My Journal



Episode 11: Dr. Judith S. Goldstein: ‘The Historian’

Aldo talks to historian Judith Goldstein, Founder & Executive Director of Humanity in Action, how fragile democracy in our world is and what we must do to ensure that totalitarian regimes will not win.

For those (like me) who can appreciate the design, style and user experience of websites, I can highly recommend the url:
It is a website that completely draws you in with its warm inviting colours, stylish buttons, impressive pictures and beautifully animated short films.
As a CEO of a software company I can warmly recommend it but I have to warn you, there is no such thing as a quick visit to this platform.
I have good reasons to believe this has been done intentionally because the website just like the organisation as well as its founder have made it their mission to make you think.
Dr. Judith S. Goldstein is an American author, historian and human rights leader.
In 1997 she founded the international educational organisation Humanity in Action whose objective it is to facilitate and promote a dialogue to understand and respond to the challenges that democratic societies face as they become increasingly diverse.
The organisation is right when it states: we are deeply engaged in human rights, pluralism and democracy, our uniqueness lies in our multitude of perspectives that are brought together in a vibrant international community.
On its site I see many head-spinning questions flying by such as:
‘How can you fix Democracy?’
‘Do you know what the power of democracy is?’
‘What is the connection between social cohesion and social combustion?’
None of them have straightforward answers and require deep reflection and analysis in order to steer them to a satisfactory conclusion.
And this is exactly where the educational element kicks in. Humanity in Action sponsors recent graduates through a wide variety of their ‘Fellowship Programs’ in over 6 countries to stop and think.
Over 2500 fellows have benefitted from the programs of the organisation since its inception in 1997 and (full disclosure) I myself had the great privilege of being a fellow through its Dutch program in 2004 and as an Humanity in Action/Lantos Fellow in Washington DC the year after.
“We are local in our activities, international in our collaboration, global in our community’s reach. Much more than the sum of our parts” – states Humanity in Action.
There is no doubt in my mind that the impact that Humanity in Action has had on the lives of their fellows has been profound. Whatever career choices they make after joining the fellowship, they undoubtedly carry with them the knowledge that the complexities of our world cannot be brushed off with a quick answer and that an open mind and dialogue is the only way to better understand one another.
All of this ignited by its strong, ambitious and ever-kind founder who when asked what a significant learning in her career was gracefully answered:
“the biggest, most important asset is friendship and trust”