Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies

Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, Global Education Magazine 2013

We are a global transdisciplinary network and fellowship of concerned academics and practitioners. We wish to stimulate systemic change, globally and locally, to open space for dignity and mutual respect and esteem to take root and grow, thus ending humiliating practices and breaking cycles of humiliation throughout the world. 

We suggest that a frame of cooperation and shared humility is necessary – not a mindset of humiliation – if we wish to build a better world, a world of equal dignity for all.

We are currently around 1,000 personally invited members, with more than 2,000 more people supporting our work, and our website is being accessed by ca. 40,000 people from more than 180 countries per year. A new educational initiative emerging from the network is World Dignity University (WDU) to which anyone interested in educating on dignity can contribute ideas for curriculum development.

If you wish, please see here a short welcome video clip, see the status of 2013 as a collection of pictures and a brief overview, and then enter our website in more depth here, or through the links on the upper left side of this page. See our calendar of events. On 24th June 2011, we launched the World Dignity University Initiative.

• When you click on the picture, you see the 21st Annual Conference of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies, with the title ‘Search for Dignity’, at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, 24th-27th April 2013.
• Welcome to our 22nd Annual Conference in New York City in December 2013!

Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS), Global Education Magazine

The education branch of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS) aims to increase our understanding of the negative consequences of humiliation and generate support of alternative approaches that promote human dignity. We have therefore begun in 2010 to form a World Dignity University.

We wish to disseminate the research findings related to dignity (with humiliation as its violation) to a wide variety of audiences. Thereby we wish to contribute to the capacity of people to build peaceful societies and be mindful of how humiliation may disrupt the social fabric and how social cohesion may be sustained by preventing humiliation from occurring.

HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into “real life.” Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, “I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice.” We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.

The World Dignity University initiative is strongly committed to:

•  focusing on questions such as (by Kamran Mofid, December 27, 2010): What is education? What is knowledge? What is wisdom?What is a University? What is the source of true happiness and well-being? What is the good life? What is genuine wealth? How can we contribute to creating the new civilization for the common good? See more here.

•  making sure the development of the WDU is globally inclusive

•  avoiding duplication of the achievements of others who have already worked with similar issues.

Rather than competing with existing institutions, our goal is to join hands in the spirit of mutual respect and equality in dignity to create something much more powerful than what we would accomplish if we worked independently. We already have connections with highly regarded academic institutions through our network of scholars on our Global Advisory Board.

•  respecting unity in diversity: The views expressed on this website, as in any of the HumanDHS publications, do not represent any official HumanDHS position. All HumanDHS publications present the views and research findings of the individual researchers, educators, and authors, with the aim of promoting the development of ideas and discussion about major concerns of human dignity and humiliation studies and related fields.

•  diverse online courses/seminars/talks/workshops will be shaped by the members of our various teams and boards, particularly our Education Team members, with their diverse expertise and approaches, supplemented with face-to-face gatherings, for example, at our annual meetings.

Please see:
•  The Pdf file of the description of the World Dignity University initiative.
•  “Humiliation in the Academic Setting”: A Special Symposium Issue

Why have we decided to turn to Norway for the launch of the World Dignity University initiative, which is multi-local and global, intentionally designed to be without a headquarters. (The launch of our World Dignity University initiative takes place on 24th June 2011 at the University of Oslo in Norway, 10.00-12.00, Klubben, 2nd floor, University Library Georg Sverdrups House, Blindern. Video-participation is available for those who cannot join in person in Oslo.)
This is the reason: Norway is one of the few places in the world from where a culture of equality in dignity can be launched in a credible manner. Likeverd is a Norwegian cultural heritage, unlike in almost all other countries in the world, where hierarchy, or inequality in dignity, characterizes cultural history. Already neighboring Sweden has a much more hierarchical culture than Norway. The likeverd ideal is a resource that Norway has, and this resource is essential if we want to cooperate globally. And a resource entails responsibility. Thus, Norway has a responsibility to bring the ideal of equality in dignity to the world. The likeverd ideal is visible in many contexts in Norway. The Scandinavian model of economy (see, for example, ESOP research) deserves more attention in the rest of the world. Gender equality is achieved to a higher degree in Norway than in most of the rest of the world, including the regions of Europe that share the same Protestant background as Norway. One of the best research centers on Europe is located in Norway (see ARENA; the subsidiarity principle is important to realize equality in dignity and this is applied, among others, by the European Union). These are just a few examples. It is very fitting to launch the World Dignity University when the University of Oslo celebrates its 200 years jubilee. The University of Oslo was planned 200 years ago with an extremely high level of ambition, which speaks to the level of ambition of the World Dignity University. See “”Kunne fått verdens mest moderne universitet” at



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