Our Story | Global Dignity

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Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world participate in Global Dignity Day each year. Learn more about this annual celebration of all that unites us!

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Explore our learning experiences, curriculum ideas, toolkits and other resources to help you organize Dignity Workshops or Global Dignity Day events in classrooms, refugee camps, community and youth centers, or anywhere in between.

Teaching Tools

We work in more than 80 countries around the world. To find the Global Dignity Chapter in your country, please select the button below.

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Join us in building a world where understanding, compassion and love triumph!

Take The Pledge

Global Dignity began in one classroom with 30 students in 2006. Last year, over 1.1 million young people across more than 80 countries participated in Global Dignity activities last year. Be part of our growing movement by volunteering in your country.

Volunteer

Your support at any level will help even more young people discover their own unique value, see the inherent dignity in every person they meet, and put dignity into action in their communities.

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We welcome any individual or organization to align their events and activities with our Dignity Principles. Find out more about joining our Affiliate program.

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Global Dignity partners with numerous organizations that share our commitment to the dignity values and principles. Learn more about our current Partner Organizations, or contact us about becoming a Partner.

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Our Mission

To unite everyone with the belief that we all deserve to live a life of dignity.

From 30 students in a single classroom in 2006 to

1.1 million young people in more than 80 countries in 2019

We invite you to learn more about our founding, leadership and impact around the world.

Dignity Principles

Our work is guided by a simple set of principles, that every person:

1

Has the right to pursue their purpose and meaning in life, and to reach their full potential.

2

Deserves to live in societies that provide humane access to education, health, income and security.

3

Has their life, identity and beliefs respected by others.

4

Has the responsibility to create the conditions for others to fulfill their potential, acting to strengthen the dignity of others, building a foundation of freedom, justice and peace for this, and future generations.

5

Believes that dignity in action means standing up against injustice, intolerance and inequality.

October 21, 2011 Helsinki, Finland

Archbishop Desmond Tutu | Global Dignity Day

Archbishop Desmond Tutu reflects on the difference every young person can make in order to build a world where understanding, compassion and love triumph over intolerance, inequality and injustice.

October 21, 2011 Helsinki, Finland

Archbishop Desmond Tutu | Global Dignity Day

Archbishop Desmond Tutu reflects on the difference every young person can make in order to build a world where understanding, compassion and love triumph over intolerance, inequality and injustice.

What We Believe

What Is Dignity

Dignity is a feeling in your core.
A belief in your own worth.
A belief in the worth of others.
With dignity, we lead lives of hope and optimism and compassion,
Guided by a universal ethical compass.

Dignity is the belief that our basic humanity
Is shared with every other person on this planet.

Our Call To Action

A life of dignity means you are as valuable and important,
worthy and wanted, as any other human being.
It means, fundamentally, that you matter.

And when you believe you matter, then you know
That your voice matters,
Your relationships matter,
And your actions matter.

You have the confidence to act.

You know you will make a positive impact,
That you will work with others
To transform your community -- and the world,
Into one where understanding, compassion and love triumph.
You become a changemaker,
Or what we call a dignity-centered leader.

Our History

In 2006, three Young Global Leaders began a conversation at the World Economic Forum about how polarized the world felt.

So much divides us. Politics. Religion. Race. Borders. These divisions fuel hatred, conflict, war, intolerance and injustice. But everyone, everywhere, has the yearning to be understood, to be valued and recognized, to be able to fulfill their dreams and potential in life. This is universal and true for each one of us.

Determined to unite more people in the belief that everyone deserves to live a life of dignity, these young leaders — Crown Prince Haakon of Norway; John Bryant, CEO and Founder of Operation HOPE; and Pekka Himanen, author and philosopher — wrote the Founding Principles for a new nonprofit organization, Global Dignity. Muhammad Ali was the first person to sign on.

“We grew up in such vastly different communities and circumstances. Finland and Norway, and the notorious neighborhood of Compton in Los Angeles. As we looked back at our youth, each of us wished that we had been given access to this powerful ethical compass much earlier in life.” Pekka Himanen

At the 2009 World Economic Forum the Founders held the first Global Dignity Day in a Swiss school, leading a dignity workshop in just one classroom. Archbishop Desmond Tutu left the Forum to join them in the school, and when Sir Richard Branson and musician Peter Gabriel saw Archbishop Tutu leaving the conference, they joined too.

And that is the story of how Global Dignity was founded. From that one classroom of students in 2006, we now work in over 80 countries. In 2019, over 1.1 million young people and civil society leaders, volunteer facilitators, parents and teachers participated in Global Dignity workshops, forums, events and initiatives.

Highlights

Since 2006 Global Dignity has been working to instill a deeper understanding of the values behind the meaning of dignity and to support dignity-centered leaders active in their communities around the world.

2006

The idea of Global Dignity, born out of the 2005 World Economic Forum inaugural meeting of the Young Global Leaders, is developed into action in both Davos and Oslo. Muhammad Ali and others signed the “Dignity Principles.”

The idea of Global Dignity, born out of the 2005 World Economic Forum inaugural meeting of the Young Global Leaders, is developed into action in both Davos and Oslo. Muhammad Ali and others signed the “Dignity Principles.”

2009

Global Dignity Day is celebrated in just one school with 120 students in Davos, Switzerland during the World Economic Forum. Bishop Desmond Tutu, Sir Richard Branson and Ambassador Andrew Young joined our Honorary Board. Muhammad Ali and others signed the Dignity Principles. Peter Gabriel sang to students and teachers during the Dignity Workshop, beginning our effort to engage artists at the global and local levels.

Global Dignity Day is celebrated in just one school with 120 students in Davos, Switzerland during the World Economic Forum. Bishop Desmond Tutu, Sir Richard Branson and Ambassador Andrew Young joined our Honorary Board. Muhammad Ali and others signed the Dignity Principles. Peter Gabriel sang to students and teachers during the Dignity Workshop, beginning our effort to engage artists at the global and local levels.

2010

We expanded to over 30 countries, reaching over 6,000 young people through Global Dignity Day.

We expanded to over 30 countries, reaching over 6,000 young people through Global Dignity Day.

2011

The first Global Dignity Forum was organized in Finland with over 1,000 participants and keynote speeches by Bishop Desmond Tutu and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari. Amartya Sen joined the Honorary Board. Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics wrote the “Dignity Song,” performed live on stage by NadirahX, continuing our efforts to engage artists, musicians and creativity in everything we do.

The first Global Dignity Forum was organized in Finland with over 1,000 participants and keynote speeches by Bishop Desmond Tutu and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari. Amartya Sen joined the Honorary Board. Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics wrote the “Dignity Song,” performed live on stage by NadirahX, continuing our efforts to engage artists, musicians and creativity in everything we do.

2014

Global Dignity recruited 46 Country Chairs and five NGO’s as Partner Organizations, reaching over 300,000 young people in 2014. Local chapters expanded their work into schools and communities beyond Global Dignity Day, including in refugee camps and communities working with young people incarcerated in prison.

Global Dignity recruited 46 Country Chairs and five NGO’s as Partner Organizations, reaching over 300,000 young people in 2014. Local chapters expanded their work into schools and communities beyond Global Dignity Day, including in refugee camps and communities working with young people incarcerated in prison.

2015

Global Dignity received its first major grant of $300,000 from the Angelica Fuentes Foundation.

Global Dignity received its first major grant of $300,000 from the Angelica Fuentes Foundation.

2016

Global Dignity Day is celebrated in 70 + countries around the world, reaching over 480,000 young people. Many Countries and Partner Organizations expand the Workshops and Learning Experiences year round and begin conversations about “scale” and impact with education leaders and networks of schools.

Global Dignity Day is celebrated in 70 + countries around the world, reaching over 480,000 young people. Many Countries and Partner Organizations expand the Workshops and Learning Experiences year round and begin conversations about “scale” and impact with education leaders and networks of schools.

2017

Global Dignity expands the founding Board and hires its first Executive Director, opening its home office in New York City. More than 680,000 young people engaged in Global Dignity Day and dignity workshops and forums throughout the year.

Global Dignity expands the founding Board and hires its first Executive Director, opening its home office in New York City. More than 680,000 young people engaged in Global Dignity Day and dignity workshops and forums throughout the year.

2018

We launched the “Teaching Dignity” curriculum with more than 50 learning experiences to help children, young people, or people of any age understand the principles and power of dignity. 862,965 people around the world were engaged through Global Dignity Day and year-round Dignity Workshops, bringing the total number of people Global Dignity has reached to 2.4 million. Six new Partner Organizations signed on, increasing the organization’s reach by tens of thousands.

We launched the “Teaching Dignity” curriculum with more than 50 learning experiences to help children, young people, or people of any age understand the principles and power of dignity. 862,965 people around the world were engaged through Global Dignity Day and year-round Dignity Workshops, bringing the total number of people Global Dignity has reached to 2.4 million. Six new Partner Organizations signed on, increasing the organization’s reach by tens of thousands.

2019

Our leadership network expanded to 80 countries and we engaged 1.1 million young people around the world. The launch of our Affiliate Program and new digital toolkits encourage anyone, anywhere to hold a Global Dignity Day event or dignity workshop in their community.

Our leadership network expanded to 80 countries and we engaged 1.1 million young people around the world. The launch of our Affiliate Program and new digital toolkits encourage anyone, anywhere to hold a Global Dignity Day event or dignity workshop in their community.

October 21, 2011 Helsinki, Finland

Nadirah X | Dignity Song

Nadirah X performs during a Global Dignity Day celebration in Helsinki, Finland.

October 21, 2011 Helsinki, Finland

Nadirah X | Dignity Song

Nadirah X performs during a Global Dignity Day celebration in Helsinki, Finland.