Global Dignity Day

On Wednesday of this week, young people across the globe came together for Global Dignity Day, a worldwide conversation in promotion of dignity-based leadership. The event was first developed in 2008, and each year the program reaches over 350,000 students from the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. The idea is to create a platform for young people to connect with their peers to share stories and to collectively build a better world.

This year, Pittsburgh put their own spin on Global Dignity Day! On October 16, students gathered at Barrett Elementary School in Homestead to discuss the topics of dignity and respect with their peers. Over 1,300 students in grades 3-6, across 18 schools in southwestern Pennsylvania, including one school in Northern Ireland, participated in a videoconference and live webcast moderated by Ken Rice, KDKA-TV news anchor. The students were led in conversation by special guest Charlie Batch, former Steelers quarterback. Mr Batch also serves as the national spokesperson for UPMC’s Dignity and Respect Campaign for Youth. Students shared stories on how bullying has impacted their lives, and discussed ways their schools have implemented more respectful practices. The program was coordinated in partnership with AIU3, Allegheny County Department of Human Services, the Best of the Batch Foundation, South Fayette School District, Tuscarora Intermediate Unit, UPMC, Vibrant Pittsburgh, and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.

For more information on Pittsburgh’s Global Dignity Day, check out the local CBS news’ overview of the program. You can also watch the archived video of Wednesday’s event, here.

Students at Barrett Elementary School
Pose for a Picture with Charlie Batch on Global Dignity Day

The international dignity movement, was created by Global Dignity, a non-political, independent organization first established in 2006 by Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Operation HOPE founder John Hope Bryant, and Professor Pekka Himanen. Global Dignity advocates five key dignity principles:

  1. Every human being has a right to lead a dignified life.
  2. A dignified life means an opportunity to fulfill one’s potential, which is based on having a humane level of health care, education, income, and security.
  3. Dignity means having the freedom to make decisions on one’s life and to be met with respect for this right.
  4. Dignity should be the basic guiding principles for all actions.
  5. Ultimately, our own dignity is interdependent with the dignity of others.

If you are interested in bringing a Global Dignity Day celebration to your school or community, the Global Dignity website offers a variety of teaching tools for educators. Resources include teaching guides, instructional videos and promotional materials.

By Ciara O’Connor, World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh Intern