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A Worldwide Charter for Compassion

21 January 2010 at 4:02 pm
Staff Reporter
A multi-national Council of Religious Leaders joins together to bring compassion back to the heart of society

Staff Reporter | 21 January 2010 at 4:02 pm


A Worldwide Charter for Compassion
21 January 2010 at 4:02 pm

Led by US author Karen Armstrong, religious leaders from around the world, have come together to launch the International Charter for Compassion (

The Charter is a single document, endorsed by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu among others. It was crafted by people from all walks of life, nationalities, beliefs and backgrounds with the intent to unify, inspire and bring compassion back into the heart of society.

Armstrong is a former Roman Catholic nun who left a British convent to pursue a degree in modern literature at Oxford. She has written more than 20 books around the ideas of what Islam, Judaism and Christianity have in common, and around their effect on world events, including the magisterial A History of God and Holy War: The Crusades and Their Impact on Today’s World. Her latest book is The Case for God.

Armstrong says compassion is the principled determination to put ourselves in the shoes of the other, and is often referred to as the Golden Rule – a tenet that is central to all major religions.

At the recent unveiling, Armstrong, and religious leaders, called upon the world to make a commitment to living a life of compassion.

The final text of The Charter, calls upon all men and women to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate, to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity, to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings – even those regarded as enemies.

Events to commemorate the launch of the Charter took place across the globe from Australia and South Africa to Argentina and Thailand with more than 100 partner organizations today. They include everything from art exhibits and film screenings to small lectures and large conferences.

A 2008 winner of the TED Prize, Armstrong has been working with the TED community to create, launch and propagate a Charter for Compassion—a document that would bring attention back to the principles of universal justice and respect that are central to all the world’s great religions.

TED is a non profit devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading". TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It is an annual conference which brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

Find out how to share the Charter with your networks go to

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