Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dear Ones in Our Networks,

We are requesting support for a proposal to begin a movement to increase the empathic ability of those who serve in our government. Literally 4 minutes of your time with only 5 steps to bring an idea before the Obama team that could effect the kind of change we are all hoping to see!

President Elect Barack Obama said, "I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again." has created a forum that will submit the top ten voted for proposals to the Obama team for review. Ideas for Change in America is a citizen-driven effort to identify and create momentum around the best ideas for how the Obama
Administration and Congress can turn the broad call for "change" across the country into specific policies.

We have posted a proposal named "Bridging the Empathy Gap - Yes We Can" designed to make empathy central to government functioning, tying it to Obama's repeated highlighting of empathy as a crucially needed quality. The proposal is appended at the end of this message for your review.

To make it to the 2nd round of voting on this site, we probably need to have at least 1200 votes for this idea in the coming week. If you are moved to have NVC brought to the attention of the administration, please take the steps below as soon as possible. Ideas that get a lot of votes quickly are posted as "ideas on the rise" and then have more of a chance of getting more

1. Click on:
(or go to and search for this proposal or for "empathy" if the link doesn't work)

2. Click on Vote! .that will give you a window to create an account tovote.asking for name, email, and a password. (Upper left corner of page)

3. Fill in window to create your account.

4. Return to your email to complete registration by clicking on the
link provided in the email from

5. Click on Vote again and you are complete! The "Vote" button will
have changed from blue to red and the text will say "Voted"." It will only
let you vote once for each item.

Once you have an account you can invite friends and ask them to vote as well. The site provides information on how to do that, or you can forward this.

Our hope/goal/intention is to create an overwhelming response to our proposal so it can get the attention it needs to be brought to fruition.

Thank you for giving your time in this way.

If you have specific ideas you would like to discuss, we have set up a google group that you can
join if you want

In connection for building a world of peace and understanding,

Catherine Cadden, Jori Manske, Kathleen McFerran, Miki Kashtan, Sylvia


Bridging the Empathy Gap - Yes we can!

President-Elect Barack Obama has spoken repeatedly about empathy, which he defines as "the ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes; to see the world through those who are different from us." In his words, "And that strikes me as the most important quality that we need in America right now and around the world right now." Empathy is a value we can cultivate in our
government now.

We propose to create an inter-departmental office of empathy (or a divisionwithin a Department of Peace if one is established) that can support the closing of the empathy deficit by employing strategies such as the following:

1. Implementing specific processes and methods for making empathy central to government operations both within government and in every sector of society to support meaningful use of our resources.

2. Identifying specific offices, agencies, and individuals within government that would benefit from intensive training in empathy skills.

3. Utilizing advanced empathic facilitation as a foundation for decision-making to support efficient and productive processes in all branches of goverment.

4. Assessing the impact of government policies and decisions on the overall purpose of bridging the empathy gap.

5. Creating public forums for dialogue to create empathic connection between people across differences - political, religious, ideological, racial, class, etc. The purpose of such forums would be bridging divides in our nation.

6. Creating and proposing curriculum based on Nonviolent Communication ( to all schools for teaching empathy skills.

7. Creating an Empathy Corps - volunteers trained in empathy skills to go into conflict zones domestically and internationally to support diffusion of conflict through empathic connection.

"Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world."
- President-Elect Barack Obama

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