WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: Dignity by Donna Hicks (Author) and Desmond Tutu (Foreword)

Dr Donna Hicks is part of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. She has been involved in many large-scale international conflicts, working alongside people like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Elders.

In this book, she introduces her work on the role dignity plays in healing and reconciling relationships in conflict. She explains how so much conflict is based on violations to our sense of value and worth – our dignity. She sets out ten essential elements of dignity: (1) Acceptance of identity, (2) Inclusion, (3) Safety, (4) Acknowledgement, (5) Recognition, (6) Fairness, (7) Benefit of the doubt, (😎 Understanding, (9) Independence, and (10) Accountability. She then shows how we can violate these aspects of our own and others’ dignity. She describes ten temptations to violate dignity, including taking the bait, saving face, shirking responsibility, seeking false dignity, seeking false security, avoiding conflict, being the victim, resisting feedback, blaming and shaming others and engaging in false intimacy. Importantly, she also teaches the steps we can take to heal relationships with dignity. The book includes many case studies and examples, ranging from large international conflicts to daily dignity violations individuals face in their work and communities.

She has also written a follow up book Leading With Dignity: How to create a culture that brings out the best in people, that’s definitely on my list of books to read in the future.

Thanks to our CLP member Kieran Plasto for recommending this book to me!

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