Foundations I - Introduction to Compassionate Systems Framework in Ventura, California | October 2024

October 1-4, 2024
9:00 am - 3:30 pm (Pacific Time)
In-person: Oxnard Performing Arts Center, 800 Hobson Way Oxnard, CA 93030
Virtual: Zoom
Facilitated by Peter Senge & Mette Boell

This workshop is being conducted in collaboration between the Center for Systems Awareness and the Ventura County Office of Education.


Young people throughout different cultures and circumstances are confronted with the complex contradictions of the interconnected, interdependent systems in our world (e.g. climate change, human migration, terrorism, substance use, Covid-19, etc.) [1]. A 2023 CDC report in the U.S. reported historically high rates of depression, anxiety and mental distress among teenagers with a call to action to invest in schools and communities to support wellbeing among youth [2]. An essential question for the future of education is how do we help students to reflect on, deeply understand and respond mindfully and compassionately rather than just feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of these systems. With the growing interest in education in social and emotional learning (SEL) and mindfulness today, we feel it is especially timely to show how these can combine with skills in understanding systems and complexity to establish a cognitive and affective foundation for global citizenship.

This hands-on workshop offers a practice-based introduction to the tools and approaches that have been developed for implementing what we call a “Compassionate Systems Framework.” This framework incorporates learning tools in development for several decades from the fields of living systems dynamics, organizational learning, contemplative traditions, and social and emotional learning, and is now being used at both the level of classroom innovations and collective leadership in shaping a more generative school culture. We conceptualize compassion as an essentially systemic property of mind: to cultivate compassion is to be able to appreciate the systemic forces that influence people’s actions. It is the capacity to hold paradoxes – to see and sense the larger system with all its interdependence and interconnectedness and all the unintended consequences of human behavior – without judgment, but with real care for the system and everyone involved in it.

The overall aim of Foundations I - Introduction to Compassionate Systems Framework is to advance leaders who foster collaboration for compassionate systemic change across organizational and hierarchical structures. Such leadership is a key dimension to support the profound changes needed for schools and education systems to become truly relevant for today’s students and for society at large. Transforming systems is, ultimately, about transforming relationships among the people and institutions that shape how those systems function.

Registration deadline: Monday, September 9, 2024
* As seating is limited, we encourage you to register at your earliest convenience.
Questions: Please contact Miho at for any questions.


Author, Senior Lecturer at MIT, Center for Systems Awareness Co-founder
Visiting Research Scientist at MIT, Center for Systems Awareness Co-founder