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Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict Hardcover – September 6, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Original, soundly grounded in scholarship, and extremely important and timely!"—Evelin Lindner, Founding President, Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies

(Evelin Lindner 2011-03-03)

"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 Desmond Tutu
(Archbishop Desmond Tutu 2011-04-27)

"No single factor is more critical, yet more neglected, in the successful resolution of conflicts than basic human 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. Highly recommended!."—William Ury, co-author of Getting to Yes and author of The Third Side

(William Ury 2011-05-22)

"This book offers readers insightful observations, vivid illustrations, and practical strategies for anyone who wants to live a life that upholds and promotes the dignity of all people."—Linda M. Hartling, Director, Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies
(Linda M. Hartling 2011-03-04)

"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
(G.A. Bradshaw 2011-05-02)

"Donna Hicks presents an intriguing presentation on the power of dignity in achieving and keeping a certain degree of peace in our lives. . . . anyone who understand the importance of personal feelings and their fuel for conflict should consider Dignity as a powerful advisory and motivational guide."—The Midwest Book Review
(The Midwest Book Review)

Runner-up in General Non-Fiction, 2011 New England Book Festival
(New England Book Festival)

“In this well-organized, thoughtful book, Hicks presents a fascinating look at dignity—a birthright and the baseline for positive human interaction. . . . With its accessible tone, pithy observations and lessons, and Hicks's argument that the ‘quest for dignity is as common in the boardroom as in the bedroom,’ this book is a must-read for all.”—Publishers Weekly
(Publishers Weekly)

"Donna Hicks does not dissappoint. . . . Dignity:  so complex yet so simple. A thoroughly recommended read for all."—Ewa Kremplewska, The Psychologist
(Ewa Kremplewska The Psychologist)

Runner-up for the 2011 New England Book Festival in the General Non-Fiction category. This award is given by the JM Northern Media family of festivals, and sponsored by the Larimar St. Croix Writers Colony, eDivvy, Shophanista and Westside Websites
(General Non-Fiction Award Runner-up New England Book Festival)

Shortlisted for the 2011 Zócalo Public Square Book Prize, as given by Zócalo Public Square
(Zócalo Public Square Book Prize Shortlist Zócalo Public Square)

“The book provides a model for conflict resolution whether in the family, in a school, or between countries. Hicks’ book has the potential to influence personal relationships as well as educational practice. The book is timely, as individuals are seeking stable personal relationships, less bullying, a peaceful world and more cooperative school environments. . . . The book’s readability and organization make it a useful resource for educatorsand administrators.”— DKG News, publication of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, announcing Dignity as winner of DKG’s 2012 Educators Award
  (DKG News)

“A beautifully written and profoundly important book. . . . It should be read and studied by any leader who cares about followers and who wants to elicit his or her employees’ highest level of commitment and contribution.”— Ed Rehkopf, Club Resources International
(Ed Rehkopf Club Resources International)

“I highly recommend the landmark and definitive book Dignity:The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict by Donna Hicks, Ph.D., to anyone seeking an alternative and fresh approach to rebuilding relationships through the mutual honoring of human dignity. This book will change forever your views of how people respond to others, and how that response will enhance and improve all conflict resolution situations.”— Wayne Hurlbert, Blog Business World
(Wayne Hurlbert Blog Business World)

“By helping individuals and groups understand the power of dignity and to learn how to make it a way of life, this book serves as a field guide to the peace we want: peace within us, peace in our relationships, and peace in the safer and more humane world we all wish for.”— The Montreal Review
(The Montreal Review)

2013 Book of the Year, Colorado Conflict Center.
(Book of the Year Colorado Conflict Resolution 2013-04-02)

About the Author

Donna Hicks, Ph.D., is an associate, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. During nearly two decades in the field of international conflict resolution, she has facilitated dialogue between communities in conflict all over the world and has worked as a consultant to corporations and organizations, applying the dignity model. She lives in Watertown, MA.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300163924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300163926
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just finished this wonderful book! As an elementary school administrator, I feel this book could also be describing an essential leadership model and guideline for social living in general. The need to acknowledge the crucial role dignity plays in all aspects of our lives and interactions transends all subcategories. The dignity model should not only be viewed as a model for resolving conflicts. In my job I see it as an approach to being a more effective instructional leader. I can see my teachers using it as an approach to creating more effective relationships with their students as well as the parents of their students. Regardless of your profession, experiences, or goals, the dignity model can guide you in your efforts to make the very most of your relationships with others. I'm very excited about this work and its potential impact on so many!
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book with great interest and have been on a steep learning curve to gather its information throughly into my outlook. Donna Hicks is a great teacher. When the connection is made with her, a wonderful sense of well being accompanies the learning process as the reader takes in the elements of her dignity model. When she writes about dignity, Donna Hicks puts her heart and soul into it, and we are are treated with great dignity as she develops the thought and the language of dignity. In her exploration, she discusses the relationship between evolutionary forces and conflict. She researches and teaches the role dignity plays in healing and reconciling. She writes about what is really going on in a conflict, and in clear explanation she shows us that if indignity can tear us apart, then dignity can put us back together again. She encourages us to make the practice of dignity a way of life, and she provides a useful guide to anyone wishing to improve the quality of his or her life and relationships.

In his introduction of her book, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu provides a key to enable us to know the extent of her work, moving from creating peace in our lives with the practice of dignity to creating peace on earth through dignity. He has experienced her insights and abilities as they, together in Ireland, facilitated meetings of warring parties. The dignity model in use allowed a poignant moment, a miracle, as the parties resolved to reconcile with dignity. She holds his highest praise. It is comforting to know that Donna works in unofficial (stated) diplomatic approaches in conflict resolution among our world leaders.
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Format: Hardcover
I've spent time with Donna Hicks, with the hope of learning the art of dignity from her. She is a master teacher whose book delves into the very deep ends of the soul. The information found in her book is mission critical for a world that consistently tries to blow itself apart! But let the reader beware, this is difficult stuff! Her work will challenge you and if you are willing, change you.
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Format: Hardcover
A little personal history:

In 1988 I took on the challenge of reinvigorating an historic university-owned hotel in the grip of a downward economic spiral. The deteriorating physical condition of the property was an issue which could be fixed with time, attention, and money. The larger problem was the need to improve the efforts of a demoralized staff.

Among my initiatives to address the hotel's issues, I drafted a one page statement of standards - The Principles of Employee Relations - to guide the management staff in their treatment of employees. The first principle I wrote was, "All employees will be treated with dignity and respect." Though the word "dignity" came easily to mind, I had no true idea of its import and its critical role in human relations - that is, until now.

Donna Hicks and a deeper understanding:

Donna Hicks has given us a beautifully written and profoundly important book. Her nearly two decades of work in international conflict resolution as an Associate at Harvard University's Weatherford Center for International Affairs has provided her with a unique perspective on the dynamics of conflict.

Dr. Hicks has worked with such luminaries as Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and Harvard Professor Herbert Kelman on some of the world's most intractable conflicts, the Palestinian Question, the Troubles of Northern Ireland, and the civil war in Sri Lanka. Based on her extensive research, she has formulated a unique and keenly insightful New Model of Dignity which allows us to explore the essential role of personal dignity in human relations.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 1986 while I was working as a lab technician I met my future husband; an only child. He was from Canada where his parents lived and worked as forestry researchers. They were originally from India but had lived in Australia and Ghana until my husband was 15. While we were dating he was doing research in cardiology. I, on the other hand; had lived on a farm until 16 with my 7 siblings and 11 cousins. I began working as a lab technician at 18 for a number of years while also getting a degree in physical education. When we married it was with the full support of our parents and all my siblings. Many of the qualities the book addresses were at work here given our age, religion, educational differences and personal cultural backgrounds. I am hugely impressed by this book because it gets at the heart of so many of the psychological blind spots and fears societies hang on to that can no longer be ignored. The book is clearly written with great real life examples. I have placed the 10 elements that define dignity or violate it on my refrigerator. I think it would be well served in all educational settings from 1st grade and beyond. It can serve as a great moral compass.
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