When Karen Armstrong, an author and former Catholic nun, won the 2008 TED Prize, she made a TED wish worthy of Mother Theresa: that a Charter of Compassion be drawn up with help from leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. A year and a half after Armstrong made her wish, the charter is a reality.
Armstrong’s charter was written with input from thousands of people in more than 100 countries. In February, the Council of Conscience (a group including Tariq Ramadan, Rabbi David Saperstein, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Sheikh Ali Gomaa) put all the ideas together into a cohesive charter.
The text of Armstrong’s document is available at the Charter for Compassion website, but promotion for the charter doesn’t stop there. Yves Behar and his team at fuseproject designed more than 60 Charter for Compassion plaques to be placed at significant religious and secular locations around the world, and nearly 200 special religious services and events this weekend will feature the charter. Famous “affirmers” of the charter include the Dalai Lama, Paul Simon, Deepak Chopra, and Dave Eggers.
So what happens now that the Charter has been released? Armstrong hopes the document will “bring compassion back into the heart of society.” A lofty goal, but a good place to start.