THE HISTORY OF THE CHARTER FOR COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL
Shalom, Salaam, Shanti, Peace
On February 28, 2008, a British freelance monotheist named Karen Armstrong, a wise woman who is much better known as a bestselling author, religious scholar, and former Catholic nun, won the prestigious TED Prize for $100,000. TED, an acronym for Technology, Education, and Design, is a unique non-profit whose members and worldwide community believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.
The TED Prize is awarded annually to one exceptional individual who receives “One Wish to Change the World” and $100,000 to get started. Overall, the prize is designed to leverage the TED community’s exceptional array of talent and resources and after several months of preparation, the recipient then unveils his or her wish at an award ceremony held during an annual conference. Through the years, these wishes have led to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact.
When Armstrong made her wish it was in the form of a heartfelt request for help from people worldwide to create, launch and propagate a concept some might be so bold as to call “radical” and perhaps even revolutionary in today’s society. A radical, and potentially revolutionary concept that would result in a collaborative document called the Charter for Compassion – a radical, revolutionary concept that would be based on an principle rooted in ancient DNA and the beating hearts and souls of all religious, ethical, spiritual and moral traditions – a concept that implores us to follow a path that the Judeo-Christian traditions have come to call The Golden Rule.A compassionate path whereby we choose – consciously --- to always treat all others and Mother Earth as we wish to be treated ourselves.Or as some say it -- that we do not do unto others what we would not want done to ourselves.
From that day forward, thousands of people of different faiths and none whatsoever as well as people worldwide representing diverse nationalities, languages, and races contributed to the process of gathering ideas about this radical and perhaps revolutionary proposed document. A proposed enlivening of The Golden Rule.
On November 12, 2009, after a group of 18 high-level religious leaders and thinkers known as the Council of Conscience drafted the Charter for Compassion, it was unveiled at 60 secular, spiritual and religious sites around the world.Today, almost three years later, it remains a living document – not something that was back then, but something enlivened and something becoming more alive, vital and vitally important daily -- – something one might call urgent --- something that has been translated into 30 languages and affirmed online and publicly by thousands of people, organizations, and even cities such as Seattle worldwide.
Since then, Armstrong wrote a book titled: The 12 Steps To A Compassionate Life to accompany her wish, clarify what compassion in action means, and offer ways to begin advocating for compassion personally, locally, and globally.
We hope you will explore the Charter site and affirm it and affiliate with the St. Augustine Initiative for Compassion. Our meetings, book studies, and events are held in the name of compassion in our ever-growing efforts to create a culture of compassion on common ground in St. Augustine - the Nation's oldest city, the first Compassionate City in Florida and the 20th in the World.