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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Illinois Leadership Competencies: Community/Society: Human Dignity

What is Human Dignity?

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world ... Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere."

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Human Dignity is the belief that all people are worthwhile. Inside this ideology is the concept that there are basic human rights which deserve to be protected. A competent leader not only recognizes this belief, but makes decisions which further and respect other people's rights. By understanding more about what makes any one human part of the greater Homo sapiens species, you are creating a better world. Leaders who push against these values do not form community or societies. Leaders who don't believe in the worth of other humans fall into their own arrogance. Once you write off certain people as having less or no value, then it becomes a matter of time before others lose that same value. 

Books on Human Dignity

How Does Human Dignity Ground Human Rights by Jack Donnelly

Fiction and Films on Human Dignity