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“I feel proud and honoured to be associated with Sussex, where innovations and growth are lauded and activated.”

David Jamilly

David Jamilly, social entrepreneur, humanitarian and founder of Kindness UK, talks about his support of Sussex Kindness Research.

Since my teens I have been continuously involved in diverse social projects, including helping the elderly, vulnerable and suicidal. I set up my first charity (Pod Children’s Charity) in 1977, which has provided live entertainment to over a million children in UK hospitals. In 2005, I went on to found the Good Deeds Organisation, which promoted news of good deeds from around the world – in those days good deeds was another way of saying kindness.

I am a great introvert and it was a huge personal leap to feature on the Secret Millionaire television programme. It turned out to be an amazing opportunity and a privilege to meet so many incredible people, as well as to be able to support causes I would never otherwise have known about.

I set up Kindness UK in 2010 and it has continued to go from strength to strength. One of our greatest achievements is to have been able to help initiate and support the University of Sussex Kindness Research. I first met Professor Robin Banerjee (Professor of Developmental Psychology and Head of the School of Psychology) about seven years ago when he was supervising a PhD student who had included the word ‘kindness’ in the title of their thesis. Our work and friendship blossomed from there. Robin brings an abundance of positive energy to his students, the University and all around him.

We live in a world where science is taken as the benchmark for the big decisions that affect us all. It is vitally important that kindness is seen as a science in its own right, so that it can be included as a part of institutional/governmental decision-making process. Sussex is trailblazing in this respect and has already had successful reach and impact.

It cannot go unmentioned that the University is the first distinguished academic institution in the world to embed kindness so deeply into its culture. In my view, kindness and energy are common attributes at Sussex. Academic research into psychology, values, altruism, compassion, charity, empathy, sympathy and so on has great merit, but the big difference with kindness is that it implies action by its very nature.

I feel proud and honoured to be associated with such an eminent University. A ‘happening’ University, where innovations and growth are lauded and activated. Most great contemporary thinkers, philosophers and leaders agree that development of education and dissemination of knowledge are the most important contributing factors to the design and welfare of tomorrow’s world.

I get a sense of personal fulfilment through my involvement with Sussex Kindness Research. I think it is a very special time and space right now at Sussex and that many synergies have converged simultaneously. The outcome will doubtless be very exciting and game changing.

David’s support has been integral to enabling the growing field of kindness academic research at Sussex to flourish, making awards to researchers to present their findings at conferences since 2015, supporting the launch of the Sussex Kindness Research Network in 2018 and helping KindFest 2020 to be the great success that it was.

If you would like to join David and get involved in supporting research at Sussex, please contact Emma Wigmore in the Development and Alumni Relations Office at or on +44(0)1273 877707.

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By: Emma Wigmore
Last updated: Thursday, 7 January 2021

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