Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict

New Haven, Connecticut, UNITED STATES

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Aug. 30, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This important book is the first to explore the common human desire for dignity and the consequences when dignity is either violated or honored, offering guidelines to help individuals and communities understand the power of dignity and how it can lead to a more peaceful world


"This book is a must read for those who want to experience peace in their everyday lives and peace in the world around them. Without an understanding of dignity, there is no hope for such change. If you want to find the weak links in a democracy, look for where people are suffering. You will most likely see a variety of violations. If you want peace, be sure everyone's dignity is intact." — Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

What is the motivating force behind all human interaction – in families, in communities, in the business world, and in relationships from the personal level to the international level? DIGNITY. It is the desire to be treated well. It is an unspoken human yearning that is at the heart of all conflicts, yet no one is paying attention to it.

When dignity is violated, the response is likely to involve aggression, even violence, hatred, and vengeance; the human connection is the first thing to go. On the other hand, when people treat each others with dignity, they feel their worth is recognized, creating lasting and meaningful relationships. Surprisingly, most people have little understanding of DIGNITY. While a desire for dignity is universal, knowing how to honor it in ourselves and others is not.

DIGNITY: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict (Yale University Press, Sept. 6, 2011), by Donna Hicks, PhD, psychologist and Associate at Harvard University, examines the reasons for this gap and offers a new set of strategies for becoming aware of dignity's vital role in our lives and learning to put dignity into practice in everyday interactions.

In response to years of research and observation – in life and in managing international crisis – Hicks has developed the "Dignity Model," an approach to help people understand the role dignity plays in our lives and relationships. It is the missing link to understanding conflict: our failure to recognize how vulnerable humans are to being treated as if they didn't matter. On the other hand, the model leaves us with a reassuring truth: when we honor someone's dignity, we strengthen our own.

DIGNITY outlines the three significant parts of the Dignity Model:

  • Part I: The Ten Essential Elements of Dignity. This section defines and illustrates how to implement the ten ways to honor dignity in ourselves and others. These elements are the building blocks of functional, healthy relationships. (Acceptance of identity, inclusion, safety, fairness, etc…)
  • Part II: The Ten Temptations to Violate Dignity. These are traps that aspects of our evolutionary legacy have set for us, putting us at risk of violating our own and others' dignity. (Taking the bait, saving face, being the victim, etc…)
  • Part III: How to Heal Relationships with Dignity. This section illustrates how to use the power of dignity to rebuild a broken relationship and promote reconciliation. It also offers an alternative to forgiveness to promote reconciliation, enabling the parties on either side to repair their relationships by extending dignity to each other.

Hicks illustrates that "If indignity tears us apart then dignity can put us back together again."

For more information about DIGNITY or to arrange an interview, please contact Newman Communications, (617) 254-4500, Tess.Woods@newmancom.com or Shirley.Sandler@newmancom.com.

About the Author: Donna Hicks, PhD, is an Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. In addition to teaching conflict resolution at Harvard, Clark and Columbia Universities, Dr. Hicks has spent nearly two decades in the field of international conflict resolution facilitating dialogue between communities in conflict in the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Cuba, and Northern Ireland. She was a consultant to the BBC where she co-facilitated a television series, Facing the Truth, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which aired in the United Kingdom and on BBC World in 2007. Dr. Hicks also works as a consultant to corporations and organizations, applying her dignity model to everyday business and relational situations. She lives in Boston, MA.

Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict, by Donna Hicks, Ph.D.
Price: $27.50 * ISBN: 978-0-300-16392-6 Cloth * eBook ISBN: 978-0-300-16638-5 * 240 pages
Publication date: September 6, 2011

Brenda King

Publicity Director

Yale University Press

(203) 432-0917


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