The Role of Empathy in a World of Exponential Change

In a world of rapid change, society is confronted by an increasing number of complex challenges and opportunities. Ensuring solutions will outpace problems requires effective collaboration and the ability to organize into fluid teams-of-teams, where every player must be a contributor and a leader.

Effective collaboration in this environment is only possible with empathy: the ability to understand and respond to the feelings of others. In a changemaker world, empathy is as fundamental as reading, writing and math. This creates a new social imperative to ensure that every child fully develops their own innate capacity for empathy.

One hundred years ago, accelerating change had reached the point that society needed everyone to be literate. Now society needs everyone to be ready to thrive in a world of constant, rapid, exponential change as a skilled changemaker. It needs every young person, parent, and educator to grasp this new paradigm for success in growing up — and in life.

Learning to #LeadYoung

Our understanding of the changemaking power of young people comes directly from our community of 3,500 Ashoka Fellows. 55 percent of our Fellows work directly with young people, and of that group, 53 percent put young people in charge of leading initiatives and projects within their organizations. Further, almost half of our Ashoka Fellows started their first changemaker ventures before the age of 21.

Building a Networked Movement with Key Partners

At Ashoka, we are working every day to build and cultivate a community of change leaders who see that the world now requires everyone to be a changemaker. Together with the Ashoka Young Changemakers and Ashoka Fellows, we collaborate to transform institutions and cultures worldwide so they support changemaking for the good of society. Among our key partners are Changemaker campuses, Changemaker schools and school districts, aligned youth-serving organizations, community leaders, schools of education, teachers’ unions, religious organizations, media partners, publishers, as well as businesses and government leaders.

Ashoka Empathy and Young Changemaking Programs

We invite and encourage you to explore the diverse ways that Ashoka’s programs support changemaking in young people, adults, organizations, and companies. Engage with our dedicated programs today to help advance an “Everyone a Changemaker” world:

Ashoka Changemaker Schools

Ashoka Changemaker Schools enable all students to become changemakers—young people who have the skills and confidence to change the world for the good of all.
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Ashoka LeadYoung

LeadYoung is a storytelling initiative that aims to demonstrate the power of a young person who has identified a problem, formed and led a team, and created a solution. These stories help everyone see the new reality — that everything is changing, and this requires redefining what "growing up" means...
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Ashoka Youth Venture

Ashoka’s Youth Venture® activates youth as changemakers by working with educators, schools, parents, and companies to create an environment where young people can lead and practice the four core ‘changemaker skills’: Empathy, Collaborative Leadership, Fluid Team of Teams Culture, and Changemaking.
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Ashoka U

Ashoka U is working at an institutional level to make a difference in the education of millions of students, building on Ashoka’s vision for a world where Everyone is a Changemaker. We collaborate with colleges and universities to break down barriers to institutional change and foster a campus-wide...
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