As we say goodbye to 2017, Empathy for Peace's first full year of operating as a not-for-profit organization is coming to a close. We are so grateful for the opportunities we had this past year to support the spread of empathy and peace around the word.
In 2017 we started out by inviting Dr. James Leckman, a renowned child psychiatrist from Yale University, to speak to our community in Toronto about the importance of empathy in early childhood development for the building of peaceful communities. Dr. Leckman shared insights from several research projects and consortia showing the critical role of empathic parents, family and educators, in preventing and reducing violence in communities around the world. The message was loud and clear, raising children with empathy and kindness builds compassionate adults and creates peaceful families, schools and neighborhoods.
Later in the year, we were fortunate to participate in two international meetings to discuss the role of empathy in peace-building and conflict transformation. We first joined politicians, academics and media professionals at the UN International Media Seminar in Vienna to discuss the conflict in the Middle East. Three of our board members participated on a panel that focused on the role on empathy in peace-building in the Middle East. The panelists discussed empathy in the specific context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the potential for empathy-based peace-building approach to the conflict.
We then joined empathy researchers and peace builders from around the world at the Empathy Neuroscience Conference in Rome. The conference focused on exploring the latest in empathy neuroscience research and its application to real life conflict transformation. We were inspired by the innovative research being carried out in this area and humbled by the work of peace-building organizations who are working tirelessly to bring peace to the region.
In November we launched our Blog Empathy Matters! to be a space where empathy researchers and peace-building experts can share their knowledge and expertise. We have published two articles since then sharing insights from the UN Seminar and Empathy Conference, by Dr. Ahmad Abu-Akel and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen respectively.
On an operational level, we were excited to submit an application to Canada Revenue Agency to be registered as a charity. We are looking forward to receiving our registration in early 2018 which will allow us to issue tax deduction receipts for donations. We have also continued to build our website and engage our community of supporters online and through social media.
As the year now comes to a close, we want to take a moment to thank you all for all your support of our work, and commitment to empathy and to peace. We are excited to continue the work we started in 2017 and build on it to create more meaningful programs and initiatives that connect empathy research to peace-building practice for a more empathic and peaceful world. We look forward to sharing the journey in 2018 with you!
Wishing you a peaceful new year!
The Empathy for Peace Team