Ari Cowan

Ari Cowan

Ari Cowan most recently served as the Director of the International Institute for Compassionate Cities (now CAN International Institute) and has since become a CAN International Fellow. He helped establish seven certified compassionate cities and more than 70 candidate compassionate cities as well as the first compassionate university.

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We are recording a Google+ Hangout with empathy practitioners and Activating Empathy winners Changing Worlds, No Bully, and Sports for Sharing (changemakers.com/empathy). Ari Cowan will be moderating the discussion.

Have questions for empathy experts? Post them here by Tuesday at 3pm EST and watch their responses via Google+ Hangout (video recording) on Wednesday.

  1. 859 days ago

    Edwin Rutsch

    HI Ari, I’d like to invite you to do an interview with me..
    Invitation to be interviewed by Edwin Rutsch
    One on one Skype Video Interviews
    Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion
    see
    http://bit.ly/y8WS7V
    just email me at EdwinRutsch@gmail.com

    For definitions of empathy. see this page I’ve put together
    http://cultureofempathy.com/References/Definitions.htm
    I break it down into 4 parts.

    1. Self-Empathy
    2. Mirrored Empathy
    3. Imaginative Empathy
    4. Empathic Action

    Warmly
    Edwin Rutsch
    Edwin Rutsch
    Director: Center for Building a Culture of Empathy
    A portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion.
    http://CultureOfEmpathy.com



  2. 860 days ago

    Terry Taylor

    For me, empathy is about turning a mirror into a window. I often find myself consumed with my own physical, emotional (and sometimes spiritual) aches and pains. It’s like constantly staring into a mirror. I can’t see anyone or anything else. I only find real peace when I find a way to transform that mirror into a window so that I can see and empathize with the pain and suffering of others.



    • Lauren Parnell Marino

      This is such a cool description – it really resonates with me. Thanks for sharing!

      858 days ago


    • Leah Breen

      I agree that you need to be aware of yourself before you can understand and relate to others. Empathy stems from a deeply personal place, but recognizing emotions in yourself and then others can help increase awareness of our common humanity.

      857 days ago


  3. 862 days ago

    Ari Cowan

    The United States imprisons more than 2.3 million people — 1/4 of all people imprisoned in the world, despite the fact that the U.S. has 1/20th of the world’s population. What would happen (if anything) if empathy was incorporated and applied as a core value in jails and prisons?



  4. 863 days ago

    Kathleen Ervin

    So important to be compassionate and empathic not only to those we love and care for but also and perhaps, especially, to those who irritate, anger and frustrate us. That is the road to peace and understanding. Hating them, complaining about them or to them only makes them feel more separate and defensive and defensiveness is the first act of war. When I breathe in peace and can send some compassion and a desire for understanding and empathy, only then is there hope for peace between us.



    • Ari Cowan

      Wonderful observations. Very articulately put.

      863 days ago


  5. 864 days ago

    Ari Cowan

    Being empathetic toward children, victims of disasters, vulnerable populations, victims of crime, and those experiencing loss is one thing. Directing it toward divisive politicians, predatory business leaders, rogue police officers, those convicted of crimes, terrorists, and tyrants is something altogether different. Or is it? What does empathy have to do with these people? What do you think?



  6. 864 days ago

    Ari Cowan

    Directing empathy toward children, victims of disasters, and those experiencing loss is one thing. Directing it toward divisive politicians, predatory business leaders, rogue police officers, those convicted of crimes, terrorists, and tyrants is something altogether different. Or is it? What does empathy have to do with these people? What do you think?



  7. 864 days ago

    Ari Cowan

    Empathy is an important element in being wholly human. Its presence is critical for cultivating and sustaining compassion. It deepens the experience of life, brings a richness of understanding, and allows me to more fully connect to others. I am alive because of the empathy and compassion shown to me in the past. For me, it’s a big deal.



  8. 864 days ago

    Ari Cowan

    I am a theorist, writer, and educator living in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. I’m currently a Compassionate Action Network (CAN) International Fellow and previously served as the Director of the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities for CAN International. You can read more about me at http://www.aricowan.net. CAN International, soon to be the home for the Charter for Compassion, can be found at http://compassion.is.