On October 10, the State College and Penn State communities came together to reflect on and celebrate dignity at PA Dignity Day, the local celebration of Global Dignity Day. This year, several town-and-gown events took place throughout the day to provide opportunities for diverse audiences to learn about and engage in conversations rooted in dignity. In total, more than 200 people participated in PA Dignity Day.
Dignity is our inherent value and worth as human beings; everyone is born with it.
“Dignity in Divided Times” Luncheon
Dr. Donna Hicks, creator of the dignity model, facilitated a luncheon held at the State College Municipal Building for borough employees, community leaders, and Penn State students, faculty, and staff to provide global techniques that can be used for managing local dynamics.
Following the lunch, a group conversation took place that further explored how the principles of dignity can be applied to unique situations in our community and the positive impact that addressing dignity can have on communities as a whole. Work also began on a collaborative, interactive mosaic that was pieced together throughout the day by attendees.
Dr. Hicks is an expert conflict mediator who has worked around the world with groups such as the United Nations, Harvard, and the BBC. She is the author of Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict and has mediated a wide range of global conflicts alongside leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Later in the day, a community-wide dialogue took place in downtown State College at MLK Plaza, along with music and offerings from local food trucks. Participants discussed local topics using the dignity model in a world café–style setting. As one attendee recalled the evening, the discussions “gave participants the opportunity to truly connect and see each other as people rather than impersonal ideologies that often cause a divide in our communities.”
Putting Dignity into Action
Through partnership with Dr. Donna Hicks and Global Dignity, a number of resources are available free of charge to anyone interested in learning more about the dignity model and how to put it into action.
- Global Dignity Day website — Learn more about how to share in the Global Dignity Day celebration
- Harvard Law Program on Negotiation — Discover how conflicts can be resolved by addressing dignity concerns
- Dignity Phrases (PDF) — Key phrases to use to help diffuse tensions during difficult conversations
- The Dignity Index (PDF) — A measurement tool to understand how language choices can incite conflict
- Ten Essential Elements of Dignity — The components of the dignity model
- Ten Temptations to Violate Dignity — Common ways that dignity is violated
Become part of the global community embracing dignity by taking The Dignity Pledge:
“I pledge to join with others to create a world where compassion, understanding and love triumph over intolerance, injustice and inequality. I pledge to be kind and open-minded, honoring the unique gifts and value of others.”
PA Dignity Day Student Project
WPSU intern Sydney Wetzel created a digital short about the community-wide dialogue event as part of WPSU’s “short digital stories highlighting the arts, culture, science, and activities in central Pennsylvania and beyond.”