Our Story – Global Dignity Co-Founders

“We started out as three rather strange and individual human beings (one professor, one crown prince and one natural entrepreneur) who met through the network of Young Global Leaders. Yes, we know, pretty pretentious name.

We thought we were really cool and figured out that dignity was a surprisingly good tool to communicate to kids about who they are and who they might aspire to be.

Our spouses did not think we were cool enough to pull this off. But we went and did it anyway.

Co-Founders (Photo: Global Dignity)

Luckily also others believed in the idea, and because of their hard work the concept spread. Now we have more than 40 Country Chairs with thousands of volunteers around the world. We have six organizational partners. They incorporate our concept and activities into their own organizations.

Thanks to dedication of all these awesome people we have reached more than 1 million kids to date.

This has been possible for one reason and one reason only:

Our Dignity Days work.

That is why people want to volunteer again, and ask their friends to do the same. And organizations want to use our tools over and over.

Dignity just happens to rock!”
Pekka, John and Haakon

Global Dignity
Global Dignity Summit 2014 (Photo: Sven Gjeruldsen)

The Global Dignity Organization

We are an autonomous, non-profit, non-critism and non-partisan international group of heroes and sheroes. We wish to inspire, commend and encourage people to be awesome to themselves and to each others.

We believe in taking young people seriously by engaging and enabling conversations about dignity.

While we are an international organization active in more than 60 countries around the world, this webpage is focused specifically on the activities in the US.

For more information about Global Dignity, please visit www.globaldignity.org

Why dignity?

We believe every human being has a right to lead a dignified life, and that we all have a common responsibility, and opportunity, to strengthen the dignity of others. The magic part is that by doing this, you at the same time enhance your own dignity.

We believe that dignity should the foundation for human interaction.

We believe that human souls search for their better selves, and that the principle of dignity can be a tool for finding just that. For doing just so.

We believe the idea of dignity encourages us to hear the beating of our hearts.

Dignity Principles

We have developed five dignity principles that guide our work:

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

Dignity Day

We have developed a two-hour lesson for youth to talk about values, that we call Dignity Day. These sessions can be held on any day throughout the year.

During these sessions we ask each other to tell our own dignity stories so that we can make values relevant to our everyday lives.

Dignity stories are a way of making values relevant.Participants share their own dignity stories to help shape their understanding for our common humanity.

Dignity works for everyone. For children, youth and adults alike. It works in our everyday life and as a universal principle. Dignity unites us.

The third Wednesday in October we do this all around the world. We call it Global Dignity Day.

Dignity-Day-SogndalDignity Day event (Photo: May-Tone Feten Høyheim)




Global Dignity was founded by HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland, and Mr. John Hope Bryant of the US.


HRH Crown Pince Haakon of Norway

HRH Crown Pince Haakon of Norway

His Royal Highness is heir to the Norwegian throne and son of His Majesty King Harald and Her Majesty Queen Sonja. He served in the Royal Norwegian Navy and graduated from the Norwegian Naval Academy in 1995. The following year, he served on board a patrol boat. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.

He also attended the Foreign Ministry’s one-year trainee course. The Crown Prince has an extensive number of official engagements in Norway. He is patron of various Norwegian associations, including the Norwegian International Film Festival, the Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association and Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. The Crown Prince is Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme, where he particularly focuses on promoting the Millennium Developmental Goals.

Pekka Himanen

Pekka Himanen

Pekka Himanen is a Philosopher and currently teaches as a Professor at the Helsinki Institute of Information Technology. He previously was Director of the Berkeley Centre for the Information Society.

His works have been translated into 20 languages. He has recently acted as an Adviser to the Finnish Parliament and President as well as leading international organizations on the issues of global information societies and ethics. Himanen currently works at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, a joint institute of the Helsinki University of Technology and Helsinki University.

John Hope Bryant

John Hope Bryant


A natural entrepreneur, John Hope Bryant became a businessman early in life with a modest, but life changing, $40 investment from his mother in his first business idea at the age of 10. John Hope Bryant is a ‘silver rights’ entrepreneur and businessman, author, thought leader, philanthropist and the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Ventures. Bryant has been an advisor to the last three sitting U.S. presidents, whose work has been recognized by the last five (5) U.S. presidents.  On February 26, 2014, Bryant was appointed by President Obama to serve on his new U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, focused on the next generation of young leaders.

Mr. Bryant is the only bestselling author on economics in the world today who happens to also be African-American. How The Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding The Path to the Middle Class (Barrett-Koehler) was selected as the Best Business Book for Economics & Finance for 2014 by 800-CEOREAD, the Best Business Book for Sustainability in 2014 by Business+Strategy, and as one of the Essence Magazine Top 10 Best Books for 2014. Bryant is a TIME Magazine 50 (Leaders) for the Future (1994′ cover story), and an Oprah’s Angel Network award recipient. FULL BIO