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Spring 2018 | Volume 20 | Number 3
Table of Contents-Spring Issue

Compassion Summit 2018

By Jennifer Suleiman, High School Spanish Language & Culture, American Community School, Amman, Jordan

The second Compassion Summit took place March 22-24 at ACS Amman, Jordan. Planned via a four-way dynamic collaboration among ISG-Saudi Arabia, ACS Amman, ACS Abu Dhabi, and the American School of Bombay, we were thrilled to invite returning students and teachers back to Amman for a second summit. Our list of participating schools grew to 16, with three Jordanian local schools.

This year students selected from 11 different workshops and attended four keynote speeches. The powerful messages embedded in workshops and speeches focused on how to turn compassionate action into leadership. Students were encouraged to explore the many layers of what it means to choose compassion over conflict.

Workshops included “Drama Therapy” with Dr Jason Butler of Lesley University in Boston, “Leading with Story” with Tara Waudby of ISG, and “Examining the Role of Social Media for Compassionate Means” with Anne Russell of ACS Abu Dhabi. All of these sessions were enriching and thought-provoking.

The summit was launched with a riveting presentation by Dr Mads Gilbert, a renowned Norwegian human rights activist and medical doctor who has had extensive experience in conflict zones in the Middle East, principally in Gaza. We were also excited to host a study team from the United Kingdom, led by Helen Woodward of Rebuilding Schools Nepal, and included UK community activists, educators, child welfare advocates, and educational policy makers. Returning keynote and workshop presenters Jordan Hattar and Kathy Kelly continued to inspire us to think, question, and reflect on deep, meaningful levels.

After two days of workshops and compassionate action planning sessions using meticulously crafted Systems Thinking and Design Thinking models, students presented dynamic action plans to their peers. From the “Chemistry of Caring to “Speed Shuffle Sunday, students had a variety of outreach ideas to carry the message of compassion back to their schools.

On the final day, delegates spent several hours with visiting students from NGOs that are part of ACS Amman’s service-learning outreach program. Along with over 70 visiting guests, Compassion Summit delegates rotated through fun-filled activities, from basketball to mural painting to selfie stations. Students shared their name stories in small group sessions, an activity which was both a powerful icebreaker and a way for youth from all walks of life to make real, human connections that transcend ethnic or linguistic boundaries.

The Compassion Summit planning team extends our sincerest appreciation to all of the NESA schools who participated, and to NESA itself for its continued promotion and support of this initiative. With just two years of history behind us, the vision we share is that the Compassion Summit will continue to grow, improve, and will be an experience like no other for students, tackling tough questions about the role of compassion in our lives, and searching for the best way to ensure that love is behind our intentions as educators, learners, and community builders.

ACS Amman will host again next year: March 14-16, 2019. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact

View last year's video