Fellow of the Month in June: Introducing Roots Of Empathy Founder Mary Gordon

Submitted on Mon, June 10, 2013

We are very proud to announce Mary Gordon as our Fellow of the Month for June. Mary was elected as a Canadian Fellow in 2002, but has since spread her wonderful work across the globe, including the UK. Roots of Empathy helps young school children develop their emotional competence and thereby reduce levels of aggression and bullying. So far she has reached over 500,000 children.

Born in Newfoundland Canada, Mary Gordon is recognized internationally as an award-winning educator, social entrepreneur, and bestselling author who has created programs informed by the power of empathy. In 2002, Mary was named one of the first two Canadian Ashoka Fellows and in 2011 a Globalizer. She is a member of the Global Executive Directors and the Canadian Executive Board of Directors.  

In 1996 Mary outlined the initial curriculum of Roots of Empathy for primary school children and began piloting the program in Toronto, Canada. In 2000 she established the international organization Roots of Empathy, which offers a variety of children’s programs based on empathy. Her programs are in every province of Canada, New Zealand, the USA, the Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, and Germany. She especially makes her programs available to Indigenous Peoples and offers her programs in multiple languages. In 2005, Mary created an early literacy and social and emotional learning program, Seeds of Empathy for three to five year old children in child care. She is a Member of the Order of Canada, the Order of Newfoundland, and an Ashoka Fellow/Globalizer.

Mary is also the founder of Canada's first and largest school-based Parenting and Family Literacy Centres, which she initiated in 1981. This program in addition to Roots of Empathy has become public policy and has been used as a best practice model internationally. Ms Gordon speaks and consults to governments, educational organizations, and public institutions.  Ms Gordon has also presented to the World Health Organization, the Skoll World Forum, and the United Nations, among others.

Mary is the recipient of several prestigious awards recognizing her contribution to innovation in education and international social entrepreneurship, including the Manning Innovation Award, an award for being the top social enterprise in Canada. She is the recipient of the Public Education Advocacy Award from the Canadian Teachers' Federation and was identified as a Future Thinker of the Royal Society for the Arts

Mary has had three dialogues with His Holiness the Dalai Lama: First in 2006 in Canada and then in 2008, in the US and in 2011 in India. The Dalai Lama has expressed that programs like Roots of Empathy will build world peace.

In 2008, Roots of Empathy was one of three winners in an international competition from Changemakers for programs that help youth at risk. Ms Gordon and her programs are featured in many books, documentaries, articles and publications. All of her organizations programs are evidence based and research is a key element. She is the author of several children’s books and  her book, Roots of Empathy: Changing the World Child by Child, is in its fourth printing.



Find out more about Mary's work by following thier news online