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Hey Canada: It’s Global Dignity Day
October 16, 2013
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Global Dignity Day 2013 (Logo: Global Dignity Day Canada/Photo: NASA/Getty)

Global Dignity Day, a celebration that takes place each year on October 16, was founded on the idea that "every human being has the universal right to lead a dignified life." The day features events in more than 50 countries around the world, including Canada, designed to help youth and adults be their best and help others do the same. 

One goal of Dignity Day is bringing youths into contact with role models who aim to "instill a positive, inclusive and interconnected sense of value in young people that will guide them as they grow." 

For 2013, Canadian role models across the country ("from Nunavut to British Columbia," the Global Dignity Canada site says) will be joined by thousands of volunteers to work on this year's theme: "the many faces of dignity."

Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau, Health Minister the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Caitlin Tolley, Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party Megan Leslie, Mohamed Sidibay and many others are taking part in this year's event.To learn more about some of the role models taking part in this year's day, check out the Canadian Faces of Dignity page.

One event taking place today is a live-streamed video conference from Parliament Hill, featuring Andrew Bennett, Canada's Ambassador for Religious Freedom and some guest parliamentarians. The stream will connect seven schools across the country and engage over 2,000 students.

Established in 2005 and first celebrated in 2006, Global Dignity Day was created by three friends: HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant and Professor Pedda Himanen. They met at the World Economic Forum, where they were being honoured as Young Global Leaders.

According to the Global Dignity Day site, the three "realized that the one thing that everyone in the world could agree on, irrespective of their differences is: we all want our Dignity to be recognized." 

Here are the five principles of Global Dignity Day:

  1. Every human being has a right to lead a dignified life.
  2. A dignified life means an opportunity to fulfil one’s potential, which is based on having a humane level of health care, education, income and security.
  3. Dignity means having the freedom to make decisions on one’s life and to be met with respect for this right.
  4. Dignity should be the basic guiding principle for all actions.
  5. Ultimately, our own dignity is interdependent with the dignity of others.

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