From a discussion at the World Economic Forum to a international organisation, here is how Global Dignity is shaping the world.
More than a decade ago, in 2006, three Young Global Leaders began a conversation at the World Economic Forum about how polarised the world was.
Today, honouring their significant contribution, Youth Time highlights the gift they gave us- the founding of Global Dignity – a non-profit organisation building a world where the dignity of every person is recognised and honoured.
They thought so much divides us: politics, religion, race, borders. These divisions fuel hatred, war, intolerance and injustice.
They believed everyone everywhere has the yearning to be understood, to be valued and recognised, to fulfil their dreams and potential in life.
This is universal and true for each one of us, they thought, and were determined to unite more people in the belief that everyone deserves to live a life of dignity.
These young leaders were Crown Prince Haakon of Norway; John Bryant, CEO and Founder of Operation HOPE; and Pekka Himanen, author and philosopher.
By now, most probably you are wondering how great the organisation is doing nowadays, so, read on and learn more from Alanna O’Donnell, Global Dignity’s Home Office Director, in this exclusive Youth Time article.
The Synonym of Growth
Looking back at the 2009 World Economic Forum, when the Founders held the first Global Dignity Day in a Swiss school, they were leading a dignity workshop in just one classroom.
From that one classroom of students in 2009, the organisation grew to involve more and more volunteer leaders around the world who wanted to make an impact and spread this powerful notion of dignity in their own communities.
“Although Global Dignity now works in over 80 countries, all the work continues to be done by an incredible community of volunteer leaders,” O’Donnell elaborates.
Currently, Global Dignity Day (the third Wednesday of October) continues to be an annual flagship celebration, she further adds.
The Synonym of Human Desire
Building a successful road and leaving a valuable testimony, most leaders have expanded their Global Dignity work to be year-round.
This success did not happen in the blink of an eye, and challenges were part of the journey.
O’Donnell considers “the universal human desire for connection”, as the biggest factor in their success.
“There are so many people who want to live in a world of understanding, inclusion and peace.
We offer teaching and learning resources to help empower people to recognise their own inherent dignity and respect the equal worth of all others.”, she asserts.
Global Dignity believes, she goes on, that this is the foundation for building cultures of dignity in our schools, communities and workplaces.
We need understanding and harmony more than ever these days when we are all being challenged by the pandemic COVID-19.
Despite the obstacles, and with close to one billion children and young people out of school for many months during the pandemic, Global Dignity had a great response to the pandemic- creating the Unite Kindness campaign to encourage them to take care of themselves and to take care of others.
“Being kind – to yourself and to others – is one way of honouring our dignity and worth.”, O’Donnell says, while adding the following:
“During a time of such anxiety, stress and fear for young people, we felt it was more important than ever for children and young people to know they have the power to be kind, to express themselves, and to feel a sense of physical and emotional wellbeing.”
“Unite Kindness encourages young people, and people of all ages, to be kind to themselves through art and creativity, or by taking care of their physical and emotional wellbeing; and to be kind to others through simple actions for family, friends or neighbours.”
Please click HERE for more on #UniteKindness Campaign
In addition, through their Teaching Dignity initiative, they offer a variety of learning experiences for ages 5-9 and 10+ to explore what dignity is, why it matters, and how they can put it into action.
These free resources in English, Spanish, Arabic and French are available HERE.
“Anyone can use them [the resources] to organise a Dignity Workshop in a classroom, community or youth group, refugee community, or anywhere in between.”
Furthermore, Global Dignity’s newest initiative, Dignity in the Workplace, acknowledges the critical role companies and organisations play in setting or changing cultures.
“Leaders who understand and promote dignity are crucial to achieving equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond.
“Global Dignity is currently piloting an approach to instilling the dignity principles within organisations through community engagement.”
Youth as ChangeMakers
Acknowledging that we here at Youth Time are a platform run by young people and for young people around the globe, O’Donnell concludes by recalling that young people have the energy, imagination, resilience and fearlessness to create change in their communities.
“They are already transforming our world into a more sustainable, inclusive place. We invite them to learn more about dignity and how it is key to cutting through division, injustice and inequity.”
Young people can also take the Dignity Pledge to voice their commitment for honouring the inherent value of all people at globaldignity.org/pledge.
Now that you are aware how great Global Dignity is doing and about their crucial contribution in improving communities, stay tuned for more of their events happening soon, by liking their Facebook page.
Alanna is a firm believer in the dignity and potential of every person.
In her role as Global Dignity’s Home Office Director, she supports the organisation’s dynamic leadership network working in 80 nations.
Prior to joining Global Dignity, Alanna was Director of Brand Communications for The Doe Fund, a New York City-based non-profit providing support and opportunity to men who are formerly incarcerated or homeless.
Alanna is incredibly grateful for the chance to work with and learn from such accomplished, dedicated dignity leaders at Global Dignity.
From Global Dignity to Global Giving, another amazing initiative helping young people around the world.
All your donations will be used to pay the magazine’s journalists and to support the ongoing costs of maintaining the site.