Charter for Compassion

1The Charter for Compassion, unveiled in November 2009 in Washington, D.C., with signatories that included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Prince Hassan of Jordan and Sir Richard Branson has been translated into more than 30 languages. This project was the brainchild of former Catholic nun Karen Armstrong, scholar and author of books on comparative religion.

When Armstrong was awarded the 2008 TED Prize she wanted to use the opportunity to make the world a better place. The recipient of the annual TED prize receives $100000 and the chance to make “One Wish to Change the World”. Armstrong wished for a council of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish leaders to draw up a Charter of Compassion to identify shared moral priorities that she hoped would foster global understanding. This Charter was to be a product of its time, for its time. Our time.

The Charter hopes to change the public conversation so that compassion becomes a key word in public and private discourse, making it clear that any ideology that breeds hatred or contempt – be it religious or secular – has failed the test of our time. It wants to create a culture of compassion and encourage actions that will do so. Recent events in South Africa point to the need for every individual and corporate to endorse this critical document.

The Cape Town Interfaith Initiative (CTII) launched the Charter in Cape Town on Thursday 20th May 2010, to coincide with CTII’s 10th anniversary. Since then, the Charter for Compassion has been endorsed in various houses of worship, organisations and schools.

Very excitingly, CTII has also engaged in discussions with the City of Cape Town to make Cape Town a City of Compassion.

Sign the Charter here:

Or for more information, contact Tony Marshall:



We, the parents, learners and teachers of our school declare our commitment to the following principles, and pledge to hold ourselves and one another responsible for achieving them.

We recognize that every person shares a common humanity capable both of happiness and suffering. We pledge in our words and actions to treat everyone in this school community as we would wish to be treated, to help those around us who are in need, and to make amends when we cause another pain.

We recognize that we are a school with learners who have different abilities, body sizes, races, religions, classes, gender identities and sexual orientations. We pledge to imagine what it is like being someone different from ourselves and try to understand their point of view, especially when we disagree or find ourselves in conflict.

We recognize that intolerance, ignorant disrespect and hatred cause suffering and that when we do nothing, or laugh or post comments online we allow the suffering and the evil deeds to continue. We pledge to resist all forms of prejudice, racism, sexism, discrimination and bullying, and to respect those who may be different from ourselves, and so to make this school a place where everyone belongs.

We commit to practice the compassionate values in this Charter for Compassion within our school community, in our daily actions, in our community and in the world.