The Empathy Center Hosts Its First Virtual Empathy Summit Jul 1 2023. Share In This Experience For One Hour or All Four Hours

"The Empathy Listening Circles Summit was a fantastic experience and the turnout was over and above all expectations.  Thanks Edwin for your vision, and outstanding job Kathy. Zak, Linda, Wendy and all cohort from around the world you are appreciated."  BJ Guiden

 July's Summit Features Topics Exploring How Mutual Empathy, Listening and Dialogue Can Decrease Polarization, Improve Relationships, Constructively Approach Conflict and Build Stronger Communities


Linda Bass

Empathy Circle Facilitator Arbitrator and Credentialed Mediator

Courtney Breese 

Speaker National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation


Niv Agam 


Clinical Psychologist and Social Activist

Brenda B. J. Guiden


Credentialed Distinguished Mediator

Mabel Odessey 


16  Guidelines for Life Teacher

Lou Zweier 


Managing Partner Authentic Leadership Center 

Liz Gannon Graydon Speaker and Peace Alliance Board Chair/Co-Founder and President What BETTER Looks like

Merveille Gakuba is a Mental Health Counseling Student & Survivor of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide Against the Tutsis 

Merveille will be interviewed by Jeremy Solomons, UK/US Leadership Consultant and Peace Activist

Kathy Kidd LCSW 

Co-Host and Facilitator 

Empathy Center

Peace Alliance


Merveille Gakuba and Jeremy Solomons will co-lead a session on: Empathy in the Peace and Reconciliation Process from a Rwandan Perspective. Merveille is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsis and a mental health counseling student. She will be interviewed by Jeremy who is a UK/US leadership consultant and peace activist. Merveille and Jeremy are married and raising a baby peacemaker, Max, in Kigali. 

B.J. Guiden Credentialed Distinguished Mediator has twenty years of experience as an innovative, transformative mediator. She is a Certified Legal Assistant and is certified with the U.S. Post Office as a Senior Federal Mediator. B.J. is certified in Human Resource Management and Training and Development. She has hosted a radio show called Ask the Mediator. (A.T.M.) B.J. is also an Empathy Circle Facilitator. B.J. will share her view on The Role of Empathy in Equity.

Courtney Breese NCDD Executive Director: The value of dialogue in our lives. Courtney Breese of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) will share what dialogue really is, and how practicing dialogue in our lives can benefit us and our world. She will share the resources of NCDD and ways to get started in this practice.  

Liz Gannon Graydon Peace Alliance Board Chair and Co-Founder and President of What BETTER Looks Like, a nonprofit organization that taps into the creative potential of people to help solve problems in their local communities. Liz taught middle school Social Studies and English for 16 years. It was during her years as a teacher that she gained the inspiration and the tools for the work of What BETTER Looks Like, the core work of which is to foster the development of Beloved Community. Liz will speak to The Roles of Listening, Empathy and Dialogue in Fostering the Beloved Community.

Lou Zweier Managing Partner and Coach at Authentic Leadership Center, Co-Creator of the Empathy Circle Facilitation Training, and Co-Chair of the Sonoma County Braver Angels Alliance, will present on the role of “connection before education” in depolarizing dialogue, and the relational dynamics and skills that contribute to or block connection.


Victoria Coleman: FDCW Executive Director LinkedIn  

Niv Agam: Clinical Psychologist and Social Activist, Niv shares his experience founding Dreamers Home, a non-profit in Israel, dedicated to sharing the 16 Guidelines and other programs to promote peace and to promote social harmony based on universal values. He shares what he has learned on this journey about respect, patience and perseverance in sharing tools for peace in areas of conflict and suspicion. He proposes that empathy, when applied wisely, can become the glue for a cohesive self, a cohesive community, a harmonious society and a peaceful world.

Mabel Odessey: 16 Guidelines for Life Teacher Mabel Odessey will share how the power of the 16 Guidelines and mindfulness training has improved her listening skills, mutual understanding and perspective taking. She explores the value of empathy in guiding our behaviour for a happier, more fulfilling life. Mabel will share a short reflective practice on mindfulness and empathy. LinkedIn


The final 90 minutes of the Empathy Summit will offer an opportunity to participate in an empathy circle. No experience needed. Please Note: Some sessions could run longer. 

We have factored that in to allow for ending on time at 

12:00 PM PT/ 3 PM ET/8 PM BST/9 PM CET. 


Edwin Rutsch: Founded the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy to promote and foster the value and experience of empathy. Edwin states, “I'm working to build a movement to support building a global culture of empathy. I'm looking at nurturing societal transformation, where empathy becomes the primary social and cultural value in world culture.” Edwin and his brother Charles Rutsch are establishing an Empathy Based Educational Retreat Center in Santa Barbara CA. A major aspect of the retreat center will be working to bridge personal, social and political divides with mutual listening, empathy, constructive dialogue and education. Edwin was also a candidate in the Democratic primary for California’s 8th congressional district in 2022. Find Edwin on LinkedIn or email at

Linda Bass is an Empathy Circle Facilitator Trainer. She has an MA in Psychology and has over thirty (30) years professional experience property and casualty insurance, and litigation management. Her passion is alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Ms. Bass currently contracts with the TX Dept of Insurance Surprise Billing Department and Texas Better Business Bureau as a mediator and as an arbitrator. She has supported mediators through the development and training of quality mediation and conflict resolution techniques. She continues to actively support ADR initiatives as a Credential Mediator, a member of the Texas Association of Mediator (TAM) and as past VP of Tarrant County Association of Mediators (TCAM). 

Kathy Kidd: Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Peace Alliance National Program Coordinator, Empathy Circle Facilitation Trainer and part of the Empathy Center Volunteer Team. LinkedIn


Empathy Center Building the movement for a more empathic culture. 

Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom   FDCW supports people in developing a warm  heart and a wise mind.  

Peace Alliance   Educate, advocate, and mobilize people into action to transform systems and public policy toward a culture of peace.  

Listen First Project  A network of 500+ bridging organizations, leads the collaborative movement to heal America by bridging divides. 

Conflict Transformation, Peacebuilding and Security (CoPeSe) A leading network on peacebuilding and conflict transformation, counting more than 60k members. Shares and retrieves the newest information on peacebuilding and conflict transformation. 

National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation  NCDD is a network of innovators who bring people together across divides to discuss, decide, and take action together, on today’s toughest issues.  

International Listening Association  ILA is a global family with a common bond – advancing listening practice, teaching, and research worldwide.

MEET OUR SPONSOR: Potluck Action Created the Empathy Circle App making it easier to host online Empathy Circles. Potluck Action is offering a 14-day free trial.

Become a Summit Partner or Sponsor Email



ZOOM LINK: July 1 Empathy Summit Zoom Link  


Share any feedback about your experience in todays Summit? 

Do You Have Any Comments or Questions? 

What topics would you suggest for future Summits? 

(A1) If Yes, what is the reason you will attend again? 

Why are you interested in taking part in this Empathy Summit? 

How Might Empathy Improve Your Life? 

Empathy can have a significant positive impact on your life in a variety of ways:

Better relationships: Empathy enables you to understand and connect with others at a deeper level. By being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes, you can appreciate their perspective, feelings, and experiences. This, in turn, can foster more meaningful and fulfilling relationships.

Improved communication: Empathy can also help you communicate more effectively. When you understand the other person's emotions and feelings, you can respond appropriately, and in a way that resonates with them. This can help avoid misunderstandings, conflicts, and improve overall communication.

Reduced stress: Empathy can also help reduce stress and increase your emotional resilience. By being able to recognize and validate your own feelings, you can also better manage your emotions and cope with difficult situations.

Personal growth: Empathy can help you become more open-minded and accepting of different perspectives. This can help you develop a more nuanced understanding of the world around you, expand your horizons, and become more compassionate and understanding towards others.

Empathy can enrich your life by boosting your communication skills, by improving your relationships, by strengthening emotional resilience, and by enhancing personal growth. 

Listening is the First Step to Empathy

Listening can have a significant positive impact on your life in variety of ways:

Better relationships: Listening is essential to building strong and meaningful relationships. When you truly listen to someone, you demonstrate that you value and respect their perspective. This can foster trust, empathy, and intimacy, which are critical to developing healthy relationships.

Improved communication: Listening is a crucial aspect of effective communication. By listening carefully to others, you can better understand their needs, desires, and concerns. This, in turn, can help you respond more appropriately, clarify misunderstandings, and avoid conflicts.

Learning and growth: Listening can also help you learn and grow. When you listen to others, you expose yourself to new ideas, perspectives, and experiences. This can broaden your horizons, challenge your assumptions, and help you develop a more nuanced understanding of the world around you.

Reduced stress: Listening can also help reduce stress and anxiety. When you listen to others, you show that you care, which can help alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness. Additionally, active listening can help you better manage your own emotions and respond more effectively to challenging situations.

Listening can improve your life by enhancing your relationships and your communication skills. You are more open to learning when you are open to listening and this leads to emotional well-being.

How Might Engaging in Open Dialogue Improve Your Life?

 Dialogue is the exchange of ideas and perspectives between individuals or groups.  Open dialogue can have several positive impacts on your life, including:

Improved understanding: Dialogue can help increase your understanding of different perspectives, cultures, and ideas. It can provide an opportunity to learn from others and broaden your perspective.

Better relationships: Dialogue can also help improve relationships by fostering mutual respect, empathy, and understanding. Through open and honest communication, individuals can build stronger connections and more meaningful relationships.

Conflict resolution: Dialogue can be a powerful tool for resolving conflicts. When individuals engage in constructive dialogue, they can identify areas of agreement and work together to find solutions to disagreements.

Personal growth: Dialogue can also help facilitate personal growth by challenging your beliefs and assumptions, encouraging self-reflection, and providing new insights and perspectives.

Community building: Dialogue can help build a sense of community and promote social cohesion. Through dialogue, individuals can come together to identify shared values and goals, and work towards a common purpose.

Open dialogue can improve your life by promoting understanding thereby improving relationships. Open dialogue is helpful in resolving conflicts, building community and enhancing personal growth.