Drawing on her extensive experience in international conflict resolution and on insights from evolutionary biology, psychology, and neuroscience, Hicks will talk about the elements of dignity, 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.
“It took nearly 20 years of working as an international conflict resolution specialist to crystallize my thinking about what dignity is, why it matters to us, and how we can use it to build healthy relationships with one another and to restore those that have broken under the strain of conflict,” says Hicks, calling it a motivating force behind all human interaction.
When dignity is violated, she says, 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.
Donna Hicks took her bachelor’s degree, two masters’ degrees and a Ph.D. in Education Psychology from the University of Wisconsin before moving to Boston in the mid-1990s to work on these issues. She is now an associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University and a widely respected author and public speaker on the causes of international conflict and ways to resolve it.
In addition to teaching conflict resolution at Harvard, Clark and Columbia Universities, she has spent nearly two decades in the field of international conflict resolution, facilitating dialogue among communities in conflict in the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Cuba, and Northern Ireland.
Hicks co-facilitated a BBC television series with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 2006, “Facing the Truth,” and she consults with a wide range of corporations and organizations, applying her dignity model to everyday business and relational situations. Her best known work is “Dignity: The essential role it plays in resolving conflict,” published by Yale University Press in 2011. Archbishop Tutu called it “a must read for those who want to experience peace in their everyday lives and peace in the world around them.” The book will be available for sale and signing at the upcoming Cape Ann Forum.
Forums scheduled for 2013 include author and former Grassroots International director Tim Wise on what’s needed to resolve the global food crisis on Sunday, February 10; former Oxfam America director John Hammock on global poverty and the mixed record of international aid agencies, Sunday, April 17; and retired diplomat and former vice president of the National Defense University Mark Bellamy on the rising importance of Africa for U.S. foreign policy, Sunday, May 5.