Empathy and Compassion in Society Youth Conference

Empathy and Compassion in Society Youth Conference

United KingdomLondon, United Kingdom
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Don’t you have to be ruthless to succeed in life? 350 teenagers will question some of the world's leading experts on empathy. www.compassioninsociety.org

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Isn’t compassion for wimps? Don’t you have to be ruthless to succeed in life? Does caring for others really make you less stressed? Is everyone capable of feeling empathy? How do gang members become peacemakers? These are the daily concerns of modern teenagers when it comes to empathy. Mind with Heart aims to make empathy a challenging focus of investigation for teenagers, starting from their own concerns, so they can build up their own curiosity about this human experience and come to a personal conviction of its benefits to oneself and to others. Too often teenagers have no space to explore these questions and no access to information designed for their age group.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Mind with Heart facilitates meetings between teenagers, including youth at risks, and the world’s leading experts on empathy and compassion, such as scientists, thinkers and changemakers. The Empathy and Compassion in Society Youth Conference is an opportunity for 350 teens to take part in this life-changing experience. The event will take place on 22 November 2012 at the Southbank Centre, near Westminster in London, UK. The youth conference is based on our curriculum and a pilot carried out last year: Young people prepare their own questions in advance, starting from where they are at. The interviews are filmed, and edited into short videos designed to initiate debates in schools. The young people who did the interview go back to their schools and present the videos in assemblies. The videos are widely available to schools through the internet. The project uses media and tools that appeals to young people: science, celebrities, video materials, and social media.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Mind with Heart has piloted the project by facilitating two unique interviews last year: In June 2011, students from the Family Life Centre near San Francisco interview Dr Paul Ekman, pioneer in the study of emotions, and internationally renowned for training government officials in emotion recognition. In September 2011, young Londoners from Bethnal Green Academy and Hampton School interview Matthieu Ricard, the Buddhist monk that popular media named the happiest man in the world. The videos have already gathered over 10,000 views in less than 6 months. You can view the videos on the Mind with Heart channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/MindwithHeartchannel?feature=watch The speakers at the Youth Conference will include neuroscientist and empathy specialist Tania Singer, theologian Karen Armstrong, initiator of the Charter for Compassion (tbc), co-founder of Action for Happiness and headmaster of Wellington College Anthony Seldon, and Yotam Heineberg, who works with gang members-turned-peacemakers. As well as giving the students involved a life-changing experience, and involving their whole school in learning about empathy, the project allows schools internationally to access free educational materials. The project is based on the experience of Mind with Heart in running workshops on empathy for teenagers. We plan to organise other such youth conferences in other countries to broaden the range of interviewees, and of schools involved. See http://compassioninsociety.org/index.php/youth-gathering for details.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

This project is designed to meet a specific need of the lack of widely available information suited to teenagers about empathy, and to complement other empathy education initiatives. While other Mind with Heart projects use a participatory educational approach and encourage young people to make their own observations and draw their own conclusions, we feel there is equally a need to give access to quality information on empathy, that can be tested against personal experience.
About You
Mind with Heart
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Mind with Heart

Organization Country

, LND, London

Country where this project is creating social impact
Your role in Education


The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with

Public (tuition-free)

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for less than a year

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Don’t you have to be ruthless to succeed in life? 350 teenagers will question some of the world's leading experts on empathy.

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

The Empathy and Compassion in Society Youth Conference is a life-changing experience. Share it with your school & online community.

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

With the 10 videos already produces, we receive feedback from teachers saying that just having access to the videos encourages them to focus teir social and emotional learning classes, tutor groups and assemblies on empathy, when they would have not felt able to address this topic before.

Mind with Heart has also held debates and workshops so far with:
- 10 citizenship or literature or philosophy classes in secondary schools in France and Australia
- 2 groups in a programme for teens dropping out of school in Montpellier
- 4 youth clubs in France and Australia
Each group has benefited from about 10 hours each.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

With the 2012 Empathy and Compassion in Society Youth Conferences, and the videos, we aim to encourage self-facilitated debates in 10 new schools in the academic year 2012/13, 20 in the year 2013/2014 and 40 in 2014/2015.

Mind with Heart will organise an inspirational international Youth Conference on Empathy and Compassion in Society every two years in a different country.

Schools are encouraged to organise their own conferences and debates.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

To create a maximum impact, Mind with Heart projects are designed to necessitate light infrastructure, facilitate partnership work, complement other educational initiatives and be widely accessible through the internet.

The challenge for small organisations is funding. Youth Conferences and video production will be mainly funded by the professional conference that they are connected to.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Hold the first Empathy and Compassion in Society Youth Conference - November 2012

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

April - May: Communicate widely the Youth Conference to Greater London inner-city state schools

Task 2

June-July: Select the schools for their commitment to making a change towards empathy education in the coming year

Task 3

September: Prepare teen panels of interviewees and speakers to interact with the scientists, thinkers and changemakers invited

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Share the change stories from the schools who participated in the Youth Conference

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

December - January : Edit and disseminate the videos from the Youth Conference

Task 2

January - March : Encourage the schools to document their empathy projects

Task 3

April: Share the stories of change in the schools and communities

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

For 15 years, I searched for creative ways to inspire people to live together sustainably. I was an educator for sustainable development.

Over that period, I was also attracted by the Dalai Lama's call for universal responsibility, and met educators passionate about the human mind, how it colours our perception and creates havoc.

One day, in 2009, I witnessed the 8-year-old son of a school friend of mine, who had just passed away, hitting yet again his younger brother. « One who loves himself will never harm another ». The meaning of this quote dawned on me. Finding non-dogmatic ways to help remove our misunderstandings about self-esteem, self-compassion, and empathy, that's the challenge. And it could well be the key to our survival as a species.

Tell us about your partnerships

Mind with Heart is now a partner of the Charter for Compassion.

We also initiated the partnership of organisations that holds the Empathy and Compassion in Society Conference, that follows the Youth Conference. It includes the Tenzin Gyatso Institute, The Charter for Compassion, Action for Happiness, The Spiritual Care Programme, The Compassionate Mind Foundation, and the Foundation for Developping Wisdom and Compassion.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

Mind with Heart's strength is that it is a network of educators. It was founded by four like-minded educators and now gathers almost thirty. It relies mainly on volunteers and on the inspiration of teachers.

We can limit ourselves to one staff in the next year, and plan to grow to two to three staff maximum.

We hope to recruit champions and a senior advisory board in the next year.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Our main need currently is one-off funding from october 2012 to september 2014 to complete the curriculum materials, and complement the income from events while it is still limited.

We would welcome offers to be part a senior advisory board.