Karen Armstrong champions compassion

The wish

Charter for Compassion

The winner

Karen Armstrong

The year


I wish that you would help with the creation, launch and propagation of a Charter for Compassion, crafted by a group of leading inspirational thinkers from the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.

The plan

Compassion isn't just a warm feeling. Religious scholar Karen Armstrong sees it as an urgent, global imperative. With the 2008 TED Prize, she called for the creation of a Charter for Compassion, a document with the Golden Rule at its ethical core. Designed to unite people globally, the charter was drafted by a diverse set of religious leaders and launched in November 2009 to inspire people around the world to restore compassion, empathy and kindness to the center of life.

Current status

The Charter for Compassion has sparked a global movement. Since its launch, more than 125,000 individuals have signed the document -- including Pope Benedict XVI, the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Deepak Chopra and Muhammad Ali -- and more than 400 organizations have become partners. Charter partners have created a Compassionate School Network in Pakistan, started an annual Dutch Compassion Award, and founded a research center at Stanford University that's showing businesses why compassion is good for the bottom line.

In 2010, the city of Seattle, Washington, became the first city to sign the Charter and spearheaded the Compassionate Communities Campaign, with cities around the world pledging to focus on open dialogue, understanding and inclusion. More than 70 cities and 300 communities across 45 countries are now participating. In May 2013, the Dalai Lama called this campaign one of the most important activities on the planet.

In 2014, a group of Global leaders -- known as the Global Compassion Council -- established Charter for Compassion International (CCI) to reflect the far-reaching impact of the Charter and continue work spreading its mission.

Get involved

  1. Share and sign the Charter for Compassion
  2. Use the Charter Toolbox to make compassion part of your community
  3. Spread the word by joining the Charter community on Facebook

About Karen

Karen Armstrong is a provocative, original thinker on the role of religion in the modern world.
Learn more about Karen

News from the Charter

Charter for Compassion plaques now available

When Karen Armstrong was given one wish to change the world through the TED Prize, she wished for the creation of a Charter for Compassion. On November 12th, the charter was un...
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