Foundations I - Introduction to Compassionate Systems Framework at MIT, Cambridge MA | January 2024
January 16-19, 2024
9:00 am - 3:30 pm (EST)
In-person: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MA USA
Facilitated by Peter Senge & Mette Boell
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, mental health, etc.) . 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 . 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.
The program will be co-facilitated by Dr. Peter Senge and Dr. Mette Boell, both from the MIT Systems Awareness Lab and the Center for Systems Awareness.
Please register by Sunday, January 7.
* As seating for in-person participants is limited, we encourage you to register at your earliest convenience.