Newsletter Nr. 29 (August 2017, subsequent to our 29th Annual Conference of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, in Indore, India, 16th - 19th August 2017)

Compiled by Evelin G. Lindner, in 2017
(Note: This newsletter is written in British English, since this conference took place outside of the U.S. In our NY workshops, we usually use American English.)


 

Contents

•  Pictures
•  Thanks!
•  Evelin Lindner's reflections
•  Your reflections after our conference
•  Announcements and Good News
•  What Is the Aim of Our Work?
•  Welcome Again!


 

Pictures

(Important note to our conference particants: During our conferences, we always make an effort to ask for your permission to have your pictures posted on this website. However, you may have overheard or misunderstood our question, or you may have changed your mind since, either in total or for specific pictures/videos, please let us know! Thank you! Since we wish to walk the talk of dignity, it is very important for us to do our utmost in respecting everybody's privacy. We refrain from gathering written permissions from you during our conferences, since we value the building of mutual trust in relationships, and we also would like to refrain from contributing to an ever more bureaucratic and legalistic society.)

29th Annual Conference of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India
16th - 19th August 2017
'Dignity in Times of Globalisation'

Inspirer
Deepak Tripathi

Hosting Institution
Renaissance University


'Messages to the World' for the World Dignity University initiative
Day One, 16th August, 2017:
• 01 WDU Message: Vinita Raj and Katyayani Singh
Day Two, 17th August, 2017:
• 02 WDU Message: Michael W. Morgan and Dr. Rajesh Dixit
• 03 WDU Message: Avi Shahaf and Rachana Ghadge
• 04 WDU Message: Michael W. Morgan and Evelin Lindner
• 05 WDU Message: Donna T. Fujimoto and Vinita Raj
• 06 WDU Message: Katyayani Singh and Evelin Lindner
Day Three, 18th August, 2017:
• 07 WDU Message: Mamta Siwakoti and Evelin Lindner
• 08 WDU Message: Shashi Kumar and Michael W. Morgan
• 09 WDU Message: Dr. Rajesh Dixit, Dr. Amita Neerav, and Evelin Lindner (17th September 2017) (Hindi)
• 10 WDU Message: Dr. Rajesh Dixit, Dr. Amita Neerav, and Evelin Lindner (17th September 2017) (English)



Picture taken by the press photographer from the Independent Mail

'German Evelin Thinks That the Whole World Is Her Home', in Independent Mail, 18th August 2017



Day One, Wednesday, 16th August 2017
We so much thank Amit Singh, Donna T. Fujimoto, Amita Neerav, Mike Morgan, Suraj Pillai, and many others for taking such lovely photos!
• Please click on the photo at the top or here to see the ten press photos
• Please click on the photo in the middle or here to see all 189 pictures from Evelin's camera of Day One
• Please click at the bottom or here to see the programme for the entire workshop that we created together on Day One, and all 20 Dignilogue posters - thank you, dear Avi Shahaf and Yashasvi Dhand, for making such a great programme poster!
• Please click here to see the four photos Chandra Siwakoti kindly took
• Please click here to see the four photos Vinita Raj took of Evelin getting her hair in order...
• Please click here to see all 112 pictures taken by Mike Morgan througout the entire conference

We had the great privilege of having wonderful classical singing and dancing in our conference, together with wonderful poetry! Indore and Ujjain are ancient cities, known for their very high level of knowledge and skill in these areas. A person, to be considered knowledgeable, has to reach a much higher level in Indore and Ujjain than elsewhere. These arts is being taught considerably more superficially in places such as Delhi or Mumbai.

Videos:
Thank you so much, dear Suraj Pillai, for doing such wonderful video-recording!
• 01 Amol Mishra Welcomes Everybody
• 02 Evelin Lindner Welcomes Everybody
• 03 All Are Watching Linda Hartling's Welcome Video
• 04 Evelin Lindner's Introductory Talk
• 05 Janvi Jain Sings the Beloved Film Song 'Lag Jaa Gale' from the Movie ''Woh Kaun Thi'
• 06 Getting to Know Each Other
• 07 A Student Plays Guitar
• 08 Participants Present Each Other
• 09 Pranjali Singh Parihar Teaches 'Kathak' Dance to Nira Shahaf
• 10 Evelin Lindner Explains the Dignilogue Format
• 11 Preparing the Dignilogues
• 12 Dr. Amita Neerav Sings the Beloved Film Song 'Dil Ka Diya Jala Ke Gaya' and then Speaks on Dignity
• 13 Vinita Raj Explains her Dignilogue Topic
• 14 Nira Shahaf Explains her Dignilogue Topic
• 15 Mamta Siwakoti Explains her Dignilogue Topic
• 16 Mike Morgan Explains his Dignilogue Topic
• 17 Shashi Kumar Explains his Dignilogue Topic
• 18 Chandra Siwakoti Explains his Dignilogue Topic
• 19 Navneet Dubey Explains his Dignilogue Topic
• 20 Avi Shahaf Explains his Dignilogue Topic
• 21 Katyayani Singh Explains her Dignilogue Topic
• 22 Dr. Rajesh Dixit Explains his Dignilogue Topic
• 23 Donna T. Fujimoto Explains her Dignilogue Topic
• 24 Parth Jain Explains his Dignilogue Topic
• 25 Dr. Atul Bhat Sings Two Beloved Film Songs
• 26 Dignilogue of Vinita Raj
• 27 WDU Message: Vinita Raj and Katyayani Singh


Day Two, Thursday, 17th August 2017
We so much thank Amit Singh, Donna T. Fujimoto, Amita Neerav, Mike Morgan, Suraj Pillai, and many others for taking such lovely photos!
• Please click on the photo above or here to see all 254 pictures from Evelin's camera of Day Two
• Please click on the photo at the bottom or here to see the 197 photos that Amit Singh kindly took
• Please click here to see all 112 pictures taken by Mike Morgan througout the entire conference!

Videos:

Thank you so much, dear Suraj Pillai, for doing such wonderful video-recording!
• 28 Dignilogue of Avi Shahaf
• 29 Thanking Nira and Avi Shahaf
• 30 Dignilogue of Mike Morgan
• 31 WDU Message: Michael W. Morgan and Dr. Rajesh Dixit
• 32 WDU Message: Avi Shahaf and Rachana Ghadge
• 33 WDU Message: Michael W. Morgan and Evelin Lindner
• 34 Dignilogue of Donna T. Fujimoto
• 35 WDU Message: Donna T. Fujimoto and Vinita Raj
• 36 Donna T. Fujimoto Sings a Japanese Song
• 37 The Students Sing a Punjabi Folk Song
• 38 Dr. Atul Bhat Sings a Beloved Film Song
• 39 The Students Sing
• 40 Dignilogue of Katyayani Singh
• 41 Dr. Atul Bhat Sings Another Beloved Film Song
• 42 Mahendra Sharma and Anoop Swarup Visit
• 43 WDU Message: Katyayani Singh and Evelin Lindner

Day Three, Friday, 18th August 2017
We so much thank Amit Singh, Donna T. Fujimoto, Amita Neerav, Mike Morgan, Suraj Pillai, and many others for taking such lovely photos!
• Please click on the photo above or here to see all 344 pictures from Evelin's camera of Day Three
• Please click on the photos at the bottom or here to see the 229 photos that Amit Singh kindly took
• Please click here to see all 112 pictures taken by Mike Morgan througout the entire conference!

Videos:
Thank you so much, dear Suraj Pillai, for doing such wonderful video-recording!
• 44 Dignilogue of Mamta Siwakoti
• 45 Dignilogue of Dr. Rajesh Dixit
•45.1 WDU Message: Dr. Rajesh Dixit, Dr. Amita Neerav, and Evelin Lindner (17th September 2017) (Hindi)
• 45.2 WDU Message: Dr. Rajesh Dixit, Dr. Amita Neerav, and Evelin Lindner (17th September 2017) (English)
• 46.1 Dignilogue of Shashi Kumar (Part 1)
• 46.2 Dignilogue of Shashi Kumar (Part 2)
• 47.1 Sunita Kasliwal Explains Shahi Paneer Masala
• 47.2 Sunita Kasliwal Explains White Gravy Paneer Masala
• 47.3 Sunita Kasliwal Explains Yellow Pulses
• 47 Students Receive Chocolate
• 48 Dignilogue of Nira Shahaf Inside the Conference Room
• 49 Dignilogue of Nira Shahaf Part Outside of the Conference Room
• 50 Pranjali Singh Parihar Teaches Nira Shahaf to Dance 'Kathak'
• 51 WDU Message: Mamta Siwakoti and Evelin Lindner
• 52 WDU Message: Shashi Kumar and Mike Morgan
• 53 Mamta Siwakoti Sings a Nepalese Song
• 54 The Students Sing
• 55 Nira and Avi Shahaf Sing a Song from Israel
• 56 Dignilogue of Parth Jain and Navneet Dubey
• 57 Saying Good-Bye to Nira and Avi Shahaf
• 58 Swapnil Kothari Visits with His Students
• 59 Evelin Lindner's Comments
• 60 Swapnil Kothari's Comments
• 61 Amol Mishra Rounds Up Day Three




What a wonderful idea to have lunch in the garden! Thank you so much, dear Sunita Kasliwal and Pandey-ji! And for supplying us with tea, coffee, and cookies throughout the entire conference!
• Please click on the photo above or here to see all 189 pictures from Evelin's camera of Day One
• Please click on the photo above or here to see all 254 pictures from Evelin's camera of Day Two
• Please click on the photo above or here to see all 344 pictures from Evelin's camera of Day Three

Videos:
You see from left to right the most delicious vegetarian dishes! Thank you, dear Sunita Kasliwal, for explaining!
(1) shahi paneer masala, (2) white gravy paneer masala, and (3) yellow pulses

Day Four, Saturday, 19th August 2017
We so much thank Amit Singh, Donna T. Fujimoto, Amita Neerav, Mike Morgan, Suraj Pillai, and many others for taking such lovely photos!
• Please click on the photo above or here to see all 82 pictures from Evelin's camera of Day Four
• Please click on the photo at the bottom or here to see the 216 photos that Amit Singh kindly took
• Please click here to see all 112 pictures taken by Mike Morgan througout the entire conference!

Videos:

Thank you so much, dear Suraj Pillai, for doing such wonderful video-recording!
• 62 Amol Mishra and Swapnil Kothari Open the Public Function
• 63 Evelin Lindner Speaks on 'Dignity in Times of Globalisation'
• 64 Honouring Donna T. Fujimoto
• 65 Honouring Mike Morgan
• 66 Honouring Chandra and Mamta Siwakoti
• 67 Honouring Shashi Kumar
• 68 Honouring Dr. Amita Neerav
• 69 Honouring Dr. Rajesh Dixit
• 70 Honouring Vinita Raj
• 71 Honouring the International Post Graduate Diploma in Management Students
• 72 Honouring Evelin Lindner
• 73 Honouring Amol Mishra
• 74 Honouring Swapnil Kothari
• 75 Honouring Dr. Amita Neerav and Dr. Rajesh Dixit
• 76 Honouring Vinita Raj
• 77 Honouring Pooja Upadhaya Vyas
• 78 Honouring Sarabjeet Singh Bharaj
• 79 Honouring DeepakTripathi
• 80 Honouring Menika Soni Jadon
• 81 Honouring Rachana Ghadge
• 82 Saying Good-Bye
• 83 Amol Mishra Sings a Beloved Film Song
• 84 Dr. Amita Neerav Sings 'Kisi Ki Yaad Mein Dunia Ko Hai Bhilaaye Hue'
 
Thank you so much, dear Amita for so generously dressing Evelin up with YOUR wonderful clothes during the entire conference! And thank you, dear Vinita, for your loving interest in her long hair! And in her first official appearance in a sari! She apologises that she frightened everybody in the morning of Day Four with making a 'drama' of how difficult it is to wear a sari! She so much admires the women in India for wearing this most complicated attire! She learned that a sari can be worn in many different ways. The current fashion originates from the Tagore’s family who made an art of draping saris, at a time when Bengal and Kolkatta were still a cultural hub.
• Please click on the photo on the left or here to see the four photos Vinita Raj took of Evelin getting her hair in order...
• Please click on the other photos to see them larger.


Evening of Day Three, Friday, 18th August 2017
• Please click on the photo above or here to see all 23 pictures from Evelin's camera of the evening of Day Three
• Please click on the photos at the bottom or here to see the 5 photos that Amita Neerav kindly took
Morning of Day Three, Friday, 18th August 2017: On the way to the conference!
On the left side, you see Agrasen, a legendary Indian king (Maharaja) of Agroha, a city of traders. The Agrawal and Agrahari communities claim descent from him. He is credited with the establishment of a kingdom of traders in North India named Agroha, and is known for his compassion in refusing to slaughter animals in yajnas.
• Please click on the photo above or here to see all 63 pictures from Evelin's camera of the morning of Day Three

15th August 2017: What a WONDERFUL moment! Donna T. Fujimoto and Mike Morgan have arrived! And how wonderful that they find a home with our dear Dr. Rajesh Dixit and Dr. Amita Neerav!
• Please click on the photos above or here to see more pictures.



15th August 2017: What a WONDERFUL moment! Avi Shahaf arrived! And he met with dear Tejas Kumar Jain and Yashasvi Dhand!
• Please click on the photos above or here to see more pictures.



 

Dear Friend! Thanks!

We had a remarkable dignity conference in Indore in Madhya Pradesh, India! The conference was titled 'Dignity in Times of Globalisation'. I must admit that I lack adequate words to express my appreciation, recognition, and deep gratitude to all those who made this conference possible!

Please allow me to begin this newsletter by expressing my profound gratitude to the esteemed inspirer of this conference, our dear Deepak Tripathi, and to our gracious host, the Renaissance University, with Swapnil Kothari as Founder and Chairman of the Indore-Indira Group, Sarabjeet Singh Bharaj as CEO and director of the Indore-Indira Group, together with directors Mahendra Sharma and Sunay Chhajlany.

We extend our warmest congratulations to the happy event that in August 2017, the Renaissance University became a new addition to the Indore-Indira Group of Institutions! Our conference had the great honour of being the first event at this university!

Our gratitude goes to the wonderful team around Amol Mishra, with Vinita Raj, Menika Soni Jadon, Pooja Upadhaya Vyas, Rachana Ghadge, and many others, together with the great principal of the Renaissance College, Dr. Rajesh Dixit, with his lovely faculty.

There are no registration fees for our conferences, we usally share cost according to ability. We thank all participants of this conference for paying for their own travels and housing, and the Renaissance University for offering such a wonderful venue, together with incredibly delicious vegetarian lunch in the garden! And we were constantly cared for with coffee, tea, and cookies, both in the mornings and afternoons. Thank you so much, dear Sunita Kasliwal and Pandey-ji!

I am so proud that we were able to honour and celebrate our host teams with our Beacon of Dignity Award! We did this during our Public Event on 19th August! And I would also like to express my warmest gratitude to Suraj Pillai and Amit Singh for being with us untiringly, recording videos, taking photos, and making sure that our IT systems worked!

We wish to acknowledge particularly Avi Shahaf, who so wonderfully took the responsibility of coordinating our Dignilogues!

We thank all participants for joining hands in making this conference one of our most special and most memorable ones. Everyone participated by not only offering their particular personal perspectives, everyone also engaged in an enormously enriching process of co-creating new horizons of meaning for ourselves and for our societies, including world society.

Linda and I, we would now like to invite everyone to contribute to this newsletter with your reflections (whatever you wish to share here, just send it to me so that I paste it in further down)! We invite comments, thoughts, and reflections both from the participants, and from those who were with us in spirit!

Please allow me to remind you that all our conferences are part of our ongoing relationship-building work (rather than 'stand-alone' events). We wish to nurture a global community of people who strive to bring more dignity into the world. Our 29th Annual Dignity Conference was yet another opportunity, unique in its intensity, one that deeply inspired also me personally. The diversity of backgrounds of our participants was remarkable: India (Indore, Bophal, Lucknow), Israel, Japan, North America-Asia, Nepal, Silesia-Germany-Norway-global. Many members in our global network share a biography of journeying, both geographically and with respect to their life paths and experiences. Many have experienced profound turning points in their lives, which often foster deep change.

As you have noticed, we strive to conduct our conferences in ways that are different to mainstream conferences. Our conferences are designed to transcend the 'guru' model of having one or two noted celebrities orchestrating the experience for the non-celebrities. We wish to avoid a top-down approach to organising. Rather, we strive to practice a ripple-out approach, cultivating mutually beneficial action that emphasises loving service (rather than servitude!). We strive to refrain from relegating 'administrative' work to secretaries or marginalised members of society. We invite universal responsibility, universal co-leadership, leadership that encourages everyone to step in and contribute according to their interests, abilities, and passions.

In traditional conferences, participants arrive with the tacit expectation to spend the day more or less isolated, either as presenters or listeners, and when the official day ends, they expect to dissipate to do 'their own thing'. The only time when everybody is drawn together officially, at least to a certain degree, is during what is called Q&A (questions and answers, rather than dialogue). Group-building is relegated to the coffee-pauses or friendships being nurtured privately on the sidelines. As a result, very often, there is a widespread sigh after conferences: 'I had to give a paper to get funding for the conference, but slept through the presentations of the others, only the coffee-breaks where really good, because I enjoyed meeting old friends'.

The most important aim of our conferences is to transcend this state-of-affairs and to make clear that the 'work' of building a dignity family is the most important feature of our conferences. Our participants are invited to take responsibility for this process also outside of the 'official' schedule. Linda and I personally see our main task in nurturing this social-psychological connectivity rather than in the administration or scheduling of our conferences, as important as also this is for a dignified conference. We wish to nurture a climate of togetherness in equal dignity, of holding hands as human beings among human beings (Ubuntu), who act together in a spirit of mutual responsibility for each other, and who engage in mutual learning and teaching. We aim for a style that manifests the fact that we are one single human family on one single tiny planet, and that we have to learn to act like a good family if we wish to survive as a species. In our work, we wish to stay clear of abusing this connectivity for ulterior purposes, be they ideological, religious, monetary, or else. This approach includes the entire conference, with its pauses and evenings.

In sum, the Dignilogues of our conference were yet another of our 'unconference' conferences: It was a co-created sharing of insights. Rather than organising time around 'presentations', we strove to take a collaborative approach to planning our time together. We used the format of Dignilogues (Dignity + Dialogue), or conversations on topics proposed by participants, a format that we have adapted from the classical Open Space approach (see Harrison Owen on our Global Advisory Board). On the first day of the Dignilogue Workshop, we invited everybody to suggest a topic and to be a facilitator/leader for her or his dialogue session. Those participants who proposed a topic, described it to the group. Then, collectively, we combined and prioritised ideas as needed to finalise the schedule for the rest of the conference. The Dignilogue process encouraged all of us to meet in a spirit of mutual support, equal dignity, and flexibility, which enriched the conversations throughout our 'unconference' conference.

We sometimes compare a 'formal conference' with a car without wheels, an 'informal conference' with a car without a motor, while our approach would represent a car that moves. We wish our conferences to manifest dignity, and therefore we invite all participants to move the conference forward together, holding hands as fellow human beings, rather than having a rigid and static conference.

Let me now explain our solidarity economics approach (see also my book A Dignity Economy). All participants are gifting their time pro bono. Our work is a labour of love. Nobody is being paid or gains monetary advantages from our work. Our human dignity movement has a near zero budget. We refrain from going down the path of so many not-for-profit initiatives, which end up becoming as profit-oriented as for-profit businesses, or even more. We do whatever we can to refrain from building an 'empire' of our work. What we wish to do instead, is to nurture dignity, at all levels and in all details of our work. We wish to highlight our shared humanity on our home planet, rather than abusing social-psychological connectivity for 'empire building'.

There are no registration fees for our HumanDHS conferences (or our online sessions). By practicing a 'lean, green' spirit of shared responsibility, our HumanDHS community has conducted our events for more than a decade by assessing our expenses during the conference and inviting participants to contribute according to their ability (we also gladly welcome electronic contributions in support of our work). I myself live almost without money and do not receive monetary remunerations for my dignity work, which I consider to be a labour of love which I gift to our human family. In our conferences, we always attempt to find ways to cover the cost throughout the conference in the most dignified and dignifying ways. In this collaborative way, we are able to also honour those who contribute more in kind than in monetary ways.

Please join me therefore in thanking everyone for their contributions to this conference! We send our profound gratitude to every single participant and supporter for your generosity! You are beacons of dignity in this world!

Since all participants in our conferences are fully responsible for bearing the cost of their own travel, transportation, and accommodation arrangements, we always kindly ask local participants who reside in close proximity of the conference venue to lend a helping hand to those traveling from afar, which also helps us keep our events collaborative and affordable for all. Allow me to extend our warmest thanks to all those who reside in Indore and generously gave their support to our foreign participants! I myself am deeply thankful to Pooja Vyas, and Dr. Rajesh Dixit and his wife Dr. Amita Neerav, for including me into their homes throughout July and August in the most touching ways! Dr. Rajesh Dixit and his wife Dr. Amita Neerav declared their home to be a Dialogue Home for our global dignity family and Donna Fujimoto and Mike Morgan were welcomed there, too. Vinita Raj and Menika Soni Jadon generously extended wonderful care to our foreign visitors also in the evenings. We thank them most warmly!

A reason for sadness was that Linda Hartling and her husband Richard Slaven could not be with us in person, due to their family health situation. However, they were very very close in spirit, and without their daily support our conferences would not be possible. Thank you, dear Linda and Rick!

Please see a list of the videos that Linda Hartling created so as to be with us from afar:

Please see Introductory Videos created by Linda Hartling:
•  Dignilogue: An Introduction to Dignity + Dialogue, created on 31th May 2015 for our 2015 Kigali Conference
•  Greetings to All (short version), created on 16h April 2013 for our 2013 South Africa Conference
•  Greetings to All (long version), created on 16h April 2013 for our 2013 South Africa Conference
•  Welcome to Everybody, created on 12th August 2012 for our 2012 Norway Conference
•  Our Open Space Dignilogue Format, created on 12th August 2012 for our 2012 Norway Conference

•  Please see also the videos on our Appreciative Frame, created by Linda Hartling:
- Appreciative Enquiry 4, a video that was recorded on May 27, 2015, in Portland, Oregon, USA, by Linda Hartling, for the 25th Annual Conference of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, in Kigali, Rwanda, 2nd - 5th June 2015.
- Our Appreciative Frame 3, a video created in December 2014 (see also Pdf), for the 2014 Workshop on Transforming Humiliation and Violent Conflict, in New York City, December 4–5, 2014.
- Appreciative Enquiry 2, a video that was uploaded onto YouTube on August 11, 2012, in preparation of the 19th Annual Conference of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, 27th-30th August 2012, in Oslo, Norway.
- Appreciative Enquiry 1, a video that was recorded on October 30, 2011, in Portland, Oregon, USA, by Evelin Lindner, for the World Dignity University initiative.

We warmly welcome you to our future conferences. Your participation is of great importance. We are certain that your contribution will have enduring reverberations not only for your work, but also for our dignity network of scholars and practitioners working throughout the world.

Francisco Gomes de Matos, peace linguist from Recife, Brazil, co-founder of the World Dignity University initiative, kindly sent us a 'Communicative Dignity: A Checklist' from Recife, Brazil, where he concludes that 'dignity is more than a quality; it is the essence of our humanity'.

May we extend our very warmest thank-you to YOU ALL!
There are no words to express our appreciation for your amazing contributions!


Evelin & Linda, on behalf of our entire network, 2017

 


 

Evelin Lindner's reflections

You may like to have a look at my picture page of 2017, where I documented my reflections during my time in Indore in July and August and Mussoorie in August and September 2017.

25th August 2017:
Dear friends! I am still filled with fond memories from our conference and miss you all. I am amazed how you taught me to understand ever more, how important the work of relationship building is! The dominator model of society (Riane Eisler's coinage) of the past millennia still guides mainstream society, and this includes conferences. This means that the organisers of conferences usually have the ideas and expect that the 'audience' will be enthusiastic. What if they are not? I remember 2011, our conference in New Zealand, where I thought that everybody should like my wish to open our conference to our entire global network through live streaming, and how the conference participants protested. In our Dubrovnik conference, in 2016, and also in our conference in Indore now, I understood, more than before, how important it is that we are in one room together, without any streaming to other people outside. The video-recording that we did was somehow the right amount of public exposure, as it added an element of sincerity, without disrupting the sense of our togetherness in the room.

Our Dignilogue days were unbelievably enriching for me! The intellectual sharing was so much enhanced by the fact that we also connected emotionally. It became so palpable to me how the concept of 'sharing ideas' without emotional person-to-person connection risks failing to open up for the deep understanding and learning that the Dignilogue format has the potential for. This does not mean that I do not enjoy 'helicopter presentations' as well, where people 'fly in and out' for their presentations, and I, sitting in the audience, learn a lot. However, it is so interesting to oberve how this enjoyment is so different from the deep sharing in Dignilogues! The entire conference was such a wonderful learning experience for me, for which I wish to profoundly thank you all!

In another context I reflected on the fact that relationship-building is underrated: As I observe it, not only the academic community lacks what might be called emotional literacy. After living globally for the past forty years, I observe how the work of creating trusting human-to-human connections fails to be done: it is still seen as a negligibly 'female' task. What happens instead is that a 'male' script of throwing one’s weight around turns society into a scary battle field where mistrust is the 'smartest' thing to have. To say it in a caricature: the traditional professor/director was a man, who had a female secretary, who did all the relationship-building work for him, she soothed those he had insulted, and even bought the flowers for his wife's birthday. By saying so, I do not wish to blame the professor/director or the secretary, since this was 'the way it was'. However, in present-day's world, it becomes dangerous to maintain this habitus and remain blind to its blind spots. Particularly, if we wish to nurture a global citizens movement, people from different backgrounds will have to come together, and relationship-building work will need to be carried out much more intentionally than so far. No technical innovation can replace this, no ever so 'professional' approach can remedy this. Notions such as 'family', 'friend', 'colleague', or 'stranger' will have to be brought together into a sense of being part of a global dignity family. This relationship-building work is therefore one of the main foci of our work in the global HumanDHS fellowship. Linda Hartling, our director, and her expertise in relational-cultural theory, as developed by her mentor Jean Baker Miller, is therefore crucial for our work.

In this conference, to my great surprise, we experienced passions reaching a boiling point when the topic of reservation was touched upon. I recommend my book Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict in this context, because there I discuss how difficult it is to make the transition from a hierarchical system to equality in dignity.

'Dignitaries' who feel entitled to arrogate superiority may define their superiority as essential for their dignity, and may violently resist any call to join the rest of society at the middle, at the line of equality in dignity, let alone help those from below to rise up. They may passionately refuse any attempts to humble them and will interpret those attempts as humiliation. A man who beats his wife, for instance, may feel entitled to doing so and interpret any endeavour by the social worker to make him equal to his wife as humiliation. He may accuse the social worker of being a trouble maker who disturbs the peace of the house and spoils his wife's willingness to be obedient. And he may accuse his wife of 'hating men' if she wishes for equal dignity and rights. Feminism is therefore among those movements that have become victims of this polarization bias. Or, another example: Many white supremacists in South Africa were proud that 'their' fellow black citizens had a better quality of life than in many other African states; in their eyes, their fellow black citizens were simply ungrateful when wishing for equal rights and dignity.

I mentioned this situation in a video that we made during the conference with Katyayani Singh, and you may wish to watch her cogent response.

Those who have privileges typically are blind to those privileges and do not notice the systemic disadvantages others suffer from. If they do notice their privileges, many of them tend to be convinced that they deserve them. And even if they intellectually understand that they do not necessarily merit having those privileges, they will resist giving them up due to the simple human weakness called loss aversion. Loss aversion means that one hesitates to give up what one has, even if what one would receive in exchange would be better. Wealthy people therefore tend to live in social 'bubbles' that reinforce their sense of entitlement and paint those in society who wish to rise up from below as undeserving 'enemies'.

I was thinking of the hot discussions we had in our conference when I listened to Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative in the Daily Show with Trevor Noah on 23rd August 23, 2017. Since this show is not accessible from outside of the United States, I have audiotaped some of Bryan Stevenson's words. He is one of those African Americans in the United States, who are now coming out to shed light on the ongoing blindness on the part of the white population in the U.S.

However, as I explain in the Making Enemies book, also those at the bottom of the hierarchy encounter countless challenges, not just outside of themselves in society, but also in their own psyches. The beaten wife, for instance, or any other person at the bottom of the ladder, may staunchly defend her lowly position as her inherent dignity, and may resist as undue arrogance any attempt to rise her up. Or, others may use their lowly position as a justification for why they cannot even make an effort to rise up. Or, they may revel in their sense of victimhood and turn victimhood into an asset. One section in my Making Enemies book addresses the 'addiction to humiliation'.

These are the chapter titles in the book:

Part I: Humiliation at Work in the Mind 1
Chapter 1: The Mental Landscape 3
Chapter 2: Once the Cure, Now the Disease 11
Chapter 3: Globalization and Egalization 37

Part II: Humiliation at Work in the World 63
Chapter 4: Humiliation and Misunderstanding 65
Chapter 5: Humiliation and Conflict 88
Chapter 6: Humiliation and Terrorism 107

Part III: Why Humiliation Doesn’t Work 125
Chapter 7: The Humiliation Addiction 127
Chapter 8: The Humiliation Antidote 141
Chapter 9: The Future of Humiliation 163

Also in my other books, including my new book on Honor, Humiliation, and Terror, I address these problems.

The way out of all these challenges is to think comprehensively and acknowledge the problems that are to be expected when a hierarchy is to be dismantled. Those at the bottom and those at the top are called on to discontinue vilifying each other and instead to help each other overcome all obstacles. Obstacles are the systemic humiliation engrained in societies after many hundreds or even thousands of years of hierarchy, and the conditioning this has engendered in the minds and souls of the population.

It is advisable to study the experiences in other world regions, to study how and in which form 'reservation' systems may be useful, and how and in which form they can also go wrong. In South Africa, for instance, it is now not just a white elite that presides over the suffering masses, it is also a black elite. This may stand for a negative example, at least partly. In Scandinavia, on the other side, quotas do help overcome engrained patterns of behavior so that women can enter into influential positions in the corporate sector. The list of examples to be studied is long. What is destructive, in all cases, is violent polarization that brings those at the top and those at the bottom into hostile confrontation.

31st August 2017:
When coming to India, I learned from the young students that they wish for love marriage rather than arranged marriage. I promised them that this conference would offer them the very 'training in dialogue' that they will need in case their wish is fulfilled and they have to make love work in daily life! Love is hard work, much more difficult than infatuation, and learning to 'listen-into-voice' is indispensable. I wrote a book on 'Big Love', and I send you the links to all my books and articles as my gift to you under PS further down. 'Big Love' is needed not just in marriage, it is needed in all of society, locally and globally!

Love marriage and money:
Love marriage is not the only thing young people in India wish for, the other thing I heard was: money.
At the same time, I get emails from around the world, asking me whether I find new and future-oriented thinking in India's academic world, and whether Indian scholars have suggestions for how to solve our many local and global economic crises, which are intertwined with our environmental and social crises (for instance: producing more plastic products is profitable, but soon there will be more plastic waste in the oceans than fish...). I am told that we cannot wait for Wall Street or London City. Countries like India are now expected to think completely new. The economic arrangements that we have in the world create ever more 'forgotten people', people who are likely to vote for extreme or even extremist leaders. In the Balkans, where we had our last dignity conference, such leaders started horrible wars. A core aspect of these crises is the way money is being created and disseminated. Young students of economy around the world, particularly in countries like India, have now the responsibility to work for the reform of global economic thinking, especially reform of the institution of money. I would therefore like to invite you to become part of the global groups of scholars who reflect on future-oriented sustainable ways of organising our global economic frameworks, so that also local approaches and solutions can become more dignifying.

You might like to look at my 2012 book on A Dignity Economy, just download the Pdf file. I recommend also www.greattransition.org, where you see discussions on 'Money for the people', 'Round Table on Money', and so on. See, furthermore, the work of Howard Richards, a philosopher who is part of our dignity network's global advisory board since many years. He draws on experiences from Chile and South Africa. His book Economic Theory and Community Development is forthcoming in Dignity Press. See also another book co-authored by him for Dignity Press in 2013: Gandhi and the Future of Economics, 2013. Howard sends you all his love!

Please meet also Kamran Mofid on our Global Advisory Board. You might like to learn about his Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI). This is his recent posting: 'Economists are Having Second Thoughts, Values and Virtues Matter', published 28th August 2017.

Creating equal opportunities for all is hugely difficult, it requires great wisdom, and nowhere in the world does it succeed easily:
When I watched Trevor Noah in New York City on August 23, 2017, I thought of our conference. Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative spoke and I recorded his voice for you:
This is the link to Trevor Noah in New York City (it is unfortunately geo-blocked and you might have no access to it from India)
Wikipedia explains: Bryan A. Stevenson (born November 14, 1959) is an American lawyer, social justice activist, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and a clinical professor at New York University School of Law. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, Stevenson has challenged bias against the poor and minorities in the criminal justice system, especially children. He has helped achieve court decisions that prohibit sentencing children under 18 to death, or to life imprisonment without parole.

Linda Hartling kindly made us aware of this article:
'Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges Than 35 Years Ago', by Jeremy Ashkenas, Haeyoun Park and Adam Pearce, New York Times, 24th August 2017.

You might also like to see a discussion of humiliation by Indian scholars:
Guru, Gopal (Ed.) (2009). Humiliation: Claims and Context. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
I have scanned this book in some years ago and uploaded it into Dropbox


 

Your reflections before and after our conference

Katyayani Singh kindly wrote on 23rd September 2017:

The conference was a unique one which taught me how important relationship building is. We all wish to have a peaceful society, however all our efforts are trapped in the academic books without touching the reality. The reality is much different. In this conference I saw the unique effort of bridging the gap between what we think and what we do, what we write in books and what we practice in reality. One needs to touch the lives of the people if they want to bring a change in society. Every phenomenon in this universe is connected and so is every being so the ideas of peace that we form through such conferences need to get connected with the people. "Beauty lies in unity based on consensus" was a remark made by Rabindranath Tagore. If we want to create a peaceful and beautiful world we have to unite it not by force but by love.

 


 

Announcements and Good News

•  Announcement of our Latest News
•  The Dignity Press flyer of 2014
•  An Introduction to HumanDHS, March 2013
•  A Quick Fact Sheet, March 2013
•  Information About Our Leadership and Collaborative Teams, March 2013
•  A Collection of Pictures, Including the Book Covers, March 2013

 


 

What Is the Aim of Our Work?

Please read more in newsletter12.

 


 

Welcome Again!

We would like to end this newsletter by thanking all conference participants for co-creating a deeply enriching experience. All our network members have been with us in spirit throughout the conference, and we are very grateful for their ongoing encouragement and support.

Please be most warmly welcomed to our future conference:

Our Workshop on Transforming Humiliation and Violent Conflict at Columbia University in New York City in December 2017, and then we gather again in Cairo, Egypt, in 2018!

WELCOME!!!

Linda & Evelin, September 2017