Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?


Empathic Design
Empathy Circles

  Restorative Empathy Circles
Empathy Tent

Expert Interviews
Obama on Empathy


    Empathy Tests

Do You Support Building a Culture of Empathy?


The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy is a leader of the global empathy movement. Our mission is to build a movement for creating a global worldwide culture of empathy and care. We do this through a variety of means.  First is by community organizing and by collecting, curating and organizing all the material we find on the internet on the topic.  A current  focus is on; designing a free online empathy training course, building an academic empathy training literature wiki, and holding public activist Empathy Tent Pop-ups..


Blog Roll: Join the Quest 
interviews, panel discussions, etc,

We reached the 400+ Empathy Circles, Panels and Interviews milestone!!!  There are over 400 hours of experts from around the world talking about how we might build a culture of empathy.

 Experiences with training and facilitating restorative circles and conflict resolution.

 L'aura Joy

L'aura Joy is a Certified Trainer in Nonviolent Communication, and since 2007 she has been working in the fields of communication, conflict resolution, peace and justice, healing, and decision-making and leadership.

Having grown up in Auroville, an international intentional community in Tamil Nadu, India, L'aura is passionate about exploring how we can live our lives in empowered and co-creative ways. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) offers such a clear, yet deeply powerful and transformative framework within which to explore both our inner realities as well as outer relationships. L'aura is also trained in Restorative Circles and Sociocracy, and she applies these approaches to her work with justice and governance in Auroville.

Contemporary Perspectives on Empathy,
Compassion and Self-Compassion

Chad Woodruff

Chad Woodruff is a Cognitive Neuroscientist who uses neuroimaging techniques  to investigate social and cognitive processes. Chad has had extensive experience as a graduate student, post-doctoral fellow, and an assistant professor with neuroimaging and has mentored undergraduate students in the use of these techniques for 10 years.

He is co-editor of, The Neuroscience of Empathy, Compassion, and Self-Compassion. The book provides contemporary perspectives on the three related domains of empathy, compassion and self-compassion.


It informs current research, stimulates further research endeavors, and encourages continued and creative philosophical and scientific inquiry into the critical societal constructs of empathy and compassion.


Sub Conferences: Science


Political Left and Right Empathy Circle

Topic: How Might We Bridge the Political Divides?

View On Youtube  - On Facebook - October 12, 2018


Hosted by: Empathy Tent 
building a culture of empathy
As part of the Empathy Tent and National Week of Conversations Project we hold a Democracy Circle (Empathy Circle) on How might we bridge the Political Divides in the USA? We invite participants from all points on the political spectrum to take part.
 Take Part in Left-Right Empathy Circle.

For National Week of Conversation Project
Mending the frayed fabric of America by bridging divides one conversation at a time. Americans of all stripes are stepping up to address the growing cultural crisis of hyper-polarization and animosity across divides. Together we can turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division with widespread conversations.

The Empathy Initiative
 to change lives and improve the quality of care
Tracy Levett-Jones

Tracy Levett-Jones is the Professor of Nursing Education and Discipline Lead at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Her research interests include: empathy, belongingness, clinical reasoning, interprofessional education, cultural competence, simulation and patient safety. Tracy has authored ten books, the most recent being 'Clinical Reasoning: Learning to think like a nurse' and 'Critical Conversations for Patient Safety'; as well as nearly 200 book chapters, reports and peer reviewed journal articles.


The Empathy Initiative is a group of like-minded academics and practitioners with a strong belief in the power and potential of empathy to change lives and improve the quality of care provided to patients/clients/residents.


Our group shares a commitment to undertaking collaborative empathy research that has the capacity to transform education and practice. The purpose of the Empathy Initiative is to generate high quality, rigorous empathy/compassion research that informs and influences student learning and patient care, either directly or indirectly.
Sub Conference: Health Care

Center for Empathy and Visual Arts
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Karleen Gardner

Karleen Gardner is Director of Learning at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She also heads up the Center for Empathy and Visual Arts.

Mia envisions taking a leading role in collaborating with museum colleagues as well as researchers, scholars, content experts, and other influencers to research and explore practices for fostering empathy and global awareness through the power of art and to share these findings with the field.

In our increasingly divisive world, polarized by issues regarding politics, racial inequities, marriage equality, global warming, income disparities, and immigration policies, it becomes clear that our failures to understand other people's feelings are exacerbating prejudice, conflict, and inequality.



Musée du Louvre - Hubert Robert (Wikipedia)


If we wish to develop not only a more equal society but a happier and more creative one, we will need to look outside ourselves and attempt to identify with the experiences of others. This critical skill is called empathy, which "has the power to transform relationships, from the personal to the political, and create fundamental social change".


Conflict, Mediation and a Culture of Empathy

Ike Lasater


Ike Lasater is the co-founder of Mediate Your Life, a training company that helps people build better lives by changing how they respond to conflict. With extensive training in Nonviolent Communication, Ike teaches and coaches individuals and organizations in communication and conflict resolution skills and has trained thousands of people in the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He has served on the board of directors for the Center for Nonviolent Communication and the Association for Dispute Resolution of Northern California. Ike is a former trial attorney for 20 years who co-founded a thriving San Francisco law firm.


At its core, the Mediate Your Life training is about listening to - and really hearing - ourselves and others. It is about increasing our capacity for empathy so that when triggered we can overcome the body's natural "fight-flight-freeze" reaction. The process teaches how to replace conflict with true collaboration, new possibilities, and compassionate support.


 Sub Conference: NVC

Why a Culture of Empathy is Essential

Brain Goldman


For more than thirty years, Dr. Brian Goldman has been an active participant in and keen observer of the culture of modern medicine. Since 2007, he has hosted White Coat, Black Art, a multi-award-winning show on CBC Radio that reveals what goes on behind a hospital's sliding doors. Goldman is author of: The Power of Kindness: Why Empathy Is Essential in Everyday Life.


As a veteran emergency room physician, Dr. Brian Goldman has a successful career setting broken bones, curing pneumonia, and otherwise pulling people back from the brink of medical emergency. He always believed that caring came naturally to physicians. But time, stress, errors, and heavy expectations left him wondering if he might not be the same caring doctor he thought he was at the beginning of his career. He wondered what kindness truly looks like - in himself and in others.

How can empathy transform health care?
Empathy is the way that we establish human connections. Without it, relationships between people are just transactions and devoid of the emotional warmth and meaning that I think is inherent in the human condition. If we could put more empathy into health care, it would mean that patients are more likely to follow the instructions of physicians and to feel assured that the best is being done for them.


Sub Conference: Health Care


I Will Meet You There
A Practical Guide to Empathy, Mindfulness
and Communication.


Shantigarbha is an experienced teacher of both Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and Buddhism; he is also a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. Shantigarbha is an international NVC trainer, certified with the International Centre for Nonviolent  Communication. He teaches on CNVC's International Intensive Trainings (IITs), is a CNVC Assessor-in-training, and serves on the Social Change and Peacemaking working group. He was given the name Shantigarbha, which means "seed of peace". He is author of,  I'll Meet You There: A Practical Guide to Empathy, Mindfulness and Communication.


Empathy is an intuitive body-sense rather that an intellectual understanding of other people's psychology.


Empathy is appreciating and valuing what is fundamental to the other person, their deep motivations, their physical needs, their hopes and dreams. It involved imagining how the other person might feel in their situation and what is important to them.

UC Berkeley: Effective Expression of Empathy
Alissa Stover

Alissa Stover is new gradate in Psychology from UC Berkeley. She along with other students, designed and facilitated a series of empathy classes there over a several year period.  The Empathy Tent Team worked with the classes to facilitate the empathy circle practice and set up the empathy tent in Sproul plaza.  We dialogue with Alissa about her experience facilitating the classes.


Empathy Tent at UC Berkeley Sproul Plaza

We believe that empathy is not only fascinating as a concept, but important as a skill on an individual and societal level. By the end of this course we aim to have a better understanding of empathy and to feel more able to use it in our daily lives.


From Command to Empathy
Suman Ghose

 Suman Ghose holds an undergraduate degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur & an MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. He has 22+ years' corporate work experience in some of the world's top multinational companies such as Cadbury's, Intel, Philips and PwC. Suman's focus areas are Leadership Development, Creative Problem Solving (including Decision Making & Cognitive Biases), Design Thinking (trained on Stanford D-school's methodology) & Emotional Intelligence (Personal and Social Competence). He is co-author of  From Command to Empathy: Using EQ in the Age of Disruption.

In a world characterized by globalization and rapidly evolving technology, change is a given. The primary workforce is evolving and is now dominated by millennia's who seek purpose and empathy - a phenomenon that top management grapples with.

Sub Conference: Workplace

Empathy Training in Healthcare and Beyond
Elizabeth Morrison

"An accomplished trainer, therapist and consultant, Elizabeth Morrison specializes in helping health care organizations enhance human connections in care provision. Her areas of expertise and passion are building effective and sustainable integrated behavioral health (IBH) services, developing patient-centered complex care programs, and providing research-based training in empathetic communication for healthcare professionals. Originally inspired by Carl Rogers'research on the primary role of empathy in healing, she uses evidence-based strategies to design trainings and consultations tailored to meet the needs of a wide range of organizations." Elizabeth developed the Empathy Effect Training and curriculum for teaching empathy skills in the healthcare field with the  Institute for Healthcare Communication."

"Expressions of empathy are the "secret sauce" that ensure caregiving encounters are healing and not harmful. They are essential for building connection and trust, and especially so for interactions with people who have suffered trauma. Empathy is universally accessible, free, an effective treatment by itself in many situations - and it has no side effects!" Empathy Effect

Sub Conference: Health Care

Compassionate Connection

The Healing Power of Empathy and Mindful Listening
David Rakel

David Rakel, MD was the founder and director of the University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine program and is now Professor and Chair of the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico Medical School in Albuquerque, NM.

The Doctor by Luke Fildes (Wikipedia)

 "I knew that creating connections is what helps me facilitate healing and also helps me to feel healthy."

Sub Conference: Health Care

Developing an Empathic Way of Being
in Healthcare

Jeremy Howick

Jeremy Howick is senior researcher at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Services at University of Oxford.  His research lies at the crossroads of philosophy and medicine. His interest in empathetic care grew out of his interest in placebo effects.  Jeremy is also founder and director of the The Oxford Empathetic Care Program.


The Oxford Empathetic Care Programme (OxCare) is an interdisciplinary research group that includes medical practitioners, philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists.

Aims:  Promote the importance of empathy in clinical practice. This includes empathetic relationships between patients (and their families) and healthcare practitioners, as well as empathetic relationships between healthcare systems and patients/practitioners.


1. To develop and maintain a glossary of empathy (and related terms) definitions
2. To maintain a database of key measures of empathy
3. To identify and reduce contextual obstacles to empathy
4. Explore the relationship between evidence-based healthcare and empathetic healthcare
5. To develop empathy training for healthcare practitioners and healthcare managers
6. To develop a research program
7. To identify obstacles and facilitators to empathy
8. Explore the relevance of empathy to professional burnout and stress
9. To investigate whether the current model of revalidation is empathetic
10. To investigate how can empathetic care improve value-based healthcare

Sub Conference: Health Care


Designing Cultures of Empathy
Michael Ventura

Michael Ventura is founder and CEO of Sub Rosa, a strategy and design studio. Sub Rosa's clients include a variety of Fortune 100 companies, as well as some of the world's most progressive start-ups. Michael  is author of Applied Empathy: The New Language of Leadership.


Empathy is not about being nice. It's not about pity or sympathy either. It's about understanding-your consumers, your colleagues, and yourself-and it's a direct path to powerful leadership.


As such, Applied Empathy presents real strategies, based on Sub Rosa's design work and the popular class Ventura and his team have taught at Princeton University, on how to make lasting connections and evolve your business internally (your employees, culture, and product/services) as well as externally (your brand, consumers, and value).


Quotes from the book.
"With empathy, complex problems become more understandable, teams becomes more effective, and companies become more nimble."

Les Femmes d'Alger,  Pablo Picasso   (Wikipedia)

"Unfortunately, few of us have received a formal education in empathy, and as adults, we end up intuitively feeling our way through to solutions based on our prior experience and skills."


Listening Well:
The Art of Empathic Understanding

William  R Miller

William R. Miller is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, with over forty years of experience in teaching empathic understanding. He is a co-founder of motivational interviewing. His many books include; Lovingkindness, Quantum Change, Motivational Interviewing, and Portals. His latest book is Listening Well: The Art of Empathic Understanding. In this interview we talk about his book and how to be a better empathic listener.

Are you a good listener? How well do you really know the people around you? A capacity for empathic understanding is hard-wired in our brains, but its full expression involves particular listening skills that are seldom learned through ordinary experience.


Through clear explanation, specific examples, and practical exercises, Dr. Miller offers a step-by-step process for developing your skillfulness in empathic listening.  Empathic understanding can help to deepen personal relationships, alleviate conflict, communicate across differences, and promote positive change.


Is Empathy Our Most Dangerous and
Self-Indulgent Emotion?

Danny Penman



Danny Penman is a journalist and author. He has worked for the BBC and "The Independent" and is a feature and comment writer for the "London Daily Mail". He holds a PhD in biochemistry and a postgraduate diploma in newspaper journalism. He is author and coauthor of several books on Mindfulness including, "Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan to Finding Peace in a Frantic World" and "The Art of Breathing." He wrote an article which was critical of empathy entitled, Empathy Our Most Dangerous and Self-Indulgent Emotion? We dialogue with Danny about his article. He writes;


Empathy is, in some ways, a necessary precursor to compassion. It provides the motivational force to actually relieve another's distress. But it can also be a 'negative' or even a coercive emotion because it is ethically neutral...

So empathy alone can be quite dangerous (and arguably a little self-indulgent). To my mind, empathy carries with it a slight tinge of entertainment or even voyeurism...

We might learn to deal with them with intelligence and compassion, rather than risk making them worse with empathy...

Pursuing an Ethic of Empathy in Journalism
Janet Blank-Libra

Janet Blank-Libra teaches courses in journalism as well as foundational courses in composition and literature at Augustana University, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She also regularly teaches courses in literary journalism and creative nonfiction. Janet is the author of Pursuing an Ethic of Empathy in Journalism. This book advances a journalistic theory of empathy, challenging long-held notions about how best to do journalism based only on "objectivity". Because the institution of journalism has typically equated empathy and compassion with bias, it has been slow to give the intelligence of the emotions a legitimate place in the reporting and writing process.   


"When journalists practice an ethic of empathy and compassion, they do not forfeit their objectivity. Empathy seeks to understand the other, not produce agreement with the other. For this reason, empathy compels fair treatment of all sources. Just as one should empathize with the poor person, he or she should empathize with the public official." 

Sub Conference: Journalism and Media

Day Of Empathy
crime hurts, justice should heal
Jessica Jackson Sloan

Jessica Jackson Sloan is a human rights attorney, the National Director & Co-Founder with Van Jones of an organization called #Cut50, which is a national bipartisan effort aimed at reducing America's incarceration rate. She also serves as the Mayor of Mill Valley, California.
#Cut50 organizes the Day of Empathy in the first week of March. To cultivate empathy and empower partners and activists, #cut50 provided content that would help build understanding for the experiences of incarcerated people and victims of crime.

Take the Pledge to Choose Empathy

Empathy is, at its simplest, the ability to understand and be aware of the feelings and thoughts of other people, so much that you actually co-experience them. Empathy is one of the most important aspects of cultivating harmonious relationships, enhancing emotional awareness, and reducing harm - yet it can be complicated at times. Threatened by judgment and fear, we risk opportunities to connect to do good for all.


With empathy, understanding, and love, we can build the political will needed to rectify the damage caused by the incarceration industry on individuals, families, and our society.

MORE - Blog Roll Continued..

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