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Intervention: Ideas for Action for Dignity
Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS) is primarily grounded in academic work. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." We therefore welcome both, like-minded academicians and practitioners into our network. Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice."
Apartheid as a legal institution has been dismantled in South Africa, however, humiliating structures still are widespread, everywhere around the world, globally and locally, at macro and micro levels, as part of societal institutions, public politicies, cultural practices, social relations, and psychological scripts. This needs to be addressed. We, HumanDHS, as a global network of academics and practitioners, wish to do that. This HumanDHS Intervention section is designed to serve as a platform for interested people to develop projects that translate the vision of a more dignified world into action.
The list of ideas that you see on this section was first devised in 2003. Since then, we warmly invite everybody who is interested to become a Coordinator/Director for one of our various Intervention ideas, and/or develop your own ideas (please note that our HumanDHS definition of a coordinator is different as compared to mainstream definitions - please read more here). When you browse this section you will see that some ideas have "caught on," while others have stayed more or less dormant.
Since 2003, the digital tool kit has vastly evolved. The collection of ideas for dignifying projects and interventions that you see here is meant to serve as an inspiration for you to use whatever tool you are familiar with. Please see, for example, our Dignity Beyond the Human World project directed by Arran Stibbe. Arran made a mirror page from which he develops his project. The HumanDHS network as a whole, including its Intervention section could be seen as a tree that nurtures many branches. The aim is that many people use our Intervention section as a starting point for projects, making their own mirror pages (through WordPress, for example), so that our network nurtures concrete projects!
Our ultimate aim is to combine our over-arching network character with concrete sub-projects. As a global network, we do not engage in activities as an organization. Instead, we wish to develop our global network and website as a platform for opportunities for whoever resonates with our vision and desires to contribute to bringing it to life. In the spirit of this vision, we hope to nurture an organic growth of our ideas for Intervention activities, by inspiring the creativity, passion, and dedication of our members. Please read our call for creativity and read more about the rationale behind our intervention ideas. We thank Vegard Jordanger for making us aware of Frederic Laloux's work on Reinventing Organizations (2014).
The broader aim of HumanDHS intervention projects is to increase awareness of the traps of humiliation and how to avoid and prevent them in civil society, the corporate sector, and governments. Academicians and practitioners are welcome to devise projects that address effects of humiliation. Also the corporate sector is invited to contribute. Business activities may be attached to the academic program so as to feed back into research and education, see for example our World Clothes for Equal Dignity project. The aim is to forge a network that knits together academia and practice in ways that prevent and heal humiliation and instead promote equal dignity at all levels and in all segments of society, locally and globally.
As the 2008 economic meltdown showed beyond doubt, as the ongoing climate crisis brings to the forefront continuously, and as the consequences of our ecological overshoot become ever more visible, business practices around the world are in need of being dignified. Current practices tend to have degrading and humiliating effects on the human socio- and biosphere.
We, as Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS) network, wish to contribute to this effort. Several of our ideas aim at developing new ways of transcending contemporary business practices.
We usually begin by asking how a field of activity, for instance, that of fashion, or of design, art, architecture, and so forth, can be dignified and how this can be done in ways that also dignify the very business practices that are applied in the process. To take clothes as an example, we begin our analysis with the observation that the diversity of human cultural styles is not very visible in contemporary daily worn clothes. On the contrary, fashion is dominated by a few centers in the West, and imitated around the world. When we look around today, we all wear more or less the same clothes, Western clothes.
We would like to contribute to changing this situation. To continue with the example of clothing, we, as HumanDHS, believe that cultural diversity should receive more respect and attention, which means that the diverse cultural heritages in clothing that we find around the globe should be valued more and made more visible in daily wear. At the current juncture in history, traditional clothes are typically worn only to festive occasions. We wish to integrate this heritage into future-orientated innovative and creative design for daily use.
The clothes project has been of special interest to Evelin Lindner. Starting about forty years ago, she began developing a collection of clothes that combines materials and styles from different cultures in original ways, thus giving dignity and visibility to the diversity of human clothing styles and embodying cross-cultural fertilization. It is envisioned to find a director/coordinator to develop this project and give away these clothes for donations. The donations will then be fed into the activities of HumanDHS, particularly into research carried out by HumanDHS members (such as the funding of scholarships for doctoral students who study dignity and humiliation). We furthermore think about how these products can be promoted in ways that reflect our values. For example, we envision to connect the producer of a product with the buyer as persons, thus dignifying the process of production and nurturing global connections. In addition we hope to be able to offer our products together with information material about personal cases where humiliation has been diminished and dignity increased.
To conclude, our plan is to perform a full circle: We start out from the idea of equality in dignity for all, then we develop products or solutions that express this idea, and we promote these products and solutions in ways that express our values. Finally we close the circle by having the revenue feed back into research on the idea. In that way we envision to serve the overall aim of our work, namely, to promote dignifying approaches in interpersonal, intergroup, and international relations so as to increase our sense of shared humanity, global community, and joint global responsibility.
Please note: Please note also that this HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers, since 2003, and mainly by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into the Links sections of each project page, since July 2012, she also tagged interesting information here. The views expressed on this website, as in any of the HumanDHS publications, do not represent any official HumanDHS position. All HumanDHS publications present the views and research findings of the individual authors, with the aim of promoting the development of ideas and discussion about major concerns of human dignity and humiliation studies and related fields.
Human Security and Equal Dignity
The notion and concept of security is central to the way governments plan their policies. Traditionally, security is being approached from the angle of military strength or policing capabilities. However, the more the state-of-the-world is characterized by global interconnection, it is not so much military strength that counts anymore, but the willingness to cooperate, not just by states, but also by ordinary people. Thus, the HumanDHS vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, is intimately linked, both locally and globally, with the notion of human security.
Human Rights and Equal Dignity
The HumanDHS vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, is identical with the central human rights message. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 states that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."
Public Policy for Equal Dignity
To promote the HumanDHS vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, public policy planning is central, both locally and globally.
Millennium Goals/Sustainable Development Goals, Fair Trade, and Equal Dignity
More than six million children under the age of five died in 2013 (WHO), the majority from preventable diseases and malnutrition. Inequality is on the rise world-wide (see Wilkinson and Pickett, 2009, or Thomas Pickety, 2013).
The first paragraph of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, reads: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." Some conclude that it suffices to regard inequality as an expression of diversity, as an expression of the freedom that every individual possesses to choose their own path, in short, that regarding those at the bottom as human beings with equal dignity, whose lot is the result of their free choice, will solve the problem.
Indeed, when we speak here of equal dignity for all, the point is not the absence or presence of sameness or that everybody should become identical and uniform, the point is the absence or presence of the ranking of human worthiness. The problem arises when some people are regarded as inherently higher beings and others as inherently lesser beings. What is obscene, in a world that believes in the human rights ideals of equal dignity, is such ranking, not difference and diversity. Robert Fuller calls the abuse of the ideal of equal dignity rankism. Diversity and difference can, without a problem, go together with sameness of value and worthiness; there is no automatism that links diversity and difference to rankings. More even, sameness of worthiness is the only constructive context, within which difference can serve as diversity that enriches everybody. Being equally different is the path to dignity.
Yet, the previous sentences also expose that we cannot disengage from the problem of inequality that easily. What does it mean to "treat the poor as human beings with equal dignity"? Does it not mean to provide them with equal chances? Indeed, as soon as human rights are defined in this way, when "equal chances and enabling environments for all" are on the table, Lévinasian "caring for the other" is also on the table. Yet, again, it is not sameness that is called for, but enabling environments for all.
World Law for Equal Dignity
As to global law, we might describe the current situation as follows (Lindner, 2004): At the beginning of industrialization many entrepreneurs lived in luxury and workers suffered abominable conditions. Entrepreneurs' wives often engaged in charity. Those wives placed small band-aids on the large wounds their husbands had inflicted. At the national level, this situation has improved in some parts of the world. In a number of countries, national laws and institutions represent superordinate structures that offer living conditions to all citizens which are considerably more dignified than during earlier periods of industrialization. However, in other parts of the world, and, particularly at the global level, such superordinate structures of global laws and institutions are gravely wanting.
A Decent Global Society
Avishai Margalit wrote the book The Decent Society (1996), in which he calls for institutions that no longer humiliate their citizens. He posits that it is not sufficient to merely aspire to building just societies, decent societies should be implemented that do not entail humiliation. Humiliating living conditions are not only unjust; they are also obscene. Decency reigns when humiliation is minimized, particularly humiliation inflicted by institutions. Decency reigns when dignity for all is made possible.
World Democracy for Equal Dignity
"A Democracy Fund should be created at the UN to provide assistance to countries seeking to establish or strengthen their democracy." This were the words of then UN General-Secretary Kofi Annan in his March 2005 proposals for action.
Global Ethics for Equal Dignity
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 states that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." Global ethical norms are "not utopian. They are a realistic vision of hope," posits theologian Hans Küng (2004). Global ethical norms play out as injunctions and commitments, whereof the last is as follows: "Not to abuse sexuality, cheat, humiliate or dishonor, but to commit to a culture of partnership and equal dignity for men and women" (italics added).
Unity in Diversity
The HumanDHS fellowship wishes to promote global reflection on how we can design a new global culture. We suggest we need a new global culture that includes all dignifying aspects of traditional cultural practices from all cultural realms on the globe, be it from indigenous cultural practices, which are currently in grave danger, or from larger entities, such as the Japanese or Chinese or Egyptian cultural realms, many of which increasingly surrender to Western uniformity. We recommend, however, to refrain from including all those cultural practices that have damaging effects, all those that resemble, for instance, bygone Chinese foot binding. And it would furthermore be advisable, we believe, to refrain from including differences that are so irreconcilable that they split the common ground that humankind is in need of if all want to coexist on planet Earth. We commend using human rights as sifting tool to decide how to make these choices.
From Social Exclusion to Equal Dignity
Ruth Lister wrote (2004): "People living in poverty and their organisations should be empowered by involving them fully in the setting of targets, and in the design, implementation, monitoring and assessment of national strategies and programmes for poverty eradication and community-based development, and ensuring that such programmes reflect their priorities."
World Religions for Equal Dignity
"All of the world's main creeds sanction the humane treatment of each person and the observance of the Golden Rule. From these two principles stem core standards and values, which, if followed, will deliver the peace and justice the world dreams of and avoid the clash of civilizations that thinkers less optimistic than Küng have predicted," this we read in "Hopefull Realist Hans Küng Points Pathway to Global Ethics," in National Catholic Reporter, 2004.
World Leadership for Equal Dignity
To promote the HumanDHS vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, new forms of leadership have to be developed, both locally and globally.
World Business for Equal Dignity
To promote the HumanDHS vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, new approaches to business have to be developed, both locally and globally.
Dignity Beyond the Human World
Arran Stibbe wrote in 2004: "The framework of dignity and humiliation could be usefully applied to any situation where humans are basing their self-worth on subjugating another, whoever or whatever that other may be. Moving away from humiliation towards affirmation of dignity, in ever wider spheres, may provide the wellspring of healing for all concerned."
World Environment for Equal Dignity
Our HumanDHS network wishes to highlight to what extent environmental problems are interlinked with social problems. We believe that what is needed for a dignified social and ecological future for humankind, is a mindset of humility and not of humiliation.
World Health for Equal Dignity
Our HumanDHS network wishes to focus on cultural habits that strengthen dignity. The notion of human rights and its ideal of equal dignity for all calls for attention to the details of quality of life and public and personal health.
World Gender Relations for Equal Dignity
To promote the HumanDHS vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, new forms of gender relations have to be developed, both locally and globally.
World Relationships for Equal Dignity
Our World Relationships for Equal Dignity vision is part of our quest to build bridges from social science to other areas of life. We wish to envision novel ways for people around the world to build relationships across frontiers and learn from each other.
Children and Equal Dignity
The quality of relationships between generations, particularly with respect to the young, shows where a society stands. How we treat our children decides in which world we will live tomorrow. Preventing children's humiliation is paramount for a decent society (Avishai Margalit, 1996, The Decent Society, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press). The same is valid for all generations. The way to dignity for society is to value and nurture the creativity of children, adults, and people of age, who all can bring valuable contributions to social life.
Dignity for Persons with Disabilities
On December 13, 2006, the Plenary of the General Asssembly of the United Nations adopted by consensus the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the optional protocol. The Convention and the optional protocol will be open for signature by all States and by regional integration organizations at United Nations Headquarters in New York as of 30 March 2007. The convention recognizes that discrimination against any person on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity and worth of the human person.
The Concept of Humiliation and Equal Dignity
In Lindner's work, humiliation is a concept that is changing in the course of human history. Please see here Lindner's reflections.
Please see also Neil Altman's text Humiliation, Retaliation, and Violence, in Tikkun Magazine, January/February 2004.
Global Identity and Equal Dignity
Arne Næss, in our foundational conference in 2003, in Paris, emphasized his view that all human beings, without any exception, first and foremost are human beings. He explained how he invited people from prison into his philosophy class at university, so as to demonstrate to his students that "there are no muderers" - rather, "these are human beings, who have murdered."
Arie Nadler and Lindner were entertaining a discussion on identity, or, more precisely, on which kinds of personal and group identities would be beneficial for a peaceful world in the future, and which kinds of identities might be psychologically feasible. Lindner's metaphor for her personal idenity is the sunflower and the way it manifests unity in diversity by way of subsidiarity: the petals represent the diversity of her identity, her many cultural and personal connections that she has developed during her lifetime throughout the world, while at the core all diversity is brought together into her primary identity of being a fellow human being. Subsidiarity is expressed through the petals taking second place, while the core is first in importance.
Equal Dignity and Purity for All
Ohta Kyoji, Chief Curator of the Human Rights Museum in Osaka, Japan, in a personal conversation with Lindner (7th February 2005), explained how the idea of impurity and pollution is often linked to discrimination. In many parts of the world, people who are doing "cleaning" work, also if it is "spiritual cleaning" (certain types of entertainment), are perceived as being "polluted" by the "dirt" they clean away and they are then excluded from society.
Mary Douglas addresses these topics in her work, among others in Purity and Danger (1966, see a summary at www.bytrent.demon.co.uk).
Lindner got acquainted with this phenomenon in many places, in Cairo with the zabalin (see e.g. Unni Wikan's work on the Life Among the Poor in Cairo, Tavistock, 1980), or in Somalia with the so-called minorities, and, in 2004/5, in Japan, with the buraku.
Creativity Through Equal Dignity
People often ask whether it is "useful" to engage in a vision of equal dignity for all. Our response is that indeed, it is "useful." People who feel respected, who feel that they are treated in a dignified way, in a way that reflects a vision of equal dignity for all, feel more inclined to cooperate and offer their creativity in a cooperative spirit. People who feel humiliated are not motivated to cooperate with the humiliator. Under pressure, they will only offer a "minimum." Thus, in the case of a school or company, or any other social context, it is not "useful" to engage in humiliating pupils, or employees, or fellow human beings. Humiliated people might ponder as to how to invest their creativity in opposing the humiliator, rather than cooperating with him or her.
World Art for Equal Dignity
To promote the HumanDHS vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, art may contribute, locally and globally.
World Photography for Equal Dignity
To promote the HumanDHS vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, photography may contribute, locally and globally.
Performing Arts for Equal Dignity
To promote the HumanDHS vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, the performing arts may contribute, locally and globally.
World Clothes for Equal Dignity
The 2008 economic meltdown showed beyond doubt, and the ongoing climate crisis brings to the forefront continuously, that business practices around the world are in need of being dignified. Current practices tend to have humiliating effects on the world's socio- and biospheres.
We, as Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS) network, wish to contribute to ideas and projects that bring dignity into the world. Several of our ideas aim at developing new ways of transcending contemporary business practices.
We usually begin by asking how fields such as that of fashion, for example, or of design, art, architecture, and so forth, can be dignified and how this can be done in ways that also dignify the very business practices that are applied in the process. To take clothes as an example, we begin our analysis with the observation that the diversity of human cultural styles is not very visible in contemporary daily worn clothes. On the contrary, fashion is dominated by a few centers in the West, and imitated around the world. When we look around today, we all wear more or less the same clothes, Western-designed clothes produced in low-cost countries.
We would like to contribute to changing this situation. We, as HumanDHS, believe that cultural diversity should receive more respect and attention, which, in the case of clothing, means that the diverse cultural heritage in clothing that we find around the world should be valued more and made more visible in daily wear. At the current juncture in history, traditional clothes are typically worn only to festive occasions. We wish to integrate this heritage into future-orientated innovative and creative design for daily use.
Starting about forty years ago, Evelin Lindner began making a collection of clothes that combine materials and styles from different cultures in original ways, thus giving dignity and visibility to the diversity of human clothing styles and embodying cross-cultural fertilization. It is envisioned to give away these clothes for donations. The donations are then envisioned to be fed into the activities of HumanDHS, particularly into research carried out by HumanDHS members (such as the funding of scholarships for doctoral students who study dignity and humiliation). We furthermore envision that the very process of promoting these products reflects our values. For example, we hope to connect the producer of a product with the buyer as fellow human beings, thus dignifying the process of production and nurturing global connections. Furthremore, we hope to offer our products together with information about personal cases where humiliation has been diminished and dignity increased.
In this way a full circle is being performed: We start out from the idea of equality in dignity for all, then we envision developing products that express this idea, and we wish to promote these products in ways that express our values, and finally we close the circle by having the revenue feed back into research on the idea.
World Architecture for Equal Dignity
Our World Architecture for Equal Dignity-WAED idea is part of our quest for crossing boundaries between different disciplines. Our ultimate goal is to build bridges between architecture, psychology, and social sciences within the framework of equal dignity and humiliation studies. To reach this goal, we envision a number of objectives and supporting activities to take place over the next years.
World Furniture for Equal Dignity
Evelin Lindner has developed ideas for furniture that draw upon the traditions from several cultures. Particularly her office furniture combines information technology with the message of human dignity.
World Design for Equal Dignity
Questions may be asked such as: How can we better honour and respect the dignity of individuals? Perhaps by nurturing their talents, perhaps by helping them unfold their potential, for example, in the field of design? These questions aim at stimulating dialogue around topics such as diversity versus uniformity.
World Literature for Equal Dignity
With our Literature for Equal Dignity page, we would like to show how writers use literature to work for a world of more dignity and decency.
World Music for Equal Dignity
It is our quest to build bridges from social science to other areas of life. When we look around today, many listen to more or less the same music, mostly originating in the West. We believe that diverse cultural traditions should receive more respect and attention, which, in the case of music, means that the diverse cultural heritage in music that we find around the world should be valued more and made more visible in day-to-day life.
World Film for Equal Dignity
Dharm Bhawuk describes the World Film for Equal Dignity initiative as follows: "We start sharing the story of films, and how humiliation is depicted in the films we have collected, and how the characters deal with it, or live with it. From a research perspective, we explore what topics are covered in the films in a particularly country and why, and then we examine international similarities and differences. We follow the "emic + etic" approach that cross-cultural psychologists recommend. The "emic" refers to the culture-specific aspects, and the within country analysis could highlight it. The "etic" refers to the culture-general or universal concepts, and the analysis of the films between or across countries helps us identify common themes. Based on the findings, we envision developing an intervention strategy. We plan to write in popular press complementing the film makers, and thus encouraging others to fund such films in future."
World Theatre for Equal Dignity
Our World Theatre for Equal Dignity project idea aims at showing how theatre may bring more dignity and decency into the world.
World Journalism for Equal Dignity
Our World Journalism for Equal Dignity project idea aims at showing how journalism may promote more dignity and decency in the world. We wish to support the development and dissemination of research, educational materials, and pedagogical strategies to facilitate and expedite the systematic integration of peace journalism education into university curricula. "Grounded in theoretical understandings of the constitutive power of media and in wide-ranging empirical study of mass media content, practices, and effects, these scholars advocate a move toward a "peace journalism" that advantages reconciliation and transformation over conflict and peace over war" (International Communication Association Conference in New York, Thursday, May 26, 2005).
Our World Language for Equal Dignity
The ideal of equal dignity for all calls for attention to the details of the language we use. Our World Language for Equal Dignity (WLED) site aims at focusing on linguistic habits that can help (or undermine) dignity, even though we might not always be aware of it.
Cross-Cultural Linguistics for Equal Dignity
On our Cross-Cultural Linguistics for Equal Dignity (CCLEQ) site, please see, amont others, Thomas Clough Daffern's work in cross-cultural linguistics, which was first published in the Muses Journal, Issue 6, 1999, and is also Appendix 5 in Thomas Daffern's PhD thesis.
Communication Skills for Equal Dignity
Dennis Rivers wrote (August 1, 2005): The challenge is to coach adults to develop resilience to humiliation and a wide repertoire of dignity-granting skills and awarenesses in everyday interaction. Perhaps the most famous example in recent centuries of the refusal to allow oneself to be humiliated is the case of the Polish Franciscan Maximilian Kolbe, who maintained his spiritual dignity in the face of extreme attempts to humiliate him as a prisoner at Auschwitz, ending with his death. Now that "appreciative inquiry" is coming into full view as a methodological frame of reference, it would be great to see a book on "twenty cases of dignity and resilience in the face of extreme attempts to humiliate." (Now that I am thinking about it, I realize that appreciative inquiry, before it even had a name, was at the heart of Abraham Maslow's study of self-actualizing people.)
Education and Equal Dignity
Thomas Clough Daffern wrote (June 7, 2005): I would like to propose a sub-group to look at cases of humiliation in education, including higher education – when so much is at stake – in peoples academic careers etc. – humiliation is often, it seems to me, used as a weapon of power in academic work and academic relations.
World Soap for Equal Dignity
In 1998 and 1999, Evelin Lindner met with Health Unlimited Kenya, East & Central Africa, and learned about their work with radio programs in the Great Lakes regions and she furthermore learned about Search for Common Ground and their work in Burundi. Read an article on the power of radio in effecting conflict in Africa in the August issue of New Internationalist Magazine focusing on Search for Common Ground's Studio Ijambo in Burundi.
World Games for Equal Dignity
Our quest for dignity aims at building bridges from social science to other areas of life. Why should games only celebrate violence? Why not dignity and love? Veteran Designer Peter Molyneux, for example, promised to put love into his next game, titled Fable 2.
World Relationships for Equal Dignity
To promote the HumanDHS vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, we have to build new kinds of relationships, locally and globally.
World Dialogue for Equal Dignity
Our quest for dignity aims at building bridges from social science to other areas of life. We wish to envision novel ways for people around the world to build relationships across frontiers and learn from each other. To promote the vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, we have to work for dialogue, locally and globally.
World Apology for Equal Dignity
Several years ago, Floyd Webster Rudmin had the idea to launch "The Apologies Project." The idea was for non-state groups (e.g., local or national peace organizations, churches, sub-national governments such as town, city, or county, school classes, from primary schools to gymnasia to universities) to apologize for an historical abuse. This would entail researching an event in which their national or ethnic group did some harm to another identifiable group, then conceiving of a way to express apology for that event, and then publicizing that this research and apology have been done.
Stop Hazing and Bullying
To promote the vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, we have to build new kinds of relationships, free from hazing an bullying, locally and globally.
To promote the vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, we have to build new kinds of relationships, free from abuse, locally and globally.
Prevent Suicide by Extending Equal Dignity to All
People who think of suicide, often suffer from feeling humiliated, dehumanized, neglected, and left alone. Kenneth Hemmerick developed A Guide in Human Awareness that offers many helpful thoughts. The world can change when what Kenneth calls "proactive kindness" is applied, both by society at large and by the victim. Often victims are not aware of the power and resources they have and to what extent they indeed are in a position to contribute to changing the world.
World Therapy for Equal Dignity
With our Therapy for Equal Dignity (WTED) project idea, we wish to highlight the notion of dignity in therapeutical approaches. We believe that therapy ought to contribute to building a world of equal dignity for all. In former times, therapy often entailed elements of humiliation so as to "teach lessons" or, in a more covert way, to create submission. We believe that these times are bygone.
One Laptop Per Child
Uli Spalthoff is supporting the One Laptop Per Child project since many years. One Laptop per Child (OLPC) is a project supported by the Miami-based One Laptop per Child Association (OLPCA) and the Cambridge-based OLPC Foundation (OLPCF), two U.S. non-profit organizations set up to oversee the creation of affordable educational devices for use in the developing world.
Our aim is to invite UN critics into the notion that we have but One Planet and that we inhabit it together. We promote the concept of joint responsibility, away from deepening divides that might cost humankind's survival in times when only global cooperation can address the global problems that we have. We believe that the fact that we do not yet have a good "police" in the global village and that global laws are wanting, does not mean that we should not work for them, jointly, all together. What is insufficient ought to be made sufficient, jointly, rather than being decried in ways that increase division.
World Dignity University
Our World Dignity University initiative has evolved to the extent that it has become more than one initiative among others. It has become a core effort of our HumanDHS network. To learn more, see our Education branch. Global interconnectedness forces humankind to face its global challenges, both ecological and social, as a shared responsibility that has to be shouldered jointly. The consequences of global interconnectedness will punish all, if conceptualization of the world are preserved that entail the hope that independent national entities can survive as isolated "islands."
Our aim is therefore to invite academics around the world into the notion that they carry a joint responsibility to lead the world away from deepening divides that might cost us our survival in times when only global cooperation can overcome the global problems that we have.
Why is there not a World University dedicated to the human rights ideal that all humans deserve to live dignified lives? Such a World University should exist, and, ideally, connect all national universities. Academic freedom ought to be exercised globally and not harnessed into national interests.
Japan for Equal Dignity
HumanDHS would like to warmly thank Neil Ryan Walsh for suggesting to explore how the concepts of dignity and humiliation can be given life in and by Japan. Comments and articles of any length are welcome welcome. Any work should be submitted to Neil Walsh at email@example.com for consideration.
Elites for Equal Dignity
Our focus is to reach the powerful, the elites, engage them, and build cooperation - rather than confrontation - following the example of Nelson Mandela. We have several routes in mind, firstly, we want to change elite behavior through strengthening public opinion, which then may guide elites into new social contracts, with respect for equal dignity at their core. Events such as Ukraine's orange revolution in 2005 should no longer be necessary (see also our big events project). Secondly, elites themselves should be approached more directly - see David Hamburg's experience.
Dialogue Homes for Equal Dignity, or Dignihomes
The idea of creating Dialogue Homes around the world was born in 1997. Håkon Gunderson, together with the then Egyptian Ambassador to Norway, Dr. Hefny Madgy, and Evelin Lindner, developed and created the "Global Forum" in Norway, a non-profit organization with the vision to provide conflict parties with facilities for the three-dimensional simulation of alternative futures.
Office Cockpit - Working with Dignity
Currently, many people are glued to their chairs in front of their desks for hours, clutching their computer mouse, rigidifying their bodies, and acquiring back pain. An architect from an Arab country recently said: "With the chair, we also acquired back pain." Merely introducing "ergonomic chairs" is not sufficient. The basic concept has to be humanized. No longer should the desk with its mounted computer be primary and the human body secondary. The human body has to be at the center of attention, while machines have to be brought to the body and adapted to the body, not vice versa.
The Office Cockpit project attempts to dignify work and create a more functional solution, a solution that then could also be emulated by developing countries: the West ought to do more than bringing back pain as price for development. (Study: Sitting Up Straight Hurts Your Back)
Similar to our World Clothes for Equal Dignity project, also the Office Cockpit project has the aim to provide funding for our research. Part of the profit is designed to finance scholarships for doctoral research that study the concept of dignity, and probe how a world can be built that entails more respect for dignity and less disrespect and humiliation.
Family and Community for Equal Dignity
If we wish to promote the HumanDHS vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, we would need to build more cohesion in families and communities, locally and globally.
Norwegian initiatives by Ragnhild Nilsen for alleviating humiliating living conditions around the world have been met with great admiration. Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies would be glad to support some of these activities.
Parents and Equal Dignity
During Evelin Lindner's summer class of 2003 at Columbia University, students worked on gender relations and how humiliation could be diminished. Students developed a number of ideas. Jennifer Kathleen Vakiener developed the idea of a Parents Union that would introduce changes in society that would make it possible for parents to combine child rearing and career, thus leveling the field between men and women and finally arriving at more women being able to take up influential positions in society.
Child Soldiers Worldwide
Alyi Patrick Lalur explained (on 13th June 2005): Many of the people I talked to suggested that we could name this project page "child soldiers worldwide" with the aim of promoting the physical and psychological protection of child soldiers worldwide. At present, international laws do not adequately protect the psychological wellbeing of child soldiers during reintegration and demobilisation. Besides, after reintegration litle attention is paid to the child soldiers when in the community.
Non-Arrogant Elite Women Network
"Men marry down and women marry up," this is a well-known saying that is supported by statistics. In other words, the more education, experience, and status women acquire, the more they lose their "value" as eligible partners. In 1999, Evelin Lindner developed the idea of a Non-arrogant Elite Women Network, together with fellow women from Kenya and Somalia, to address the problems that arise in this situation.
Professors without Borders
Victoria Firmo-Fontan and Marijke Keet have started a program for young academics, tenured academics and graduate students, to share their knowledge and training with post-conflict and developing societies: global education for human dignity.
Jersualem Peace Capital of the World
Varda Mühlbauer, her husband Arik, and Evelin Lindner were wandering through Jerusalem in March 2004 and Varda said that we should have one of our future annual meetings for our HumanDHS group/network at some point in Jerusalem, the Peace Capital of the World.
We thought: Is not this a wonderful image, Jerusalem, the Peace Capital of the World! We all know that reality currently is flying in the face of this dream, however, hope needs dreams, and without dreams we have no direction for action. So, why not promote the idea of Jerusalem, the Peace Capital of the World against all odds!
Dov Greenstone kindly explained:
"Regarding Jerusalem, city of peace, the original name for Jerusalem was Shalem, meaning peace. See Genesis 14-18. Yru in early Hebrew/Chaldean means "city". Thus Yru-Shalem or Yerushalayim (Jerusalem), city of peace. There are also other sources in the Prophets."
Big Events for Equal Dignity
9/11/2001 has become a code for a water-shed. It was an event that moved the world. And it was an event of unexpected terrible destruction. Let us now ask: Is it possible to create events that have as much impact as 9/11, only that they build up our hopes, instead of destroying them? Please have a look at the Global Responsibility Festival "Hamburger Ideenkette" that Lindner initiated and organized in 1993. Can we organize more such Big Events?
Declarations and Campaigns for Equal Dignity
Foot binding in China was practiced for 1000 years, and ended within ten years, through public declarations and campaigns. Female genital cutting in Senegal is in the process of ending in the same way (see Tostan). Social change can be affected by using public declarations and campaigns. Also a more dignified world can be built by using such techniques.
A Moratorium on Humiliation
To promote a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, our dignity network wishes to promote declarations that call for a Moratorium on Humiliation, both locally and globally.
Passages to Equal Dignity
Nora Femenia and Bill Leland wish to design "rites of passage or transformation" to provide bridges of meaning.
Vegetarianism and Equal Dignity for All
Annette Exon kindly wrote to us (3rd November 2005), expressing her view that eating meat represents a debasement and thus ought to be considered in our work.