Activating Empathy to Create Change - News Roundup

Activating Empathy to Create Change - News Roundup

Kristie Wang's picture

We’ll be posting the latest news from around the web on innovative empathy projects that help build vibrant communities! Check back weekly for more news and insights about putting empathy into action. 


The world’s first Empathy Museum

Writer and cultural thinker Roman Krznaric talks about his latest project: the world’s first Empathy Museum, an “experiential adventure space for stepping into other people’s shoes.” Starting with a series of interactive pop-ups, the Empathy Museum aims to create a “mass upsurge in empathic awareness.” Check out Krznaric’s video on the Power of Outrospection below and read the full article here on



Babies in an elementary school classroom?


(Photo: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

The newest teachers at the District’s Maury Elementary School are “mostly bald, and completely mesmerizing.”  They are babies, part of Ashoka Fellow Mary Gordon’s project, Roots of Empathy. Popular in Canada, Roots of Empathy is now being piloted by five Washington, D.C. elementary schools. How can interacting with babies help students with social-emotional learning? How do empathy skills boost academic achievement? Find out via the Washington Post’s article here.


Empathy is key to the survival of the human race

Neuroscience has shown that we are born with the ability to empathize.  Social innovation expert Anita Nowak recently spoke at the PINC 15 conference about the science behind empathy and the brain, and discussed why activating our innate empathy skills and engaging in empathic action will be critical to our survival as a species. 

Contrary to the argument that human beings are self-serving by nature, Nowak makes a compelling case that we are hard-wired for empathy. “Empathy is the center of who we are,” Nowak said. “Our task is to create a world that enables, rather than hinders, our empathic selves.” 

Not to say that empathy has no personal benefits. "Engaging in empathic action has positive implications for self and society,” Nowak said. “Being in service to others lights up the same reward centers in the brain of cocaine, heroin and sex."

Watch Nowak’s full PINC talk below or check out Wired’s coverage here



Got a great solution or idea that activates empathy to nourish stronger, more vibrant communities and future changemakers? You could win one of four $100,000 prizes, or one of two potential $50,000 Idea Prizes if you are creating impact – or interested in creating impact—within these California counties: San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey. Enter the Building Vibrant Communities competition today!  (Image credit: Empathy block image via Shutterstock)