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Culture of Empathy Builder:   Claire Yorke

The Varied Dynamics of Empathy in Politics
 Claire Yorke


Claire Yorke is a Henry A. Kissinger Postdoctoral Fellow at International Security Studies and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University. Her research explores the role and limitations of empathy and emotions in international affairs and diplomacy.  Claire wrote an article/paper titled, The Significance and Limitations of Empathy in Strategic Communications.



"This article examines the varied dynamics of empathy through the lens of American politics at domestic and international levels. It argues that empathy is a multifaceted and complex concept with transformative power, but also with practical and political limitations, which deserves far greater attention from strategic communications practitioners."






The Varied Dynamics of Empathy in Politics
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Is empathy a strategic imperative? A review essay
Claire Yorke

Empathy is increasingly seen as integral to effective strategy, offering solutions to policy failures and new ways to achieve strategic and operational success. Despite its softer connotations, empathy is hard, requiring strategists to confront misperceptions and false assumptions, and overcome individual egos and national hubris. This article reviews the literature, examining some of the gaps and costs incurred. Whilst strategic empathy may have transactional and instrumental connotations, it suggests that the concept holds greater potential to transform strategy. Used wisely, it offers an ethos and means to put people first, foster greater security, and offer innovative approaches to contemporary challenges.



Making the Connection: The Role of Empathy in Communicating Policy

  • 1. Introduction

  • 2. Empathy in Communicating Policy

  • 3. Case Study One: Germany, Refugees and the Migration Crisis

  •  4. Case Study Two: Brexit and the UKís Decision to Leave the European Union

  • 5. Case Study Three: New Zealandís Response to Terrorism

  •  6. Conclusion: Empathy as a Variable Asset References

 Defined as an attempt to understand the experiences, feelings, and perspectives of another, and emphasizing the benefits of genuine human connection, the importance of empathy has been extolled by political leaders including former President Barack Obama, and current Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern. Yet it is no panacea, and its benefits may be subjective, dependent on diverse perspectives of who it benefits, and at what cost. More work needs to be done to understand its complexity and how it interacts with the imperatives and challenges of politics and public discourse.