Learning about Dignity is a journey into the light of the world.

Learning about Dignity is a journey into the light of the world.



Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflicts

Dignity is an internal state of peace that comes with the recognition and acceptance of the value and vulnerability of all living things.

Dr Donna Hicks by Steve Bennett

About Donna Hicks

Dr. Donna Hicks is an Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University and the former Deputy Director of the Program on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution (PICAR). She facilitated dialogues in numerous unofficial diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Colombia, Cuba, Libya and Syria. She was a consultant to the BBC in Northern Ireland, where she co-facilitated a television series, Facing the Truth, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. She has taught courses in conflict resolution at Harvard and Columbia Universities and conducts seminars in the US and abroad on dignity leadership training and on the role dignity plays in resolving conflict. She consults to corporations, governments, schools, churches, and non-governmental organizations. Her book, Dignity: It’s Essential Role in Resolving Conflict, was published by Yale University Press in 2011. Her second book, Leading with Dignity: How to Create a Culture That Brings Out the Best in People, was published by Yale University Press in August 2018.

Books by Donna

Dignity - Donna Hicks_pb

The desire for dignity is universal and powerful. It is a motivating force behind all human interaction—in families, in communities, in the business world, and in relationships at the international level. When dignity is violated, the response is likely to involve aggression, even violence, hatred, and vengeance. On the other hand, when people treat one another with dignity, they become more connected and are able to create more meaningful relationships. Surprisingly, most people have little understanding of dignity, observes Donna Hicks in this important book. She 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 life.

Drawing on her extensive experience in international conflict resolution and on insights from evolutionary biology, psychology, and neuroscience, Hicks explains what the elements of dignity are, how to recognize dignity violations, how to respond when we are not treated with dignity, how dignity can restore a broken relationship, why leaders must understand the concept of dignity, and more. Hicks shows that by choosing dignity as a way of life, we open the way to greater peace within ourselves and to a safer and more humane world for all.

Leading with Dignity - Donna Hicks

What every leader needs to know about dignity and how to create a culture in which everyone thrives

This landmark book from an expert in dignity studies explores the essential but under-recognized role of dignity as part of good leadership. Extending the reach of her award-winning book Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict, Donna Hicks now contributes a specific, practical guide to achieving a culture of dignity.

Most people know very little about dignity, the author has found, and when leaders fail to respect the dignity of others, conflict and distrust ensue. She highlights three components of leading with dignity: what one must know in order to honor dignity and avoid violating it; what one must do to lead with dignity; and how one can create a culture of dignity in any organization, whether corporate, religious, governmental, healthcare, or beyond. Brimming with key research findings, real-life case studies, and workable recommendations, this book fills an important gap in our understanding of how best to be together in a conflict-ridden world.

Praise for Donna's Works

“This book is a must read for those who want to experience peace in their everyday lives and peace in the world around them.”

—Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Dignity

“In this insightful, wise, and practical book, illustrated by powerful examples, Donna Hicks explains why dignity is so important and what we can do about it.”

—William Ury, co-author of Getting to Yes and author of The Third Side on Dignity

“With lucid and persuasive scholarship, Donna Hicks discusses a topic relevant for everyone: the desire to be treated well. Dignity is a must-read.”

—G. A. Bradshaw, The Kerulos Center and author of Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us About Humanity on Dignity

“Donna Hicks articulates for business leaders not only a grand concept but also a practical framework for strengthening corporate culture.”

—Kenneth C. Frazier, Chairman and CEO, Merck & Co., Inc. on Leading with Dignity

“This ‘how-to’ sparks the scaling of dignity within and across us to strengthen human and social capacity. A gift to give and get.”

—Dana Born, Co-Director of the Center for Public Leadership, Harvard University on Leading with Dignity

“Nothing short of a landmark publication that will change and influence the public conversation on how we organize and manage.”

—Michael Pirson, Fordham University on Leading with Dignity


If your company or organization is in need of inspiring keynote or workshop, Dr. Donna Hicks, Ph.D., can deliver the message that will heal conflict and unify employees around their common identity. Her two decades of experience using dignity to resolve conflict, between people and nations, in the U.S., Columbia, Middle East, Sri Lanka, Cuba, and Northern Ireland, serve as the foundation for her insightful presentations and workshops. She reveals the profound truth about human nature and relationships, enabling you to:

  • Create a culture of dignity, social justice, and personal accountability
  • Heal workplace conflict in a safe and productive manner
  • Facilitate positive relationships at an individual, group, and organizational level
  • Transform business policies and common practices
  • Develop leadership practices that embody the elements of dignity

Contact Donna

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