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.