text_(1).pngEveryone can play a role in building a more compassionate, more just and fairer society. That's why we're launching Conversations for Compassion, a program to help empower people with the skills, tools and understanding to speak up for social justice, human rights and eco-justice.

You can sign up here to receive updates about upcoming Conversations for Compassion events.

The program includes:

  • Interactive workshops and seminars with speakers from a diverse range of personal and professional backgrounds;
  • Online presentations, including webinars; and
  • Advocacy training in areas such as social media, effective political lobbying, justice in education and partnership building.

Our speakers include people who have lived experience as refugees, Pacific Island climate advocates, Indigenous rights advocates, experienced human rights defenders, educators and public communications and campaigns specialists. 

If you are a teacher, a member of a group or simply an individual who wants to bring your network together, we can work with you to tailor a program that suits your needs. 

You can sign up here to receive updates about upcoming Conversations for Compassion events.

If you would like to get in touch about organising a specific program for your group, organisation or network, please get in touch with us here. 


Background

We live in challenging times - Trump is President of the US, Britain voted for Brexit and Hanson is forcing the once-moderate Turnbull further and further to the extreme right. 

The Edmund Rice Centre has always believed in the power of community education. We have a firm faith that the Australian people - once all the truths are clearly on the table - will extend their empathy and compassion to the most vulnerable. 

However, in a "post-truth" world of "alternative facts", this task is becoming increasingly difficult. According to the 2017 Trust Baromoter by PR firm Edelman, there has been an "implosion of trust" towards institutions, such as government, media, NGOs and business. For instance, only 37 per cent of Australians surveyed had trust in government (down from 45 per cent in 2016), only 32 per cent trusted the media (compared with 42 per cent in 2016), 48 per cent trusted business (compared with 52 per cent in 2016) and 52 per cent trusted NGOs (compared with 57 per cent in 2016). 

A lack of trust in institutions and "the system" can often make people more vulnerable to fear (such as the fear campaigns run by Donald Trump and the Brexit campaign). This fear further undermines trust and confidence and a vicious cycle is created. 

in this climate, facts matter less and bias is a filter because 53 per cent of people surveyed do not listen to people or organisations with whom they often disagree. People have less trust in technical experts (down from 67 to 60 per cent between 2016-2017), academic experts (down 65 to 60 per cent between 2016-2017) and NGO representatives (down from 48 to 43 per cent between 2016-2017). 

So who do people trust? According to the Edelman survey, "a person like yourself [is] now tied for most credible spokesperson." 

And that's where you come in. 

We believe that the most effective way to shift public opinion on human rights and social and environmental justice is through personal storytelling and conversations at a personal level. We are all members of networks - both formal and informal - in which we have the capacity to influence opinion and thought.   

That's why we are launching Conversations for Compassion, a series of programs to empower people with the skills, tools and understanding to speak up for social justice, human rights and eco-justice in their everyday lives. 


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