Making a Difference: Zoe Weil in the World
Please share what you do: I teach and write about how we can create a just, healthy, and humane world for people, animals, and the environment.
Why do you do what you do? A better world is possible, and each of us has a role to play. I do what I do because I believe it matters that I (and all people) use my talents and skills in service of a world in which all can thrive.
What are you currently fascinated by in your work? I’m fascinated (and inspired!) by the power of young people — when provided with the tools and motivation — to collaboratively solve the world’s challenges. That’s why our organization, the Institute for Humane Education, has launched the Solutionary Congress Program, to enable youth make a difference.
How did you come to your path? Any aha moments or key teachers? In 1987, I taught a week-long humane education summer course at the University of Pennsylvania to middle-school students. I watched in amazement as my students became change agents in five days. In one case, a boy became an activist overnight, making hand-written leaflets about what he’d learned to pass out on a street corner the next day during lunch. Another guy in that class told me decades later that the course changed his life. It also changed mine, as I discovered my life’s work as a humane educator, teaching about the interconnected issues of human rights, animal protection, and environmental preservation.
What book(s) are you currently reading? Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am and Lisa Kemmerer’s Eating Earth.
What do you enjoy about teaching at the ashram? When I come to the ashram to teach, I become a more relaxed, devotional person. I slow down and feel deeply connected to everyone and everything.
Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE), which offers online graduate degrees in comprehensive Humane Education linking human rights, environmental preservation and animal protection. IHE also offers solutionary-focused programs and workshops for teachers, students, parents, and change agents, as well as an award-winning free resource center. Zoe has given six TEDx talks including her acclaimed TEDx, “The World Becomes What You Teach.” She is the author of seven books including The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries (2016); Nautilus silver medal winner Most Good, Least Harm (2009), Moonbeam gold medal winner Claude and Medea (2007), and Above All, Be Kind (2003). Zoe is the recipient of the Unity College Women in Environmental Leadership award and was a subject of the Americans Who Tell the Truth portrait series. She holds master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Valparaiso University. Find her and IHE on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at ZoeWeil and HumaneEducation.