Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Culture of Empathy Builder:  Barack Obama - Quotes

 

 

Peace
 

"Learning to stand in somebody else's shoes, to see through their eyes, that's how peace begins. And it's up to you to make that happen."
Barack Obama

 

"But it will depend on young people like you being open to new ideas and new possibilities. And it will require young people like you never to stereotype or assume the worst about other people.
In the Muslim world, this notion that somehow everything is the fault of the Israelis lacks balance -- because there's two sides to every question.

That doesn't mean that sometimes one side has done something wrong and should not be condemned. But it does mean there's always two sides to an issue. I say the same thing to my Jewish friends, which is you have to see the perspective of the Palestinians.

 Learning to stand in somebody else's shoes to see through their eyes, that's how peace begins. And it's up to you to make that happen."
2009-04-07 - Barack Obama Promotes Empathy: Student Roundtable In Istanbul



 

 

 "we remember those who are less fortunate, .... and at this sacred time of year let us join together across denominations, religions and cultures to make a habit of empathy and reach out to those most in need. To share the blessings we enjoy and to advance the cause of peace in all corners of our world."

Barack Obama

 

 

2009-10-14 - Barack Obama Promotes Empathy: Observes Diwali


 

 
"each side has legitimate aspirations - and thatís part of what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the otherís shoes; each side can see the world through the otherís eyes. Thatís what we should be encouraging. Thatís what we should be promoting."
Barack Obama

 

"each side has legitimate aspirations -- and thatís part of what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the otherís shoes; each side can see the world through the otherís eyes.

 

Thatís what we should be encouraging. Thatís what we should be promoting. This body -- founded, as it was, out of the ashes of war and genocide, dedicated, as it is, to the dignity of every single person -- must recognize the reality that is lived by both the Palestinians and the Israelis. The measure of our actions must always be whether they advance the right of Israeli and Palestinian children to live lives of peace and security and dignity and opportunity.

 

And we will only succeed in that effort if we can encourage the parties to sit down, to listen to each other, and to understand each otherís hopes and each otherís fears. "



 

 
"As you travel through the Middle East what keeps on striking home to me is how similar everyone is, and yet the degree to which we can find differences to fight wars over. It requires a great deal of empathy, I think, between various sides to overcome this history and live in peace."
Barack Obama

 

2006-01-13 - Obama wraps up Middle East trip


 

v

"Ultimately, peace is just not about politics. Itís about attitudes; about a sense of empathy; about breaking down the divisions that we create for ourselves in our own minds and our own hearts that donít exist in any objective reality..."
Barack Obama

 

"Ultimately, peace is just not about politics. Itís about attitudes; about a sense of empathy; about breaking down the divisions that we create for ourselves in our own minds and our own hearts that donít exist in any objective reality, but that we carry with us generation after generation. And I know, because America, we, too, have had to work hard over the decades, slowly, gradually, sometimes painfully, in fits and starts, to keep perfecting our union."

2013-05-17 - President Obama Speaks to the People of Northern Ireland

 


Others

 
"I will tell you, Class of 2013, whatever success I have achieved, whatever positions of leadership I have held have depended less on Ivy League degrees or SAT scores or GPAs, and have instead been due to that sense of connection and empathy... "
Barack Obama

 


And I will tell you, Class of 2013, whatever success I have achieved, whatever positions of leadership I have held have depended less on Ivy League degrees or SAT scores or GPAs, and have instead been due to that sense of connection and empathy -- the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didnít have the opportunities that I had -- because there but for the grace of God, go I -- I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed. I might not have been able to support a family. And that motivates me. So itís up to you to widen your circle of concern -- to care about justice for everybody, white, black and brown. Everybody.

2013-05-20 - Morehouse College Atlanta GA

 

 
"let us join together across denominations, religions and cultures to make a habit of empathy and reach out to those most in need. To share the blessings we enjoy and to advance the cause of peace in all corners of our world."
Barack Obama

 

2009-10-14 - Barack Obama Promotes Empathy: Observes Diwali

 

"We live in a culture that discourages empathy. A culture that too often tells us our principle goal in life is to be rich, thin, young, famous, safe, and entertained. A culture where those in power too often encourage these selfish impulses."
Barack Oba
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2006-07-12 - Barack Obama Promotes Empathy: Campus Progress Conference

 

 
"The world doesn't just revolve around you. There's a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit."
Barack Obama

 

2006-06-16 - Barack Obama Promotes Empathy: Northwestern Commencement


 

 

"One of the values that I think men in particular have to pass on is the value of empathy. Not sympathy, empathy. And what that means is standing in somebody else's shoes, being able to look through their eyes."
Barack Obama

 

One of the values that I think men in particular have to pass on is the value of empathy. Not sympathy, empathy. And what that means is standing in somebody else's shoes, being able to look through their eyes.
 

 You know, sometimes we get so caught up in "us" that it's hard to see that there are other people and that your behavior has an impact on them. And sometimes brothers in particular don't like to feel empathy, don't like to think in terms of "How does this affect other people?" because we think that's being soft.


There's a culture in our society that says we can't show weakness and we can't, therefore, show kindness. That we can't be considerate because sometimes that makes us look weak.

2005-06-22 - What it takes be full-grown man?

 

"We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges."
Barack Obama

 

2007-07-17 - Barack Obama Promotes Empathy: Planned Parenthood on Judges

 

 "An empathy shortage. That's what the principle of empathy does, its calls us all to task. The heartless conservative, the patronizing liberal, the powerful and the powerless. The oppressed and the oppressor. No one is exempt from finding common ground,"
Barack Obama


 

"You know, the principle of empathy gives broader meaning, by the way, to Dr. Kingís philosophy of nonviolence...

It seems like we got an empathy shortage, an empathy deficit. More serious than the federal budget deficit. We've become so cynical that it almost seems naive to believe that we can understand each other across the gulf of race, or class or region or religion...

An empathy shortage. That's what the principle of empathy does, its calls us all to task. The heartless conservative, the patronizing liberal, the powerful and the powerless. The oppressed and the oppressor. No one is exempt from finding common ground, because when no one is exempt it forces all of us to examine our own actions, our own belief systems. It shakes us out of our complacency and protects us from our own blindness our own self-righteousness. Our own fanaticism."

2002-01-21 - Martin Luther King Day - Chicago IL - Rockefeller Memorial Chapel

 

 "Let us resist prejudice, intolerance, and indifference in whatever forms they may take -- let us stand up strongly to the scourge of anti-Semitism, which is still prevalent in far too many corners of our world. "
Barack Obama

 

"At the dawn of this New Year, let us rededicate ourselves to that work. Let us reject the impulse to harden ourselves to othersí suffering, and instead make a habit of empathy Ėof recognizing ourselves in each other and extending our compassion to those in need.  Let us resist prejudice, intolerance, and indifference in whatever forms they may take -- let us stand up strongly to the scourge of anti-Semitism, which is still prevalent in far too many corners of our world. "

2009 09 18 Barack Obama on Empathy Warm Wishes for Rosh Hashanah

 

 


 

 

 "That's part of the empathy. Empathy doesn't just extend to cute little kids. You have to have empathy when you're talking to some guy who doesn't like black people."
Barack Obama

 

Oprah: We Americans also suffer from an empathy deficit, because we often feel that the woman in Bosnia or Afghanistan who loses her child is somehow different from us.

Barack: They become abstractions.....

Barack: Those slash-and-burn tactics have become the custom in Washington politics. But we will not play that game. People don't want to hear folks shouting at each other and trying to score political points. They want to solve problems. I'm determined to disagree with people without being disagreeable. That's part of the empathy. Empathy doesn't just extend to cute little kids. You have to have empathy when you're talking to some guy who doesn't like black people.

There's a level of viciousness in politics because power is at stake. Fortunately, most of my past mistakes are ones that people already know about. That's one of the nice things about writing a book.

2004-11-01 - Barack Obama Promotes Empathy with Oprah Magazine


 

 'My mother was the single most important influence in my life. I saw her struggles as a single mom. She taught me the values of hard work and responsibility, but also of compassion and empathy - being able to look at the world through somebody else's eye and stand in their shoes.'
Barack Obama

 

2012-05-13 - Mothers Day Greeting


 

 

 "You remind us that ďthe Lordís most powerful messageĒ is mercy. And that means welcoming the stranger with empathy and a truly open heart Ė from the refugee who flees war-torn lands to the immigrant who leaves home in search of a better life. "
Barack Obama

 

 "I think the theme that stitched our conversation together was a belief that in politics and in life the quality of empathy, the ability to stand in somebody elseís shoes and to care for someone even if they don't look like you or talk like you or share your philosophy - that that's critical."
Barack Obama

 

I think the theme that stitched our conversation together was a belief that in politics and in life the quality of empathy, the ability to stand in somebody elseís shoes and to care for someone even if they don't look like you or talk like you or share your philosophy -- that that's critical. Itís the lack of empathy that makes it very easy for us to plunge into wars.

It's the lack of empathy that allows us to ignore the homeless on the streets. And obviously central to my Christian faith is a belief in treating others as Iíd have them treat me. And whatís I think created so much love and excitement for His Holiness has been that he seems to live this, and shows that joy continuously.
A Shared Belief in Empathy: Barack Obama & Pope Francis at Vatican

 

 

 

 
 

 
Barack Obama

 

 

 
 

 
Barack Obama