I’m in New York City for the annual Workshop on Transforming Humiliation and Violent Conflict sponsored by Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies (HumanDHS), a global, multidisciplinary network of scholars, activists, practitioners, and students dedicated to advancing human dignity and reducing the experience of humiliation. I’ll have more to say about the workshop itself in my next post, including a summary of my short talk.
Yesterday marked my first participation in a HumanDHS board of directors meeting. Earlier this year, I was delighted to accept an invitation from founding president Evelin Lindner and director Linda Hartling to join the HumanDHS board. As is customary at board meetings, the agenda included a financial report, and herein was a revelation.
I’ve known for a long time that HumanDHS does its important work on a modest budget, but until yesterday I didn’t realize how much this wonderful network squeezes the most out of every dollar. I’ve been part of the non-profit and higher education world for most of my career, and I know that budgets and spending vary widely along organizations and universities. In some cases, the money spent on salaries, perks, and excesses render these entities “non-profit” only in the technical sense of the tax code.
HumanDHS is quite the opposite. It is a values-clarifying experience to see a non-profit organization that walks its talk in terms of being lean but never mean, to paraphrase remarks by director Linda Hartling. It also makes me feel doubly privileged to be a deeply committed member of this community.