Robert W. Fuller

Robert Fuller, former president of Oberlin College and author of Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank, coined the term “rankism” and conceived the Dignity Movement.

Fuller earned his Ph.D. in physics at Princeton University and taught at Columbia, where he co-authored the text Mathematics of Classical and Quantum Physics. He then served as president of Oberlin College, his alma mater.
On a trip to India, where he was a consultant to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Fuller witnessed firsthand the famine resulting from Bangladesh’s struggle for independence from Pakistan. With the election of Jimmy Carter, Fuller’s campaign to persuade the new president to end world hunger resulted in the creation of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger.

During the 1980s, Fuller traveled frequently to the USSR, working to improve the Cold War relationship. For many years, he served as chairman of the nonprofit global corporation Internews, which promotes democracy via free and independent media.

On a trip to India, where he was a consultant to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Fuller witnessed firsthand the famine resulting from Bangladesh’s struggle for independence from Pakistan. With the election of Jimmy Carter, Fuller’s campaign to persuade the new president to end world hunger resulted in the creation of the Presidential Commission on World Hunger.Fuller is now an international authority on dignity and rankism (abusive, discriminatory, or exploitive behavior towards those with less power as signified by lower rank). In January 2011, he was the keynote speaker and special guest of President Rahman at the “The National Conference on Dignity for All” in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Fuller has also served as visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Science and the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore. He has made hundreds of public appearances and his work has been featured in scores of books and publications including the New York Times, O Magazine, and the Contemporary Goffman. He blogs for the Huffington Post and Psychology Today.

In Somebodies and Nobodies: Overcoming the Abuse of Rank, and in All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity, Fuller makes the case that rankism is the chief remaining obstacle to organizational effectiveness, social justice, and global peace. These books, which have been published in China, Korea, Bangladesh, and India, show how we can combat rankism and narrow the dignity gap between “somebodies” and “nobodies.” Having unmasked the damage rankism does to individuals and organizations, Fuller lays out a vision for a dignity movement that will transform society in a way that identity politics cannot. This is not a call for an egalitarian society where all are equal in rank, but rather a roadmap to a dignitarian society where all are equal in dignity.

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One Response to “Robert W. Fuller”

  1. Kehinde Adenike December 31, 2016 at 1:26 am #

    I appreciate your effort sir in influencing the global world positively. I am working on this topic: citizen diplomacy as my thesis. To what I observe in this research is that : it is a new strategy of creating peaceful coexistence among the citizens, in effect having a kind of domino effect on how states relate and reducing cost which could have been spent by states on wars and shifting ground to the bearing of cost on citizens.

    Please sir, I will appreciate if I can have more enlightenment on this topic-citizen diplomacy.

    Thank you sir.

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