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Spotlight on Jamil Zaki & Empathy, Futures, and The War for Kindness

Updated: Aug 19, 2019

Spotlight on Stanford Empathy Lab Director Jamil Zaki, author of The War for Kindness. Jamil is currently teaching a course on becoming kinder. Read more for info on this innovative classroom approach.


Longpath: What are some lessons, ideas, beliefs, or stories your parents shared with you, or showed you through their life experiences, that have shaped who you are today?


Jamil: My father was born and raised in Pakistan; my mother in Peru. Growing up with them and their communities, I couldn't help but understand that my American experience was only one among many. It's easy for people--and especially kids--to stop noticing the wonderful and weird aspects of their culture, the same way we stop noticing the clothes we wear. I never had that option, and am grateful for that.


Longpath: What is most important for you to pass on to your children?


Jamil: That their quirks make them who they are, that the world is bigger than any one of us, and that it's fun and meaningful to find ways to express ourselves while also helping others.


Longpath: What are your hopes for future generations?


Jamil: That they survive the next century. And that they be more decent to each other than we are today.


Longpath: How will your family members remember who you were, 100 years from now?


Jamil: I don't know! But I hope as someone who was there for them, and left some messages behind that they find helpful and comforting, and as someone who was absolutely crazy about the human race.

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