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Social Issues
Global Dignity Day: Inspiring A New Generation Of The World’s Children To Treat Everyone With Respec
October 17, 2012
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No matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you're facing in life, one thing we all treasure is our dignity.

As Nelson Mandela once said "Any man or institution that tries to rob me of my dignity will lose."

That's the spirit of Global Dignity Day, which is being celebrated today for the 5th year in a row, in 50 countries around the world - including Canada.

Organizers say the message is simple - "In a world where it seems no-one agrees on anything, a world where politics divides, religion divides, and race and even cultural borders seem to divide, dignity is something that everyone can agree on."

So today, leaders and role models are joining thousands of volunteers to take part in Dignity Days - speaking to young people in schools across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

We're talking about 350,000 students around the world, hosting schoolwide or classroom events.

In this country alone, more than 50 schools have registered with nearly 9,000 students participating.

Global Dignity Day Canada is also hosting a national video conference event on Parliament Hill. It will link more than 1,200 students from across the country who are taking part in the day's celebrations.

You watch the video conference from 11:00-1:00 pm ET by clicking here.

The idea is to create a new sense of value in today's youth and empower them with dignity, as they mature into adults.

As part of the campaign, Global Dignity Day Canada has released nine short videos narrated by national role models talking about the importance of treating everyone with dignity.

Here's a trailer.

Canada's Global Dignity Day role models include: Conservative Senator Yonah Martin; NDP MP Niki Ashton; Liberal MP Justin Trudeau; TakingITGlobal Founder Jennifer Corriero; traditional Inuit researcher, Curtis Konek; Founder of Ryan's Well, Ryan Hreljac; Founder of Northernstarfish, Wesley Prankard; and Tibetan monk and scientist, Matthieu Ricard.

Many of them will be at the parliament hill event today, and their videos will be aired in classrooms across the country. Here's a few of them.

All the videos are available online, and schools can find out more information here.

Global Dignity Day is an initiative created by the Young Global Leaders community through The World Economic Forum.

This past March, the Forum named George one of its Young Global Leaders - all of whom are chosen for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world.

Even though today is officially Global Dignity Day, organizers encourage schools or youth centres to hold a dignity day anytime.

They say there is no one "right" way to celebrate - every country, school and classroom can find its own unique way to talk about dignity.

But organizers have put together some basic tools to help people get started. They say a typical Dignity Day session runs about two hours.

The leaders or role models start out by telling their story about dignity. Then, students are asked to define dignity in their own words and tell their own stories in front of the class.

Finally, they write a letter to themselves saying what they want to achieve for themselves and others through dignity.

A year later, the letters are sent back to the students.

And by the way, the role models aren't necessarily celebrities or even famous. They can be anyone, from any walk of life, who might inspire young people.

One last quote for you, from Michael J. Fox...

"One's dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered."

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