Global Dignity Canada Celebrates Inaugural National Kindness Week With Students Across Canada

February 17, 2022 – Yesterday, Global Dignity Canada continued their celebrations of Canada’s inaugural National Kindness Week with a Canada-wide videoconference, connecting students and classrooms from British Columbia to Nova Scotia.

In partnership with the Center for Global Education, the event was attended by over 100 students in 10 classrooms from coast-to-coast-to-coast, and live streamed to hundreds of others across Canada and around the world.

“Kindness is the cultural fabric that enables greater dignity,” said Olivia Bechthold, Executive Director of Global Dignity Canada. “Experts have determined that showing kindness changes the brain, and that selfless acts of giving provide physical and emotional benefits needed for a well-rounded individual. This is why it is essential for children to learn kindness early on.”

Students who participated in yesterday’s event ranged in age from 6 to 12, and shared their definition of kindness and visions for a kinder world. Students offered their suggestions for acts of kindness which included everything from sharing a smile or hug, to anti-bully and anti-discrimination.

The event also included a keynote address from Yasir Naqvi, MP for Ottawa Center, who has been a champion of Kindness Week in Ottawa, and Canada, for more than a decade. Mr. Yaqvi shared many stories of kindness, including speaking about Rabbi Reuven Bulka, the inspiration for Canada’s National Kindness Week, and telling students about the first friend he made when immigrating to Canada as a child.

“I can’t stop smiling seeing all these beautiful children from across the country”, Mr. Naqvi said, telling students “you are taking part in something so exciting, something so unique.”

Bill S-223, the Kindness Week Act, received Royal Assent on June 3, 2021 to become law in Canada, designating the third week in February as National Kindness Week. The inspiration for this bill, the late Rabbi Reuven Bulka, founder of Kind Canada, started the first Kindness Week in Ottawa 14 years ago, and with the passing of this bill, Canada is now the first country in the world to observe a National Kindness Week.

Co-founded at the World Economic Forum by HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant and author and philosopher Pekka Himanen, Global Dignity teaches the concept of dignity—every person’s equal and inherent value—to promote inclusion, equality, kindness and a greater sense of our shared humanity. Since 2006, the organization has reached over 4 million young people around the globe.

A full recording of the videoconference event is available here.

Canada Celebrates Inaugural National Kindness Week With Inspiring Press Conference

February 17, 2022 – On Tuesday, February 15, Global Dignity Canada convened political figures, partners and friends for a virtual press conference to kick-off Canada’s inaugural National Kindness Week.

Introduced as a private members bill by Senator Jim Munson, Bill S-223, the Kindness Week Act, received Royal Assent on June 3, 2021 to become law in Canada, designating the third week in February as National Kindness Week.

The press conference included remarks from Senator Munson, as well as Michael Barrett Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, and Emmanuella Lambropoulos, Member of Parliament for Saint-Laurent, who were both instrumental in passing the Kindness Week legislation through the House of Commons.

The press conference was moderated by Giovanna Mingarelli, Chair of Global Dignity Canada and Jeff Turner, Senior Manager, Indigenous Partnerships and Special Projects at Algonquin College and former Vice President of Kind Canada, and included remarks from Shmuel Bulka, son of the late Rabbi Reuven Bulka, founder of Kind Canada, and Jamie Bell, Manitoba Chair, Global Dignity Canada.

The inspiration for the Kindness Act bill, the late Rabbi Reuven Bulka, founder of Kind Canada, started the first Kindness Week in Ottawa 14 years ago. “For my father, making kindness week national was never the end – it was a means to the end,” said Schmuel Bulka, speaking of his father Rabbi Bulka, “the goal was to create a kinder Canada, a kinder world.”

With the adoption of Bill S-223, Canada is now the first country in the world to pass kindness week legislation. “Imagine being the first country in the world to have a kindness week. Imagine the possibilities of more acts of kindness in our homes, in our schools, in our institutions and in the private sector,” said Senator Jim Munson, who introduced the legislation. “Now more than ever we need acts of kindness and empathy.”

The timeliness of Canada’s first National Kindness Week, among the ongoing turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, was a common theme among press conference speakers. “It is the perfect time for Canadians across all walks of life to take a moment and to try to empathize and be kind to folks they might have disagreements with,” said Michael Barrett, continuing with the importance of Canadians, “to carry on in that spirit of kindness and community that has seen us through the pandemic that we’ve experienced, and continue to experience.”

Speaking to her inspiration to support the Kindness Week Act, Emmanuella Lambropoulos explained, “when it was introduced to me I jumped on the occasion to push this forward as soon as possible,” continuing with “I knew that this aligned perfectly with my values and that this would help make Canada a better place for everyone.”

Closing out the series of speakers, Jamie Bell left attendees with a sense of inspiration for a kinder future, stating “today, let’s continue to honour Rabbi Bulka’s vision by working together to support those new beginnings for this next generation. Thank you all for supporting the hard work that went into creating this National Kindness Week legislation, and for the exciting and inspiring experiences that I’m sure we’re going to see in the years to come.” He closed his remarks with the profound quote, “this year is the first time, next year it will be a tradition.”

A full recording of the press conference is available here.

Press Conference to Celebrate Canada’s Inaugural National Kindness Week

Ottawa, February 10, 2022 – From February 18-25, 2022, Canada will observe the inaugural National Kindness Week. Introduced as a private members bill by Senator Jim Munson, Bill S-223, the Kindness Week Act, received Royal Assent on June 3, 2021 to become law in Canada, designating the third week in February as National Kindness Week.

What: Press conference to celebrate Canada’s inaugural National Kindness Week.

When: February 15, 2022 – 9:00 am ET

Where: Zoom

Dial-in details: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81178274133

Who: The press conference will be moderated by Jeff Turner, former Vice President of Kind Canada and Global Dignity Champion, and Giovanna Mingarelli, Chair of Global DignityCanada.

The event will also include remarks from:

  • Shmuel Bulka, son of the late Rabbi Reuven Bulka, Founder of Kind Canada
  • Senator Jim Munson, who introduced the Kindness Week Act
  • Conservative Member of Parliament, Michael Barett, Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes
  • Liberal Member of Parliament for Saint-Laurent, Emmanuella Lambropoulos
  • Jamie Bell, Manitoba Chair, Global Dignity Canada

The inspiration for the Kindness Act bill, the late Rabbi Reuven Bulka, founder of Kind Canada, started the first Kindness Week in Ottawa 14 years ago, and with the passing of this bill, Canada is now the first country in the world to pass such legislation.

Global Dignity Day Celebrated by One Million Students in 80 Countries

October 20, 2021 – Today thousands of students and young leaders in Canada gathered to celebrate Global Dignity Day alongside one million of their peers in 80 countries. The keynote speakers of the day included Global Dignity Co-Founder, HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Co-Founder of the Malala Fund, Mr. Ziauddin Yusafzai and Inuk Role Model, Katelynn Herchak.

“At its core, dignity is about the value of every human life. It is the key to building understanding across the things that might seem to divide us. The colour of our skin, our gender, sexual orientation, religion or where we come from,” said Crown Prince Haakon of Norway in a video message.

This year’s global event, hosted by TakingITGlobal and the Queen Elizabeth Center for Global Education, linked participants from 10 sites in nine countries through a live video-conference.

The participating sites included:

  • AlixPartners, London, United Kingdom
  • TakingITGlobal, Toronto, Canada
  • Agrupamento de Escolas Dr Alberto Iria, Olhão, Portugal
  • Dr. Binnaz Ege Dr. Rıdvan Ege Anatolian High School, Ankara, Turkey
  • Colegio Humanístico Costarricense Campus Nicoya, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
  • Colégio Magno, São Paulo, Brazil
  • Colegio San Nicolás & The Global School, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • St. Austin’s Academy, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Government Model Secondary School Jikwoyi, Abuja, Nigeria
  • Queen Elizabeth High School, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

“We can’t achieve the worthy goal of securing every human being’s dignity without respecting their identity,” said Co-founder of the Malala Fund, Mr. Ziauddin Yusafzai. “It is our governments’ responsibility to introduce and implement laws that guarantee every citizen’s right to equal dignity irrespective of their class, colour, faith, ethnicity and gender. More importantly, as a community we can’t protect the dignity of our fellow human beings without building a strong culture of kindness and compassion.”

The theme of the event focused on identity and kindness, with an effort to invite students to build inclusive global communities rooted in kindness. This theme builds on Global Dignity’s ongoing #UniteKindness campaign, which aggregates and showcases kindness campaigns around the world.

Since the launch of the #UniteKindness campaign in May of 2020, over 2 million acts of kindness have been aggregated across 40 kindness campaigns. It also includes special projects such as Time to Pause by acclaimed photographer and member of Global Dignity’s International Council of Advisors, Alistair Morrison; and KindWorlds and Quest, designed and executed by LembasWorks.

“Kindness is the cultural fabric that enables greater dignity,” said Global Dignity Board Chair and Canadian Country Chair, Giovanna Mingarelli. “This campaign shows us how easy it is to love oneself, others and the world in really simple ways, from donating food to voting on election day.”

The event featured influencers and the work of creative change makers, including: international singer, song writer, Morris Hayes; internationally acclaimed entertainment for impact innovators, LembasWorks Co-Founder & Founder of Quest, Tara Baswani; visual artist, writer, filmmaker and curator, Assinajaq Weetaluktuk; artist and youth role model with Inclusion in Northern Research, Theodore (Ted) Thompson; Global Dignity International Council of Advisors, human rights activist and Ms World America, Cassandra Wallace; Executive Director of the Centre for Global Education, Terry Godwaldt; and Co-founder of TakingITGlobal, Jennifer Corriero, to name a few.

“We all have gifts and we as Indigenous youth inherently carry inter-generational strength, resiliency and knowledge,” said Katelynn Herchak, an Inuk role model with expertise in justice studies, Indigenous knowledge, governance and decolonization.

Generous event sponsors included: TakingItGlobal, the Centre for Global Education, Global Groove for Peace, LembasWorks, Pondstone Digital Marketing, M&C Consulting, Hello Friday Marketing and Communications, Ard Financial Group, and MC2, Inc. AlixPartners also kindly offered their office space to host the Global Dignity Board Chair.

Co-founded at the World Economic Forum by HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant and author and philosopher Pekka Himanen, Global Dignity teaches the concept of dignity—every person’s equal and inherent value—to promote inclusion, equality and a greater sense of our shared humanity. Since 2006, the organization has reached over 4 million young people around the globe.

More information and details of the international celebration live stream can be found at: www.globaldignity.ca.

Statement by the Prime Minister on Global Dignity Day

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement to mark Global Dignity Day in Canada:

“Today, students and young people in Canada are marking Global Dignity Day. On this day, we reaffirm that everyone – regardless of who they are or where they come from – deserves a fair and equal chance at success, and acknowledge that together, we still have a lot of work to do in achieving a fairer and more inclusive world.

“This year, the Global Dignity movement’s #UniteKindness campaign aims to connect young people around the world through positive actions during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign is also a reminder to be kind to one’s self and to others. Demonstrating that by being there for others and by showing compassion, and recognizing everyone’s worth, we can appreciate that everybody deserves dignity – no matter their identity, beliefs, or circumstances.

» Read the full statement on pm.gc.ca

Youth celebrate Global Dignity with inclusive international kitchen party

Today students and young leaders from Canada, the United States, Finland, Kenya, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Pakistan, gathered to celebrate Global Dignity Day with a good old-fashioned virtual Acadian kitchen party.

More than one hundred locations of students participated in the event via the YouTube live-stream.

“The voices of our living ecosystems led by future generations rising together in a quest for shared dialogue and harmony; this, to me, is the sound of global dignity and today, we start to orchestrate it together, as one family,”

Tara Baswani

“Our international Canadian kitchen party celebrated three things: music, food and dignity,” said Terry Godwaldt, Global Dignity National Event Chair, Executive Director for The Center for Global Education and lead singer of the east coast Fiddle Street Band. “These are three life forces that flow through every human. Sustaining us, nourishing us and binding all of humanity as a family.”

Read the full article on NorthernInclusion.ca

Global Dignity Day in Canada Celebrated with International Kitchen Party

Today students and young leaders from Canada, the United States, Kenya, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Pakistan, gathered to celebrate Global Dignity Day with a good old fashioned virtual Acadian kitchen party. Approximately 30,000 students participated in the event via the YouTube live-stream.

“Our international Canadian kitchen party celebrated three things: music, food and dignity,” said Terry Godwaldt, Global Dignity National Event Chair, Executive Director for The Center for Global Education and lead singer of the east coast Fiddle Street Band . “These are three life forces that flow through every human. Sustaining us, nourishing us and binding all of humanity as a family.”

The event linked six elementary and high school sites with influencers and creative change makers via Zoom from the comfort of their kitchens. Participants were invited to play homemade instruments and learn the traditional Canadian Voyageur folk song En roulant from world class musicians.

“I am so delighted to take part in my very first Canadian kitchen party!” said singer songwriter, Morris Hayes, former musical director for the late artist, Prince, and founder of Global Groove for Peace. “This event brings dignity and peace to the world through a globally-infused, modern symphony, masterfully orchestrated by youth across continents.”

The event featured an opening Indigenous prayer of thanksgiving and a performance of The Voice of Freedom by University of Alberta Ph.D. student, Anna Wilson. Global Dignity’s National Role Model and Indigenous Cultural Ambassador, Amy Lacroix, shared her dignity story about cultural inclusion, sacred traditions and the great value of understanding one’s roots.

“I come from a lineage of Sixties Scoop, residential school and foster care survivors,” said Ms. Lacroix. “Learning about my heritage led me to understand where I came from, and how the dignity a person feels can be closely connected to identity. Meeting my family gave me pride in myself knowing that I come from an outstanding nation, and that who I am deserves dignity.”

Established in 2005, by HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant and Professor Pekka Himanen, Global Dignity is linked to the 2020 process of the World Economic Forum, in which leaders from politics, business, academia, and civil society join efforts to improve the state of the world.

Global Dignity is an independent, non-profit, non-political organization with the aim to instill a positive, inclusive and interconnected sense of value in young people that will guide them as they grow, as well as promote the idea that every human being has the universal right to lead a dignified life. The organization supports 3 million youth in 80 countries.

“The voices of our living ecosystems led by future generations rising together in a quest for shared dialogue and harmony; this, to me, is the sound of global dignity and today, we start to orchestrated it together, as one family,” said Tara Baswani, internationally acclaimed performing artist, composer, Co-Founder of entertainment for impact agency, LembasWorks and entertainment innovator for Cirque du Soleil.

Global Dignity Day in Canada Celebrated with Launch of Kindness Campaign

October 21, 2020 – Today Global Dignity Canada is delighted to announce the launch of the 7 Days of Kindness social media campaign.This campaign, launched in honor of Global Dignity Day today, builds on the organization’s existing Unite Kindness initiative, designed for youth striving for a kinder world amidst the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to data from Imaginable Futures and UNICEF last month, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted more than 91 per cent of students worldwide – around 1.5 billion children and young people at its peak in 2020.

Unite Kindness aggregates and showcases kindness campaigns from around the world all in one place. The goal is to make it easy for children and youth to join the extraordinary global kindness movement underway — alive in everyday acts of kindness, communities, workplaces, public spaces, on TV, the internet — and everywhere in between.

Since the launch of the Unite Kindness campaign, over 500,000 acts of kindness have been aggregated across 20 kindness campaigns, with a goal of reaching one million acts of kindness by the end of the year. It is being led internationally by Global Dignity’s Canadian Chair and International Board Member, Giovanna Mingarelli.

“I’m delighted to see the hundreds of thousands of acts of kindness people around the world are sharing everyday,” said Ms. Mingarelli . “ Kindness is an expression of love. This campaign shows us how easy it is to love oneself, others and the world in really simple ways, from painting a rock to voting on election day.”

To participate in Global Dignity Canada’s 7 Days of Kindness campaign, young people are invited to submit a photo or video of an act of kindness, a creative work, or ways they take care of their own physical or emotional wellbeing on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #UniteKindness. These actions could include helping a sibling with homework, playing a sport, painting a rock for the “Kindness Rocks” initiative, or donating food to a local soup kitchen.

The campaign will feature influencers and creative change makers, including: international singer, song writer, Morris Hayes; internationally acclaimed entertainment innovators and LembasWorks Co-Founders Tara Baswani and Remi Lemieux; LembasWorks youth artist Zoe Monast; Athletica Rewards Founder, Angella Goran; Indigenous Cultural Ambassador, Amy Lacroix; and Perttu Polonen, futurist, musician and author, to name a few.

“It’s important to put love and kindness into action: that’s what building inclusive communities is all about!” said Olivia Bechthold, the Executive Director of Global Dignity in Canada.

The 7 Days of Kindness campaign will culminate on October 28th during Global Dignity Canada’s national Global Dignity Day celebrations – a live streamed pan-Canadian kitchen party.

Established in 2005, by HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Operation HOPE Founder, Chairman and CEO John Hope Bryant and Professor Pekka Himanen, Global Dignity is linked to the 2020 process of the World Economic Forum, in which leaders from politics, business, academia, and civil society join efforts to improve the state of the world.

Global Dignity is an independent, non-profit, non-political organization with the aim to instill a positive, inclusive and interconnected sense of value in young people that will guide them as they grow, as well as promote the idea that every human being has the universal right to lead a dignified life. The organization supports 3 million youth in 80 countries.

More information and details of the national celebration live stream can be found at www.globaldignity.ca.