In this recent interview, Dr. Meenakshi Chhabra shares some insights on the role of dignity in relation to peace and conflict resolution. Dr. Chhabra introduces some experiences from her work in conflict resolution, sharing, "it's so much easier to feel dignity for people that I like, or that I have no differences with, no problems with that dignity. But, I think it's crucial that--and the test is really--can I feel the same way for people that I have differences with; who I don't want to talk to, who I turn my face away from on a day-to-day even, leave aside groups, but on day-to-day interactions. Can I bring forth that feeling: 'yes, they have their dignity too?'"
She continues: "The connection between the self and the other is really the foundation in this whole process of understanding dignity for me. And what I mean by seeing the connection between self and other is to really know and recognize that when I affirm your dignity, I am affirming mine, and when I negate your dignity I am negating mine, so it's a choice but also necessary that to affirm my dignity I affirm yours."
Dr. Chhabra is Associate Professor of Global Interdisciplinary Studies in the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences at Lesley University. She has been a scholar and practitioner in the field of Peace and Conflict Studies since 2001. The focus of her research is in Peace education and youth development in conflict zones with an emphasis on South Asia.
The audio from this interview is from a series of video reflections that were posted on the Ikeda Center YouTube page in February of 2015.