Today thousands of students and young leaders in Canada gathered to celebrate Global Dignity Day alongside one million of their peers in 80 countries. The keynote speakers of the day included Global Dignity Co-Founder, HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Co-Founder of the Malala Fund, Mr. Ziauddin Yusafzai, Inuk Role Model, Katelynn Herchak and a special Inclusion in Northern Research musical performance on shared identities from the Quest Collective.
“At its core, dignity is about the value of every human life. It is the key to building understanding across the things that might seem to divide us. The colour of our skin, our gender, sexual orientation, religion or where we come from,” said Crown Prince Haakon of Norway in a video message.
This year’s global event, hosted by TakingITGlobal and the Queen Elizabeth Center for Global Education, linked participants from 10 sites in nine countries through a live video-conference. The participating sites included:
● AlixPartners, London, United Kingdom
● TakingITGlobal, Toronto, Canada
● Agrupamento de Escolas Dr Alberto Iria, Olhão, Portugal
● Dr. Binnaz Ege Dr. Rıdvan Ege Anatolian High School, Ankara, Turkey ● Colegio Humanístico Costarricense Campus Nicoya, Guanacaste, Costa Rica ● Colégio Magno, São Paulo, Brazil
● Colegio San Nicolás & The Global School, Buenos Aires, Argentina
● St. Austin’s Academy, Nairobi, Kenya
● Government Model Secondary School Jikwoyi, Abuja, Nigeria
● Queen Elizabeth High School, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
“We can’t achieve the worthy goal of securing every human being’s dignity without respecting their identity,” said Co-founder of the Malala Fund, Mr. Ziauddin Yusafzai. “It is our governments’ responsibility to introduce and implement laws that guarantee every citizen’s right to equal dignity irrespective of their class, colour, faith, ethnicity and gender. More importantly, as a community we can’t protect the dignity of our fellow human beings without building a strong culture of kindness and compassion.”
The theme of the event focused on identity and kindness, with an effort to invite students to build inclusive global communities rooted in kindness. This theme builds on Global Dignity’s ongoing #UniteKindness campaign, which aggregates and showcases kindness campaigns around the world.
“Kindness is the cultural fabric that enables greater dignity,” said Global Dignity Board Chair and Canadian Country Chair, Giovanna Mingarelli. “This campaign shows us how easy it is to love oneself, others and the world in really simple ways, from donating food to voting on election day.”
The event featured influencers and the work of creative change makers, including: international singer, song writer, Morris Hayes; internationally acclaimed entertainment for impact innovators, LembasWorks Co-Founder & Founder of Quest, Tara Baswani; visual artist, writer, filmmaker and curator, Assinajaq Weetaluktuk; artist and youth role model with Inclusion in Northern Research, Theodore (Ted) Thompson; Global Dignity International Council of Advisors, human rights activist and Ms World America, Cassandra Wallace; Executive Director of the Centre for Global Education, Terry Godwaldt; and Co-founder of TakingITGlobal, Jennifer Corriero, to name a few.
“We all have gifts and we as Indigenous youth inherently carry inter-generational strength, resiliency and knowledge,” said Katelynn Herchak, an Inuk role model with expertise in justice studies, Indigenous knowledge, governance and decolonization.
Generous event sponsors included: TakingItGlobal, the Centre for Global Education, Global Groove for Peace, LembasWorks, Pondstone Digital Marketing, M&C Consulting, Hello Friday Marketing and Communications, Ard Financial Group, and MC2, Inc. AlixPartners also kindly offered their office space to host the Global Dignity Board Chair.
Co-founded at the World Economic Forum by HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant and author and philosopher Pekka Himanen, Global Dignity teaches the concept of dignity—every person’s equal and inherent value—to promote inclusion, equality and a greater sense of our shared humanity. Since 2006, the organization has reached over 4 million young people around the globe.