During the 2005 Forum of Young Global Leaders, John Hope Bryant sat down with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of the University of Art and Design Helsinki and Oxford University. The topic of their conversation was something even more basic than financial literacy and economic justice: it was the concept of universal human dignity.
Each felt that our world was on the verge of a great opportunity for change. But to make it happen would require a fundamental shift in the attitudes, actions, and public policies supported by government figures at every level—toward assuring the dignity of each human being under their leadership.
The concept of global dignity includes the following five principles:
Every human being has a right to lead a dignified life.
A dignified life means an opportunity to fulfill one’s potential, which is based on having a human level of health care, education, income and security.
Dignity means having the freedom to make decisions on one’s life and to be met with respect for this right.
Dignity should be the basic guiding principle for all actions.
Ultimately, our own dignity is interdependent with the dignity of others.
Global Dignity is an autonomous nonprofit—and an international movement—working to promote the five principles of global dignity by creating a conversation on the issues, promoting dignity-based leadership, and introducing the concept of human dignity to youth all over the world.
Every year on October 20, Global Dignity Day, volunteers bring “A Course in Dignity” to classrooms worldwide. On the first Global Dignity Day in 2008 schools in more than 20 countries participated. The initiative’s reach has since broadened to include schools in 50 countries, and our Global Dignity Day volunteer instructors have included Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan and Archbishop-Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa.