The Compassion Games
The time for social, emotional and ethical learning has come.
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Education begins in the womb and continues as a part of us until the end of our lives. It is integral to our growth intellectually, culturally, socially, psychologically and even physically—for each of these areas of our development are intrinsically linked one to the other.
The Charter for Compassion believes that one of our primary responsibilities is to promote education for all that is based in secular ethics, social emotional learning, kindness and compassion. To that end, we have developed a Charter for Compassion Institute which offers a core group of signature courses on compassion and promotes coursework that supports curiosity, growth and compassionate action in the Charter’s twelve sectors (art, business, education, environment, healthcare, interfaith/religion/spirituality, peace, restorative justice, social justice, social services, science and research, women and girls). In addition, we collaborate with other partners to sponsor their offerings.
Click here to be led to additional information about the Charter for Compassion Education Institute and strategic programs co-sponsored by the Charter for Compassion. This page serves as your entry point into each of our programs.
In addition to the Charter Education Institute we endorse and help communities set up three very innovative programs.
Think Equal is a non-profit charity registered in the UK and USA. It aims to promote best practice quality education, inclusion and equality in early childhood development and to collaborate with governments and global actors to bring this early childhood development program successfully to scale. Think Equal believes that there is a “missing subject,” and that every child across the world has an inalienable right to be nurtured with values, life skills and competencies which enable healthy and positive life outcomes. How can it be deemed compulsory for a child to learn mathematics, but it is optional for that child to learn how to value another human being or to lead healthy relationships?
In the Early Years, ages 3-6, when the child’s personality and moral framework are still developing, we must ensure that our children’s hearts are educated, and not just their heads. We must commit to a holistic approach to education which will result in a new generation of equal-thinkers and global citizens who can rise to the challenges of the 21st century.
Think Equal believes that the earlier we start the process of introducing social and emotional learning to children, the greater the effect in terms of increasing pro-social behaviors and attitudes, and lessening disaffection, discriminatory, negative, and anti-social behavior patterns into adolescence and beyond.
Think Equal has designed and created for this purpose a concrete step by step Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Program which is simple to implement and detailed. Think Equal has researched and gathered together best practice resources and tools in the field, and has developed its program with advice and input from global experts and visionaries in education, gender, psychology and neuroscience.
Think Equal believes in the learner’s autonomy and in the child as an agent of social change. We aim to empower the learner through various individual narratives, which inform social and emotional development, and create a greater collective narrative. The individual learner is encouraged to play a collaborative and contributive part in the community and the world beyond it. Ubuntu is the underlying philosophy of the Think Equal Program – I am the other you and you are the other me; our humanity is bound together.
The Charter for Compassion will work with Compassionate City Initiatives that wish to bring Think Equal to their school districts and to private and independent systems. Contact us at the Charter to explore how this can happen. Learn more about Think Equal at their website. The Charter for Compassion has helped to introduce and facilitate Think Equal programs in Australia and Mexico.
The time for social, emotional, and ethical learning has come.
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Social, Emotional, and Ethical (SEE) Learning is an innovative K-12 education program developed by Emory University.
SEE Learning™ provides educators with the tools they need to foster the development of emotional, social, and ethical intelligence for students and themselves.
SEE Learning™ represents the state of the art in education by enhancing SEL programming with key additional components, including:
- attention training
- compassion and ethical discernment
- systems thinking
- resilience and trauma-informed practice
This program provides educators with a developmentally-staged curriculum consisting of easy-to-implement lessons, the conceptual framework used to design the curriculum, and resources for educator preparation and development. SEE Learning empowers students to engage ethically as part of a global community and provides educators with the tools to support student well-being.
The SEE Learning framework owes its existence to a number of pioneers, researchers, and educators who have explored creatively and thoughtfully what education can be in order to maximize the flourishing of present and future generations. It builds on the innovative work done in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and other educational initiatives that seek to introduce holistic education into schools. Those familiar with Dr. Daniel Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence or the five sets of competencies identified by CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning)1 will no doubt find a great deal of resonance between these approaches and the SEE Learning framework, and the influence of Dr. Goleman and Peter Senge’s book, The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education, can be clearly seen. Where schools already have existing SEL programs, SEE Learning can be used to complement these programs. No background in SEL, however, is required to understand SEE Learning.
SEE Learning builds on the pioneering work done by the SEL community, developing and adding components that are often not found in SEL but that have been suggested by some of the founders of SEL. The first of these is an emphasis on cultivating the skill of attention. Attention is a fundamental skill that impacts all aspects of learning, yet it has been largely neglected as an explicit focus for education. As Dr. Goleman notes, “Because it is such an essential element of helping children better manage their inner worlds and enhance learning, training in attention seems an obvious next step for SEL.”
Secondly, SEE Learning adds to SEL a more comprehensive focus on ethics. This is not an ethics based on a particular culture or religion, but rather one grounded in basic human values such as compassion. In SEE Learning the benefits of kindness and compassion are explored, and students are taught material and practices that can contribute to a greater ability to care skillfully for themselves and others. Growing scientific evidence supports the notion that a compassionate, caring attitude is beneficial not only to others but also to oneself in terms of physical and emotional health, and the implications of such an attitude for social well-being are clear. Dr. Goleman has pointed out the absence of this critical component in schools: “It’s not enough just to know how other people think or feel; we also need to be concerned about them and be ready to help. I think this is a vital life skill for both kids and adults, and such an addition to SEL would be an important next step for schools.”
Thirdly, SEE Learning includes a focus on increasing awareness of interdependence and systems, as well as the critical thinking skills necessary for responsible decision-making. In our increasingly dynamic and globalized world, both personal success and ethical action require a sophisticated appreciation of interdependence, systems and complexity.Increasingly, schools are recognizing the need to prepare students to be global citizens who can navigate an increasingly complex world in a responsible way that can contribute to their own and others’ flourishing. A systems approach—namely one that recognizes that we exist within and are affected by interdependent systems—is the logical next step for programs that focus on helping students learn practices of self-care and other-care.
Contact the Charter for Compassion if you wish to explore how your schools and/or educational organizations can be involved with SEE Learning.
Compassion Integrity Training
Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) is a multi-part training program that cultivates basic human values as skills for the purpose of increasing individual, social and environmental flourishing. By covering a range of skills from self-regulation and self-compassion to compassion for others and engagement with complex systems, CIT focuses on and builds towards compassionate integrity: the ability to live one’s life in accordance with one’s values with a recognition of common humanity, our basic orientation to kindness, and reciprocity. Unlike some definitions of integrity that focus on mere consistency with one’s values, without examining what those values are, compassionate integrity insists that consistency with one’s values is not enough if those values promote harm to oneself, others, or the world. Instead, maintaining and increasing consistency with one’s values is most beneficial when they are values that promote one’s own well-being as well as that of others. As to what those values are and how we understand them, this is arrived at by investigating and examining things for oneself, using common sense, common experience, and science. Compassionate integrity is, therefore, not something achieved merely as a result of wishful thinking or force of will, but rather as the result of building up knowledge, understanding, and a set of concrete skills. Because compassionate integrity is what guards against actions that compromise the well-being of oneself and others, cultivating it in one’s life and in one’s community directly impacts individual and collective flourishing.
Although CIT deals with values and concepts like compassion and integrity, it is based on a secular approach to universal ethics based on common sense, common experience and science, rather than a particular culture or religion. Secular ethics can be useful to people of any or no religious background, while not being in any way in conflict with any particular religious values. The word “secular” in no way implies a stance that is against religion; on the contrary, it implies inclusivity and a respect for all. This approach to ethics has been advocated by organizations such as the Sustainable Development Solutions Network of the United Nations through its World Happiness Report and individuals such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights of 1948 was also based on a secularized philosophy of universal values which took all human beings, all nations, all cultures and all religions and non-believers into account.
The Charter for Compassion offers CIT training and facilitator training several times each year. Our wish is to build hubs of trainers globally so that CIT can be experienced by tens of thousands each year year. Check our Character Education Institute for future classes.
Charter for Compassionate Schools
There is great need for a Charter for Compassionate Schools that translates the principle of compassion to the uniqueness of the school world and acts as a rallying cry and unifying vision for schools and educational organizations across the globe.
Cultivating compassion in schools, and creating the kind of culture where it is a norm of student and staff behavior, may seem at first a noble ideal: a nice-to-have, something to be undertaken only when all other priorities are met. Yet we now have the evidence to show that a school’s ability to foster real learning, indeed to fulfill its fundamental purpose, depends on its ability to do just that. Students and adults alike thrive when their social and emotional needs are met, when they feel a sense of belonging, when they feel their voices are welcomed and heard. Choosing to uphold the principles of compassion is central to a school’s ability to create a caring and inclusive culture and climate, to nurture a strong moral identity among those who walk through its doors, and to invite deep participation and learning. What’s more, compassionate action is foundational to effective collaboration, and to advancing the common good—attributes that, in today’s increasingly connected world—are central to success. A compassionate school begins with the adults on campus walking their talk and modeling compassion to all.
Join a global movement to bring compassion to our schools! Read more about the Program and introduce it to schools in your area of the world.
The Compassion Education Summit
The inaugural Compassion Summit was held at the American Community School, Amman, Jordan, March 23-25, 2017. International Schools Group-Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and the American Community School-Amman, Jordan, spent several months ideating, planning, and visualizing an event that would, as envisioned, be the first of its kind. Not anticipating more than 30 students at first, the event expanded to invite eleven schools from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Jordan.
Based on the principles and tenets of the Charter for Compassion, and under the auspices of the InternationalCharter for Compassion, the idea was to bring students together and give them a compassion-focused task. If your community, school system or compassion initiative would like to talk about how we can implement a Compassion Education in your community please contact the Charter to begin the discussion.
Special Charter for Compassion Programs
How It All Started...
As you may be aware, the Charter for Compassion established a Compassion Book Club inspired by and built around Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. Many of our members have formed book clubs and discussion groups surrounding this important work. Now, we would like to invite you to join us in the books we've selected for our All-Charter-Book-Read, called The Global Read.
How it works?
We will select several books each year. Members can read these books individually, host book clubs, form discussion groups, etc. in our various and wide-spread places of residence. We will allocate several weeks for the reading of each book and then have the authors of the book lead an on-line discussion of their work as well as address questions generated by the audience. To participate in these conversations you'll need to register for the conference call. The link will be sent to you once you sign up to participate. If you cannot join the author and guests live, please send your questions in advance to this email address. The recording will be available on the Charter website for viewing at a later time and date.
We are excited to be continuing this compassionate literary venture, and we look forward to your participation! Tell your friends. Bring them along for the discussion. Let’s read!
Check out the latest Global Read selections and learn how to enroll.
We encourage you to make your purchases through your local bookstore. However, if you plan to order your books from Amazon - please use Amazon Smile and select the Charter for Compassion as your charitable organization of choice.
Charter for Compassion Affiliated Programs
If you want to change the world, throw a better party.
-Rick Ingrasci, M.D.
It was once believed that the only thing humans had in common across geography and culture was our genetic makeup. Everything else in human life was believed to be relative, or the resulted influence of one’s cultural environment.
With a resurgence of understanding regarding the human species, we now know how far off the mark this actually is. There are certainly significant cultural differences that should be honored and celebrated, traditions that paint the human experience in brilliant and unique ways. Yet, the human experience is also a deeply shared experience. As it turns out, the foundation for a meaningful and worthwhile life, or the conditions that produce happy and resilient people, are much more universal than previously thought.
Research shows that people thrive when they have the presence and balance of three basic and intrinsic human needs. The first of these is the need for close, personal relationships, which produce a sense of authentic belonging. The second is the feeling of being a part of something larger than oneself, a sense of purpose where we feel we are making the world a better place. The third and last is the need for personal growth, which can come from the joy one feels when doing something for the intrinsic sake of doing it, such as artistic expression, or an activity that puts one into a “flow” state which makes us feel like we are challenged to use the fullness of our being.
As it turns out, there is one activity in the human experience that is also universal—shared with us by even our animal relatives—that coincidentally taps into all three of these foundational qualities for happiness, and that is our desire for play.
Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest
The Compassion Games are a game-changing experience designed to ignite, amplify, and catalyze compassionate action in communities around the world. By infusing the power of playfulness and compassion with the fun of friendly competition, the Games offer a unique way to strive together to serve each other, our own well being, and the Earth.
How the Games Work: 11 Days of Global Unity
Starting on September 11, a U.S. National Day of Service, and going to September 21, the International Day of Peace, participating individual players or teams in the Compassion Games perform acts of kindness and compassion in their local communities, tracking the number of volunteers, hours of service, money raised for local causes, and the number of people served through their actions. Compassion Reports are then submitted on the global crowdsourcing Compassion Map, which captures the descriptions, reflections, and metrics above from the acts of compassion committed by players around the world.
Nobody can lose the Compassion Games! The original definition of the word “competition” comes from the Latin “competere,” which means “to strive together.” And striving together is exactly what happens when the aim of the game is to bring more compassion to life for the Earth and all living beings. In this way, the more people that play, the more love wins!
Ways to Play
Anyone can play the Compassion Games at any time of year. Players can either participate as individuals or as a team, made up of any type of group, from a school, business, faith organization, to any type of community.
Ways to play the Compassion Games are only limited by the imagination. Players can perform random acts of kindness (with infinite possibilities), and can also organize service projects. These could range from planning a community garden, caring for a local beach or watershed, to visiting the elderly, reading to a child, and so on.
The Games are designed to not only ignite compassionate action by infusing service with the power of play and friendly competition, but they also aim to highlight the good that is already taking place in the world. The best way to start is by building upon and connecting what is already thriving in your community!
Playing Together Can Change the World
Play may be the single most under utilized human resource in our work to heal the world. Research abounds on the profound benefits of this seemingly trivial human activity which is too often only tolerated in children. Play is an essential human function that inspires us across our lifetimes - to explore new heights of creativity, to joyfully connect with one another, and to rejuvenate our spirits as we do the heavy lifting in the world with a light, playful, and compassionate heart. To better understand and utilize this innate human need is the very reason the Compassion Games were born!
Imagine and Act With Us
Play the games in businesses, schools, prisons and within organizations. Over one million people have been served by more than 56,000 volunteers in 34 countries in the last 3 years. The Compassion Games, however, are just getting started. Will you play with us?
If the Compassion Games are an experience that you are excited to bring to your community or organization, or if you want to partner or collaborate with the Games in any way, contact Jon at Compassion Games. Learn more about the Games by visiting their website.