine.

“They congratulated me; they said they were really proud of the work that we’re doing here at Cyber Collective,” said Tazin Khan Norelius, founder and CEO of Cyber Collective.

According to Norelius, Meghan also asked to offer her greetings to her father, who inspired the company that she launched.

“She said, ‘Tell Baba I say hi!’ Which was really sweet,” she said. “The impetus of me starting this organization, one of the reasons was because Dad got hacked.

“When I was able to share that story, I think that maybe resonated with them, and they congratulated me. When I told my dad, he was just so excited about it.”

Meanwhile, Sam Hiner, executive director of the Young People’s Alliance Education Fund, also received a call from Harry and Meghan.

“What I appreciated is that sometimes it feels like we’re not as recognised for the advocacy we do as young people,” he said.

“I really appreciated that they saw the importance of the work that we were doing and were speaking to the importance of young people getting engaged in the democratic process.”

Hiner continued: “More broadly, connecting it back to how important it is for our democracy that young people are engaged, because if our next generation doesn’t get engaged then we’re going to have serious issues as we start to move into leadership positions as a generation.”

A video of the couple calling various receipients has been posted on the Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund website.

In it, the couple is seen huddled over a phone on a bench in a grass-covered setting, speaking to various recipients.

During one call, Harry referenced their children, Archie, four, and Lilibet, two, saying: “Thank you for doing everything that you do. Our kids especially are incredibly grateful.”

Meghan then followed up with: “They don’t know it yet, but they will!”

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