Signature Courses

Signature Courses

The Charter signature courses are designed to to explore the complexities of compassion from various perspectives. Compassion is a humongous topic that has been around for thousands of years, dating back to the philosophy of Confucius. Currently the Charter offers four distinct courses on compassion.  The courses are described below.  Each course in the series can be taken independently or as a package. The courses have been designed by Marilyn Turkovich, executive director of the Charter for Compassion and facilitated by Marilyn and Charter Education Institute director, Olivia McIvor.  

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The Essence of Compassion

This course is currently available on-demand. Register anytime.
Cost: $25 for course

The Essence of Compassion is intended to take you on a historical and cultural journey of the development of thinking about and acting on compassion.  In participating in the course you will be simultaneously developing your own definition of compassion by determining what it is and isn’t. You’ll do this by journaling, reading, watching videos, listening to poetry and music and observing art that reflects views of compassion.  Learn more about the course and register here.

George Tooker

Charter for Compassion: Compassion in Action

This course is currently available on demand. Register anytime.
Cost: $10 for course

On February 28, 2008 acclaimed scholar and bestselling author Karen Armstrong received the TED Prize and made a wish—to help create, launch, and propagate a Charter for Compassion. After much work and the contribution of thousands of people the Charter was unveiled to the world on November 12, 2009. This is a course about the Charter that was begun under Armstrong's vision and the work that has evolved throughout the years. More importantly, it is an invitation to those participating in the course to become involved in working towards a more equitable, just and peaceful world.Experience how the Charter works with grass roots organizations around the world in conjunction with thousands of partners. Learn how the Charter has become a network of networks--binding projects and people together to fulfill needs within their communities. Learn more about the course and register here.

000090ca mediumThe Science of Kindness and Compassion

Course begins June 24, 2019
Registration opens June 3, 2019

Cost: $25 for course.

Emma Seppälä, contributor to the Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science, tells us that “the eyes may be the window to the soul, but science is showing the ears may be the route to our hearts.”  This course is built on The Essence but it can be taken independent of the other.  The Science of Kindness and Compassion takes a close look at the motivators of compassion, physiological and psychological effects when it is utilized.  Questions of how emotions, empathy and altruism are related to compassion are explored. Research methodologies and theories are presented in this growing field field of science. Guest speakers will be a part of this course. 

four custom 3ba3107fbce83aed411a8c2606ea96e16fb03bff s900 c85Creating a Compassionate Action Plan

Course begins August 26, 2019
Registration opens August 5, 2019

Cost: $25 for course. 

Compassion for self, others and the earth is a moral imperative.  While there is scientific evidence that compassion is a part of the human condition, there is also knowledge that compassion is a skill that needs to be practiced as frequently as possible. There are also a series of attributes that are closely related to compassion.  For example, altruism, forgiveness and reconciliation, kindness, happiness, resilience, civic responsibility are just a few that are closely aligned with compassion. Creating a Compassion Action Plan will teach skills of compassionate listening, questioning, reflection and action.


The illustrations used to introduce each of the above courses are by the late American artist, George Tooker (1920-2011). His work is most closely associated with social realism and move the viewer from a dream like setting to one that envisions new possibilities.

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About Us

  • charter brand transp blue mediumCharter for Compassion provides an umbrella for people to engage in collaborative partnerships worldwide. Our mission is to bring to life the principles articulated in the Charter for Compassion through concrete, practical action in a myriad of sectors.


  • Charter for Compassion
  • PO Box 10787
  • Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
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