The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy is the home of the global
empathy movement. Our
mission is to build a
for creating a global worldwide culture of empathy and compassion. We do
this through a variety of means. First is by community organizing.
We bring people together and hold in-person and online meetings and
Circles. Next is by collecting,
curating and organizing all the material we find on the internet on the
topics. Researching through the arts and sciences. We are putting
together a series of documentaries to educate the public and much, much
Our current project is to develop our
Conference on, How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and
Compassion? Contact us if you'd like to be involved in
organizing this event. Let's help fill the empathy deficit by making
people more aware of the fundamental importance of empathy and
compassion in our lives. This is a collaborative project and we invite
you to take part. Send an email if you'd like to get involved with the
group or with creating this video, etc.
Empathy Cafe Magazine
Searching the internet for the latest articles. Curated and
organized into informative and attractive news pages. Subscribe
for daily updates.
Join the Quest Latest
interviews, panel discussions, etc,
We reached the
milestone for our conference on how to build a culture
of empathy and compassion!!! There are over 300 hours of
empathy and compassion experts from around the world talking about
how we can build a movement to transform the world culture with
empathy. This is only the beginning
How might we empathically redesign our community to better support our
deepest dreams, values, needs and aspirations? Let us come together to
reignite the embers of personal and community empathy!
We will learn how to listen and respond so that each person feels loved,
heard, seen, and appreciated. When we work together we can co-create
harmonious loving relationships and communities.
"We’ll have to reignite the embers
of empathy and fellow feeling"
"The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the
mistakes of history; that we are masters of our fate. But it also teaches
us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work
together. We’ll have to
reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of
conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago."Barack
BE ANOTHER LAB is an interdisciplinary art
collective dedicated to investigate embodied and telepresence experiments.
We believe that the understanding of the “self” is related to the
understanding of the “Other” and that more than individuals, we are part
of a broader system called humanity. Under this perspective, we search for
innovative possibilities on the concepts of embodied interaction, extended
body and extended mind by mixing low-budget digital technology with social
relations, Web and also neuroscientist methodologies.
The goal of Be Another Lab is to explore
the concepts of empathy through
technology, science, and art.
Programmer seeking the empowerment of individuals and communities by
digital means. He likes to work in interdisciplinary environments where
science, humanities and technology meet and stimulate each other.
Philippe Bertrand Interdisciplinary artist,
investigator, activist. Interested in interactive narratives and 2.0 tools
of social intervention.
We develop Creative Commons tools based on OpenKnowledge and are
collaborating with experimental psychologists and neurologists to develop
usage procedures to ‘the machine’ as a low-budget rehabilitation system,
and also as an immersive role playing system. Sub
Roman Krznaric is
a cultural thinker and writer on the art of living. He is a founding
faculty member of The School of Life in London, which offers instruction
and inspiration on the important questions of everyday life, and advises organisations including Oxfam and the United Nations on using empathy and
conversation to create social change. He has been named by The Observer as
one of Britain’s leading lifestyle philosophers.
Roman is author of
Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution.
I believe that empathy – the imaginative act of
stepping into another person’s shoes and
viewing the world from their perspective –
is a radical tool for social change and
should be a guiding light
for the art of living.
From the book
description; "Through encounters with actors, activists, groundbreaking
designers, undercover journalists, nurses, bankers and neuroscientists,
Krznaric defines a new breed of adventurer. He sets out the six
life-enhancing habits of highly empathetic people, whose skills enable
them to connect with others in extraordinary ways. Empathy has the power
to transform relationships, from the personal to the political. Krznaric
contends that, as we move on from an age of introspection, empathy will be
key to fundamental social change - making this book a manifesto for
Mark Ingwer is a business psychologist and the founding
partner of Insight Consulting Group, a global marketing and strategy
consultancy specializing in consumer and business insights. He has over 25 years experience applying his unique blend of
psychology, marketing, and business acumen to helping companies optimize
their brand and marketing strategy based on an in-depth understanding of
practice empathy in its
and thus falls short of truly
connecting with customers.
Mark is author of Empathetic Marketing:
How to Satisfy the 6 Core Emotional Needs of Your Customers. He
"A business that invests in empathy devotes itself to understanding the
emotional needs and motivations of its customers, and aligns itself to
meet them. Companies have increasingly embraced the role of emotion in
selling products and services, but often merely pay lip service to its
importance without understanding how to harness it."
Annika Wachter and Roberto Gallego are founders of
Tasting Travels, a project
that seeks to promote bicycle travel as a model to cultivate empathy. They
have ridden their bicycles from Europe to Australia and beyond.
They say, "We are a multicultural couple that decided in
2011 to explore a thin line around the world by bicycle. Our main goal is
to promote bike travel as a model to cultivate empathy.... We are moved by
the strong belief that bike travel is an excellent way to cultivate
empathy in our world, not only towards human beings but to other living
... bike travel is an excellent way
to cultivate empathy in our world,
not only towards human beings but
to other living species...
Dominic Barter plays with dialogue and
partnership, focusing primarily in the fields of education, justice,
culture and social change. In the mid-90s he collaborated in the
development of Restorative Circles,
a community-based and -owned practice for dynamic engagement with conflict
that grew from conversations with residents in gang-controlled shantytown
favelas in Rio de Janeiro.
He adapted the practice for the
Brazilian Ministry of Justice's award-winning national projects in
Restorative Justice and supports its application in a further 25
countries. In recent years he has supervised the mediation program for the
Police Pacification Units in Rio, served as invited professor at the
Standing Group for Consensual Methods of Conflict Resolution, at the High
Court of Rio, with a focus on school mediation and bullying, and focused
on the development of restorative community. Currently Dominic directs the
Dialogue Restoration project for the State Education Department of Rio de
Janeiro and partners with the Centre for the Study of Public Security and
Citizenship at Candido Mendes University.
something really unique about empathy,
that it clears the things that are blocking action,
and that it
connects both inside and
to other people in a way that
As a long time student and colleague of Dr. Marshall
Rosenberg Dominic serves on the Board of Directors for the Center for
Nonviolent Communication, shares Nonviolent Communication throughout
Brazil and internationally, and supports its learning in project-based,
community contexts. He has been active in the street movements and
occupations in Rio in recent years. He’s the very happy dad of an amazing
14 year old. You can find out more
about Restorative Circles at
Antonio (Tony) Fernando is a medical doctor and
Senior Lecturer at the School of Medicine in the University of
Auckland located in
Auckland, New Zealand. His research interests include diagnosis
and treatment of insomnia and other sleep disorders. He is currently
working on a PhD on compassion in healthcare.
suggested that the scientific study
of compassion in medicine may be enhanced
when conducted within a transactional framework...
"We have suggested
that the scientific study of compassion in medicine may be enhanced when
conducted within a transactional framework in which compassion is viewed
as stemming from the dynamic interactions between physician, patient,
clinical, and institution/environment factors. The Transactional Model of
Physician Compassion offers a framework within which to identify and
organize the barriers and facilitators of physician compassion and thus
better inform future interventions aimed at enhancing physician
In this panel discussion,
Kristin Neff, Christopher Germer
and Edwin Rutsch discuss the question,
What is the Relationship Between
Self-Empathy, Empathy, Self-Compassion & Compassion? There is
a great deal of confusion about the
meanings and definitions of self-empathy, empathy, self-compassion
& compassion. We might be talking about the same experience,
but are using different words, or are talking about different
experiences and are using the same word, etc.
There is a great deal of confusion about the
definitions of self-empathy, empathy, self-compassion
& compassion. We might be talking about the same
experience, but are using different words.
for instance, say there is compassion fatigue. Recently some in the
compassion community have been saying it's really empathy fatigue.
Kristin feels personal distress may be a more
accurate term. Edwin feels there is no such
thing as compassion or empathy fatigue, it is really more
accurately described as empathy and compassion deficit fatigue.
Join us for a wide ranging dialog about this and more with leaders
in the field of empathy and compassion.
Michael E. Morrell is Associate Professor, University of
Connecticut. His main research interests examine the connections between
empathy and democracy, the effects of direct democratic participation on
citizens, and the role of political efficacy in democracy, public opinion,
and political behavior. He is also continuing to explore his theory of the
role of empathy in democracy as it relates to topics ranging from
President Barack Obama to agonistic democracy. Michael is author of
Democracy: Feeling, Thinking, and Deliberation. He writes:
"Today's democracies are still struggling to fulfill
promise of equal consideration, and the claim I will defend
is that they can do so most fully by giving
empathy a central role in democratic
Kelly Bryson, MA, MFT is the author of the best selling
book, Don't Be Nice, Be Real –
Balancing Passion for Self with Compassion for Others. He is a licensed
therapist in private practice, lecturer, workshop facilitator, and
consultant. He has been an authorized trainer for the International Center
for Nonviolent Communication for over 20 years, and has trained thousands
in the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Kelly is also a humorist,
guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He in now working on building new
authentic empathy communities & cultures.
writes, "When I empathize with someone, I become a strong and gentle wind,
filling the sailboat of the other’s inner exploration. As the Wind, I
have no control over the steering of the boat. That is left up to the
captain of the ship, the person I am being present to. I do not try to
direct, only connect with where the other is in this very present moment.
I bring in no ideas of thoughts about the past or the future. I bring in
no thoughts of my own. I have no preference for where we go on this
journey – only that it come from the captain’s heart and choice. The
purpose of my presence is connection, never correction. I am a steady,
present trade wind, not an impatient and gusty gale."
When I empathize with
I become a strong and gentle wind,
filling the sailboat of the other’s
"Empathy brings in nothing from the
past. When I am empathizing I am not remembering when I was having a
similar experience. In one sense I am not even there. The only thing
present is your experience, feelings and stories. I am being with the felt
sense of them. Relating to another experience is about you. Empathizing is
about them. Some people get so caught up in the fear of wondering whether
they are empathizing correctly that very little empathy or attention is
left to be with the other. It is not really about doing empathy or giving
empathy - it is being empathy." Sub Conference:
Compassionate Communication (NVC) and
Building Empathic Community
Gay Leah Barfield was a Fellow of Center for Studies of the
Person for nearly 30 years where she created one
of the first Women's Centers in San Diego, as well as the 22 year long
series of "Living Now" Summer Institutes. With
Rogers she co-directed the Carl Rogers Institute for Peace, applying
person-centered principles to real and potential international crisis
situations, for which Dr. Rogers was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in
Empathy is a special way of coming to know another
and ourself, a kind of attuning and understanding.
When empathy is extended, it satisfies our
needs and wish for intimacy, it rescues us
from our feelings of aloneness.
Semi-retired, she continues to see private clients, mentor and train
MA graduate student therapists at the University of Hawaii in Hilo, as well
as write and publish about her experiences over the past 40 years as a
"gatherer," social activist, and stubborn idealist. Her immediate concern
for increasing civil discourse, based on Rogerian principles, particularly
as applied to the political dialogue process, is paramount among her
Gay and I talked about her work with Carl Rogers, her
insights into the nature of empathy and what she sees as the many benefits of empathy. Sub Conferences:
Denise Dellarosa Cummins is a retired Adjunct Professor of
Psychology and Philosophy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her
research interests include the evolution and development of higher
cognition in artificial and biological systems.
She writes, "To most of us, the idea that empathy is a good thing is a no
brainer. The more we empathize with the plight of others, the more ethical
and moral we behave towards them. Yet a number of psychologists and
philosophers reject this view....
To most of us, the idea that empathy is a good thing
is a no brainer.
Yet a number of psychologists
and philosophers reject this view....
believe empathy leads to bad moral judgments and bad social policy... The
desire to censure empathy stems from the belief that empathy and other
emotions necessarily lead to anarchy and retributive justice, while reason
necessarily leads to order and good judgment. Yet sufficient evidence from
the annals of human history plainly shows that reason, untempered by
empathy, is just as likely to lead to tyranny and genocide as it is to
lead to good judgment. When compassion and reason are decoupled, judgment
is not improved. Instead, the door is opened to inhumane practices." Sub Conferences:
Jesse Prinz is Distinguished Professor at City University of
New York, Graduate Center. He says "I work primarily in the philosophy of
psychology, broadly construed. I am interested in how the mind works. I
think philosophical accounts of the mental can be fruitfully informed by
findings from psychology, the neurosciences, anthropology, and related
fields. My theoretical convictions are unabashedly empiricist. I hope to
resuscitate core claims of British Empiricism against the backdrop of
contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive science."
"empathy is prone to biases that
In this engaging interview-dialog, Edwin Rutsch empathizes
with Jesse about the problems he sees with empathy and replies to some of
the criticisms. Jesses says, "empathy is prone to biases that render
it potentially harmful. Another construct—concern—fares somewhat better,
but it is also of limited use. I argue that, instead of empathy, moral
judgments involve emotions such as anger, disgust, guilt, and admiration.
These, not empathy, provide the sentimental foundation for morality."
Paul Bloom is a Professor of Psychology and
Cognitive Science at Yale University. His research explores how
children and adults understand the physical and social world,
with special focus on language, morality, religion, fiction, and
We’re often at our best when we’re smart
enough not to rely on it.
Paul's article in the May edition of
the New Yorker Magazine, titled
Baby in the Well, The
Case Against Empathy" expresses
some of his concerns about the current enthusiasm for empathy.
We are developing some empathic dialog to listen to and
empathically hear and respond to these concerns.
Sim Van der Ryn has been a teacher, writer, researcher, and
practitioner of design for forty years. A leading authority on ecologically
sustainable architecture and design, he is Emeritus Professor of
Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught
Sim is author of numerous books including his most recent,
Design for an
Empathic World: Reconnecting People, Nature, and Self. "He
advocates for “empathic design”, in which a designer not only works in
concert with nature, but with an understanding of and empathy for the end
user and for ones self. It is not just one of these connections, but all
three that are necessary to design for a future that is more humane,
equitable, and resilient."
In Design for an Empathic World, Sim Van Der Ryn weaves
the architecture of empathy for
nature into a vibrant, compassionate whole...
"In Design for an Empathic World, Sim Van Der Ryn
weaves the architecture of empathy for self, others and nature into a
vibrant, compassionate whole. Brimming with gratitude, Van Der Ryn tells
stories from his life as an architect, teacher and thought leader. His
lesson, that only with empathy can we repair the fabric of humans and
nature." Jonathan F.P. Rose
Sub Conference: Human-Centered Design
is the Founder, President and the inspiration behind
Roots of Empathy
&Seeds of Empathy.She
is recognized internationally as an award-winning social
entrepreneur, educator, author, child advocate and parenting
expert who has created programs informed by the power of
I tell them we need empathy in the
to prevent social decay...
is author of
Roots of Empathy: Changing the World, Child by Child. She says, "When I talk to city
officials, I speak of the fact that there is fluoride in
our water supply to prevent tooth decay. I tell them we need
empathy in the water supply to prevent social decay."
Kathryn Pavlovich is Associate Professor at the University of Waikato,
New Zealand. She has a special interest in conscious capitalism,
enterprise, self-leadership, ethics and spirituality.
Keiko Krahnke is Associate Professor at the University of Northern
Colorado. She has research interest in empathy, systems thinking, ethics,
In this interview, editors Kathryn Pavlovich and Keiko Krahnke give
a broad overview of the book and the individual chapters.
Charlie Chaplin - Modern Times
This book challenges the existing paradigm of capitalism
by providing scientific evidence and empirical data that
empathy is the most important organizing mechanism..
through Empathy. "This book challenges the existing paradigm of
capitalism by providing scientific evidence and empirical data that empathy
is the most important organizing mechanism.... Empathy dissolves the boundaries between self and
others, and feelings of altruism towards others are activated. This
process results in more compassionate and caring contexts, as well
as helping others in times of suffering. This book provides evidence
from neuroscience and quantum physics that it is empathy that connects
humanity, and that this awareness can create a more just society.
By developing empathy, youth learn to attend to emotional cues,
listen, become sensitive to others, understand another's
perspective, and read the needs
developing empathy, youth learn to attend to emotional cues, listen,
become sensitive to others, understand another's perspective, and read
the needs of others, which allows them to work and live with others in
community and act with compassion toward others' needs."
Conferences: Workplace and Science
Transcendent Empathy: The Ability to See the Larger System
Keiko Krahnke is Associate Professor of Management;
Business Communications at University of Northern Colorado in the Montfort
College of Business. Areas of research interests include
spirituality and business, systems thinking, Appreciative Inquiry, and
Michael Senge is an American scientist and director of the Center for
Organizational Learning at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
We propose the notion of "transcendent empathy"
ability to see these larger systems in time
to move beyond mere
"We suggest that empathy is something broader than knowing
or feeling another's psychological or emotional state. The fundamental
concept of empathy is to care about another as if you were in the shoes of
the other. Our purpose here is to expand this caring to the larger living
systems of which we are part. We propose the notion of "transcendent
empathy" as the ability to see these larger systems in time and space, to
move beyond mere intellectual understanding to embrace "system sensing" as
a doorway to other awareness of what exists now and to future
Conferences: Workplace and Science
Danielle Ofri, MD is an essayist, editor, and practicing
internist in New York City. She is an attending physician at Bellevue
Hospital, and Associate Professor of Medicine at New York University
School of Medicine.
It’s no wonder that the third year of
figures prominently in studies that document
of empathy and moral reasoning
in medical trainees...
She writes, "It’s no wonder that the third year of medical
school figures prominently in studies that document decline of empathy
and moral reasoning in medical trainees... the erosion of empathy, for
example, may have long-reaching consequences. Patients of doctors who
score lower on tests that measure empathy appear to have worse clinical
outcomes. Diabetic patients, for instance, have worse control of their
blood sugar and cholesterol. Cancer patients seem to experience more
depression. Medication compliance diminishes. Even the common cold can
Director of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy, hosts a
discussion with two of the primary leaders in the movement to transform
medical culture from detachment to a culture of empathy.
I’ve investigated what happens to patients when
their doctors show a lack of empathy...
only recently have studies proven just
how harmful detachment and how
beneficial empathy is for healing.
M.D., Ph.D is Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard
Medical School and Director of the Empathy and Relational Science
Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is Chief Technology
which offers scientifically based empathy training
proven to optimize interpersonal engagement.'
When kids are able to watch an interaction that's empathic,
empathy isn't just being taught;
it's being demonstrated,
Dan shared his understanding about the importance of empathy and how it
works in the brain thought mirror neurons. "When kids are able to watch
an interaction that's empathic, empathy isn't just being taught; it's
being demonstrated," Talking about the importance of empathic
attunement, Dan says, "When we attune with others we allow our own
internal state to shift, to come to resonate with the inner world of
another. This resonance is at the heart of the important sense of
“feeling felt” that emerges in close relationships. Children need
attunement to feel secure and to develop well, and throughout our lives
we need attunement to feel close and connected."
Arianna Huffington is president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post
Media Group. She is the author of numerous books including,
Fearless...in Love, Work, and Life.
Here is an interview I
did with Arianna via email.
For the empathy movement, a critical mass is
the empathy habit is cultivated by
enough people that it can begin
to spread spontaneously.
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
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."
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, which explores the relationship
between Oxytocin, empathy, compassion, trust, etc
The change in
predicted their feelings of empathy.
it's empathy that makes us connect to other people.
It's empathy that makes us help other people.
It's empathy that makes us moral
"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:
The survival of the planet as we know it depends
If I was president,
thank god I'm not, I would start a
Manhattan Project on global empathy.
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:
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.
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
A cultural and educational change that emphasizes empathy more.
The other things, that I'm not an
expert on, is education and culture of course. A cultural and
educational change that emphasizes empathy more. I would also warn
that empathy is not invariably positive. People think that empathy
is automatically a positive characteristic. Empathy can be used for
bad purposes also. Sub Conference:
"Empathy plays a fundamental role in our social lives. It allows
us to share emotions, experiences, needs, and goals. Not
surprisingly, there is much empirical evidence suggesting a strong
link between between mirror neurons (or some general forms of
neuronal mirroring) and empathy."
culture of empathy can be increased by: becoming aware about our biological capacity
for empathy through mirror neurons
In this interview,
Marco Iacoboni challenges the traditional Western understanding of
human nature as selfish and struggling for surviving and suggests
that neurologically and evolutionally we are predispositioned to
create empathic connections. A culture of empathy can be increased
becoming aware about our biological capacity for empathy through
having intention to increase culture empathy,
creating more empathic living environment
decreasing the focus on differences and labeling
increasing the focus on us (similarities)
increasing empathic behavior of governments, leaders and
In this second interview, Marco Iacoboni, Lidewij
Niezink and Edwin Rutsch discuss Definitions, Measurements &
Metrics of empathy. Marco says, "I think what's interesting
to me most is to define metrics of empathy. How can I measure this
thing? Why it matters? If we want to design interventions to
improve empathy we need to agree upon ways of quantifying it. People do
get bogged down in debates on definitions and don't even get to the
point of trying to discuss metrics of empathic behavior. This slows down
progress, I think" Sub