Millennials?! Who Needs ‘Em?

Ah….we do. The six millennial Co-Chairs of this year’s Annual Meeting have delivered a strong call to action to participants in Davos. Their stories ask us to consider:

  • refugees
  • climate change
  • sustainable development
  • circular economies
  • reimagining education
  • global food crisis

Mohammed Hassan Mohamud is a Somalian refugee who has spent the last 20 years living as a displaced person in Kenya. His speech (which is appropriate for elementary students) is passionate, quiet, and real. He says to the leaders in Davos:

My story is inspiring, I get that….but what will it inspire you to do?

Mohammed Hassan Mohamud

What will it inspire you to do?

Mohammed’s speech is about 4 minutes long. It is about as long at the “viral” video of a group of catholic school boys and a Native American elder. I would suggest that if you ask in the break room if your colleagues have heard about the “catholic kids” or the “Davos refugee”, one will rise quickly above the other in the “most viewed” list. However, to both videos, I would say, “What will it inspire you to do?”.

For me, the response is: build empathy to inspire action. Empathy on it’s own is not enough. Consider this:

“Empathy is not endorsement. Empathizing with someone you profoundly disagree with does not compromise your own deeply held beliefs and endorse theirs. It just means acknowledging the humanity of someone who was raised to think differently.”

Dylan Marron

Dylan explains this further in his TED talk (below) and was inspired to create a podcast “Conversations With People Who Hate Me” in order to understand those who, well, hate him.

And then, take action. What will that look like? Will start a campaign, change your own behaviors, advocate for others, raise awareness, include challenging scenarios in your teaching to promote those difficult conversations?

Here are some ideas from the TED Ed Blog:

4 Ways to Promote Empathy

How to teach Empathy through STEM

What Does It Mean to Be a Refugee?

Last week I happened to be on Twitter at the right time and saw a tweet about a unit planning game to support the SDG’s. I tried it out and it looks really useful. I can see students being supported to use this to plan inquiries with purpose.

How might we take what we have learned from 8 minutes of video this week and turn it into something for good, something that demonstrates that through empathy we can take action to bring about sustainable change? I plan on asking my kids and look forward to seeing how they might use our units on game design and sustainability to create change.

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