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CNN Heroes: Meet the Blue Ribbon Panel

  • Story Highlights
  • Blue Ribbon Panel of leaders and humanitarians chose Top 10 CNN Heroes
  • "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" will show stories of this year's honorees
  • Anderson Cooper will host the global telecast on Thanksgiving, 9 p.m. ET
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(CNN) -- The selection of 2008's Top 10 CNN Heroes was made by a Blue Ribbon Panel of distinguished leaders and humanitarians. All of our judges are themselves heroes to others through their continuing commitment to public service.

CNN will share the remarkable stories of this year's honorees during "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," a global telecast from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California, hosted by CNN's Anderson Cooper.

The show will air worldwide on the global networks of CNN on Thanksgiving night, November 27 at 9 p.m. ET. Video Watch more about the Blue Ribbon Panel »

Meet the members of the Blue Ribbon Panel:

Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan, ambassador, advocate and writer
Her Majesty Queen Rania is at the forefront of initiatives in Jordan aimed at enhancing the well-being of children and families, and empowering women through microfinance. She serves on the board of directors for many global foundations and launched "Madrasati" (My School), an initiative to refurbish Jordan's public schools. Her cause

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Radio and TV host, author, speaker and scholar
Considered an influential voice on religion, relationships, pop culture and politics, Rabbi Shmuley hosts a daily national program on Oprah & Friends satellite radio. He is the founder and chair of This World: The Jewish Values Network, which promotes mainstream Jewish values in American culture through media and the arts. His cause

Sir Richard Branson, Entrepreneur, humanitarian and adventurer
Branson is the founder and president of Virgin Group and the founder of Virgin Unite, the company's nonprofit entrepreneurial foundation, which works with global partners to develop innovative, long-term solutions to social and environmental problems. He is also one of the founders and supporters of The Elders. His cause

Deepak Chopra, Doctor, philosopher, author and speaker
Chopra, considered a leader in mind-body medicine, founded the Chopra Center for Well Being and is president of The Alliance for a New Humanity. Its mission is to help promote compassionate humanity and create and connect global communities of personal and social transformation. (Photo: Jeremiah Sullivan) His cause

Jane Goodall, Primatologist, environmentalist, speaker and author
Goodall founded the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977 to continue her landmark research of chimpanzee behavior. Today, the institute is a leader in chimpanzee protection and is recognized for its community-centered conservation programs and global youth network. (Photo: Greg Schaler) Her cause

Franklin Graham, Humanitarian and evangelist
Graham, the eldest son of evangelist Billy Graham, is president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse. Under his leadership, Samaritan's Purse has helped provide assistance to victims of war, famine, poverty, natural disasters and disease in more than 100 countries. His cause

Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Philanthropist and entrepreneur
Johnson is founder and chairman of the Magic Johnson Foundation, which develops and supports programs that address the needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities, including those focusing on HIV/AIDS education and prevention, college scholarships and community empowerment. His cause

George Lopez, Comedian, actor, and humanitarian
Lopez is considered one of today's premier comedic talents and has been recognized as one of the most influential Hispanics in America. As a kidney transplant recipient, he is a spokesman for the National Kidney Foundation, raising awareness about the need for early detection for kidney disease and the importance of organ donation. His cause

Holly Robinson Peete, Actress, author, activist and philanthropist
Robinson Peete and her husband, former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, co-founded the HollyRod Foundation in honor of her father, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at a young age. The foundation helps provide medical, physical and emotional support to people with Parkinson's and other debilitating life circumstances. Her cause

Jeffrey Sachs, International economic adviser, professor, lecturer and author
A leading voice for combining economic development with environmental sustainability, Jeffrey Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Special Adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and president and co-founder of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization aimed at ending extreme poverty worldwide. His cause


Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner, activist and author
A global voice for social justice and reconciliation, Tutu has garnered many honorary degrees and awards, including the Order for Meritorious Service Award from former South African President Nelson Mandela. He co-founded the Desmond Tutu Peace Trust, which aims to establish the Peace Centre in Cape Town, South Africa. His cause

Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic gold medalist, humanitarian and author
Yamaguchi is an accomplished athlete who started the Always Dream Foundation. Its purpose is to inspire and embrace the hopes and dreams of children. Named for a motto that served as her personal inspiration, the foundation supports programs that have a positive influence on children of all abilities. Her cause

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