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?

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Invitation to be interviewed by Edwin Rutsch
One on one Video Interviews
Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion


As an expert on the nature and experience of empathy or compassion, I'd like to interview you on Google Hangouts video.  I've interviewed many 'Empathy Experts', including top researchers, scientists, educators, artists, etc. Previously I would do onsite sit-down interviews.  While I still do these, I am now interviewing empathy experts using Skype or Google Hangout video calls.  If you would be willing to share your stories, insights and experiences about the nature of empathy and compassion, I would like to interview you. Just send me a email and we can line up a date and time.

The Process

Here is the process for doing a video interview via  Google Hangouts.  This is a very convenient process that you can do from the comfort of your home or office (perhaps at a cafe or sitting on a beach in the Bahamas). In fact, it can be done anywhere that you have a computer, fast internet access, a microphone and webcam.  (While I haven't tried it yet, I think it's even possible to do these interviews from your smart phone using Skype mobile).

The technical parts of getting set up Skype or Google Hangouts can be found here in our description of how to host a
panel for our conference on empathy. 

The first 5 or 10 minutes of the interview are sometimes used for setting up the technology, i.e. getting the audio levels right, framing the video image, making sure there's no audio feedback, etc. Once we have it working properly, it's easy to do the interview.

The interviews are a causal conversation and last for 30 to 60 minutes. 

The video call is recorded and then uploaded to Youtube for viewing at any time.


Once the interview is uploaded to Youtube, we create an outline transcript of the interview and then promote it our 30,000+ email, Facebook and Facebook Causes supporters lists.

I am also working on a larger documentary on the nature of empathy and parts of the interview my be used for that.

The interview can also be the first step in taking part in a panel for our ongoing International Online Conference on:
How Can We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?
  We invite you to take part in panel discussions.

Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy.

The main interview series is called, 'Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy.'  The interview is framed around the question of how to build a culture of empathy and/or compassion? How can we raise the level of empathy in society?  The discussion can go in any direction from there and can be informed by your area of expertise or personal experience. Here are some sample interviews below.

Also see our conference pages: Education, Science, Justice, Interfaith and more...

I look forward to talking with you..
Edwin Rutsch


 Marco Iacoboni: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy 

Author: Mirroring People: The New Science of Empathy and How We Connect with Others

Because mirror neurons re-create for us the distress we see on the screen. We have empathy for the fictional characters - we know how they feel - because we literally experience the same feelings ourselves. 
Sub Conference: Science


Maia Szalavitz: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy

Coauthor: Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential and Endangered

Empathy - fully expressed in a community of nurturing interdependent people - promotes health, creativity, intelligence, and productivity. In contrast, apathy and lack of empathy contribute to individual and societal dysfunction, inhumane ideologies, and often brutal actions.
Sub Conference: Science

Daniel Batson: The Definitions of Empathy

Dan Batson is Professor Emeritus at the University of Kansas. His main research interests are in prosocial emotion, motivation, and behavior. He has conducted a number of experiments on empathy, on perspective taking, and on various forms of prosocial motivation.

His chapter titled, '
These Things Called Empathy', in the book, 'The Social Neuroscience of Empathy', explores eight ways the word and concept of empathy is used. We walk through and discuss each of these in depth.
Sub Conference: Science

Paul Zak: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Oxytocin

Paul J. Zak is Professor of Economics and Department Chair, as well as the founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University. He is author of: The Moral Molecule: The source of love and prosperity, with explores the relationship between Oxytocin, empathy, compassion, trust, etc.

"The Moral Molecule is a first-hand account of the discovery of a molecule that makes us moral. It reveals that compassion [and empathy] is part of our human nature, why loneliness can kill you, and why your neighbor may be a psychopath."
Sub Conference: Science

 Arianna Huffington: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy

Arianna Huffington is president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group.  She is the author of numerous books including, On Becoming Love, Work, and Life.  

is an interview I did with Arianna via email.

How can we build a culture of empathy?

"To a physicist a critical mass is the amount of radioactive material that must be present for a nuclear reaction to become self-sustaining. For the empathy movement, a critical mass is when the empathy habit is cultivated by enough people that it can begin to spread spontaneously. I think of it as an outbreak of a positive infection. And everyone has the potential to be a carrier. So one thing we can do is to spread it as widely as possible...  


I think the opposite of empathy is the projection of our own fears onto others. We've seen this over and over again throughout American history. In times of economic upheaval, when huge numbers of people are losing their jobs, losing their homes, and feeling powerless to do anything about it, it has always been the case that people look for scapegoats. Empathy is the antidote to that."

Sub Conference: Journalism and Media.

Frans de Waal talks with Edwin about the Nature of Empathy
How can we build a culture of empathy?
I think it is important in society, especially at the moment. Now that we have come out of this period where greed was so good. I think it is important to emphasize that there are alternative ways of looking at society. A society where solidarity is important and caring about others is important. 
Sub Conference: Science
 Paul Ekman talks about the Nature of Empathy and Compassion with Edwin Rutsch 
  How can we build a culture of empathy?
'The survival of the planet as we know it depends on global compassion...

If I was president, thank god I'm not, I would start a Manhattan Project on global empathy. It has the urgency of the Manhattan Project. It needs the bringing together of the best minds in the world to focus on this issue, because there is an urgency too it. I think Al Gore was right, that time is running out. We can't wait 20 or 40 years to figure out what to do with this problem."
Sub Conference: Science

 Kristin Neff Talks with Edwin about Empathy and Self-Compassion
Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, talks with Edwin about the nature of empathy, self-empathy self-compassion and compassion.
Sub Conference: Science

Live chat with Simon Baron-Cohen: Empathy and the Science of Evil

We talk with Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of Developmental Psychopathology and Director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University.
 In his new book;
Zero Degrees of Empathy: a New Theory of Human Cruelty (UK)
The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty (US)
he calls for a redefinition of Evil as a lack of empathy.
Sub Conference: Science


James Doty: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy & Compassion

James Doty is Stanford Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery and founding director of the Center for the Study of Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE.   'CCARE is striving to create a community of scholars and researchers, including neuroscientists, psychologists, educators and philosophical and contemplative thinkers around the study of compassion.' 

Jim says we have to go beyond mindfulness to a transcendent connection between people. We can get beyond loneliness,  isolation and depression to have a more sustained happiness, by contributing to the wellbeing of others.
Sub Conference: Science

Live Chat with Christian Keysers, author: The Empathic Brain

We talk with Christian Keysers, author of The Empathic Brain: How the Discovery of Mirror Neurons Changes our Understanding of Human Nature.


He is one of the few scientists that have directly studied mirror neurons. His work on the neural basis of empathy has led to publications in the most prominent scientific journals.
Sub Conference: Science

Howard Zehr: How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Restorative Justice

Widely known as “the grandfather of restorative justice,” Zehr began as a practitioner and theorist in restorative justice in the late 1970s at the foundational stage of the field.  Author of many books including The Little Book of Restorative Justice.

We talked about the role of empathy as a foundational value in the restorative justice movement. Edwin thinks a more accurate term would be restorative empathy.  Howard has said, "This vision of mutuality is supported by neuro science and attachment theory. The new neuro science is teaching us that we as a human being, our brains are designed to connect with other people."
Sub Conference: Justice

Mary Gordon founder of 'Roots of Empathy' talks about the Importance of Empathy
Your quest for an empathic culture, or a Culture of Empathy as you call it, I think is a great quest. I don't think it's ever to late to develop empathy. It starts so naturally... I think we should do everything that we can to cultivate empathy and we can do it at every level. So why would we not.
Sub Conference: Education

Huston Smith Talks with Edwin Rutsch about Empathy

 An Interview with Huston Smith, religious studies scholar and author of many books on world religions including 'The World's Religions'.

"I'm a seeker after truth. For me empathy is at the heart of love. We humans are empathetic creatures.'

Sub Conference: Interfaith

Also take part in an Empathy Conference Panel Discussion

Panel 003-A: How Can We Build a Culture of Empathy?

Marco Iacoboni

Karen Gerdes

Rhonda Morton
Edwin Rutsch


Edwin Rutsch and Marco Iacoboni (Neuro Scientist), Karen Gerdes (Professor in School Of Social Work) and Rhonda Morton (Artist) explore the nature of empathy from different fields of study. We looked for ways to promote empathy in society.


Panel 004-A:  Fostering Empathy With the Arts

Lynn Johnson
Seung Chan Lim
Joan Kuenz
Tal-Chen Rabinowitch
Eva Vigran
Edwin Rutsch

This panel of guest artists from the fields of dance, music, theater, and design, shared their personal insights of how empathy plays a vital part in their various art forms.  The artists also outlined how they would make empathy front and center in our culture through their art form.


There are many more interviews. Explore the website for more.