Dignity in International Service: In Memoriam Dag Hammarskjöld

By Simon Hollis - 06 July 2021
Dignity in International Service: In Memoriam Dag Hammarskjöld

Climate change, Covid-19, cyberattacks and wealth inequalities represent a short list of the many global challenges facing world leaders. Well-intentioned agreements and initiatives have been designed to respond to these crises, mitigate risks and alleviate underlying vulnerabilities with some notable successes. Yet, the protracted utilitarian interests of leaders reduces their ability to manage today’s turbulent risk environment effectively. In memory of Dag Hammarskjöld, this essay honours his legacy with a proposal to revitalize his concept of international service through the broadening of traditional education initiatives that take into account the centrality of personal dignity for global governance.

Policy Recommendations

  • The concept of dignity ought to be restored by reclaiming its personalist roots.
  • Reintroducing Dag Hammarskjöld’s concept of international service as part of his personalist ethics on leadership can encourage persons to lead with dignity.
  • Broadening education initiatives to include educure, in addition to educare, can provide a suitable learning platform for leading with dignity.
  • Creating centres for global leadership can provide a space to equip ourselves and the next generation to think creatively about current and future global challenges.


Photo by Yura Forrat from Pexels