Zoe  Weil

Zoe Weil

Zoe Weil is the president of the Institute for Humane Education

Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education (IHE), where she created the first graduate programs in comprehensive Humane Education linking human rights, environmental preservation and animal protection, offered online through an affiliation with Antioch University. IHE also offers a free Solutionary Guidebook, Solutionary Workshops, and an award-winning resource center through its Center for Solutionary Change to help educators and changemakers bring solutionary practices to students and communities so that together we can effectively solve local and global challenges. Zoe is a frequent keynote speaker at education and other conferences and 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; Nautilus silver medal winner Most Good, Least Harm, Moonbeam gold medal winner Claude and Medea, and Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times. Zoe was named one of Maine Magazine’s 50 independent leaders transforming their communities and the state, and is the recipient of the Unity College Women in Environmental Leadership award. She was also a subject of the Americans Who Tell the Truth portrait series and received the Distinguished Alumnae Achievement Award from the Nightingale-Bamford School. She holds master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Valparaiso University.

Why do you want to be a part of the HundrED Community?

HundrED is such an innovative hub for educators and changemakers, and I'm excited to be part of, share with, and learn from this outstanding community.

How can education support students to flourish?

In order to flourish, young people must have the skills and dispositions to be solutionaries for a peaceful, just, and humane future for all life. Without these skills and dispositions, they will be unprepared to address potentially catastrophic global problems. With them, however, they will be able not only to thrive themselves, but also to create systems in which all life may thrive. To be solutionaries, they must be taught how to be critical, systems, strategic, and creative thinkers. They must be exposed in age-appropriate ways to local and global challenges and given the opportunity to solve these challenges. They must learn to collaborate, to understand the needs of all stakeholders, and to devise solutions that do the most good and least harm to people, animals, and the environment. If we can give youth this through their educations, they will flourish and so will their communities and world.

What role does innovation play in education change?

We cannot solve the crises we face without innovation. The systems that combine to create local and global problems are complex, and learning how to understand and address these systems requires new ways of teaching and learning. Innovations that better prepare youth for their futures are essential for them to thrive.

Three HundrED innovations you love. (and Why?)

ENO Planting Tree (Environment Online), because this is a solution that students can do at all age levels while getting outside, connecting with other students around the globe, learning about nature, and making a difference.

Amazing People Schools, because inspiring students through stories and fostering integrity and other virtues is essential for developing character and values for life.

Reap Benefit, because youth are learning how to create change and doing so.

Three innovations you would love for HundrED to know about. (and Why?)

1. San Mateo County, CA is bringing a solutionary approach to the 23 school districts and 113,000 students they serve by making solutionary thinking and action the philosophy and framework of curriculum design, professional development, and their summer institutes through their SMELC program. They have prepared more than 100 teachers to design and deliver Solutionary Units to their students with many more to follow. On March 15, 2020 they are piloting the first Solutionary Expo to highlight and feature students' solutions to local and global problems.

2. Teachers in and around Denver, CO, are bringing solutionary learning and action into middle and high schools, with plans in the works to research and study the impacts. (More to come soon!)

3. The Better Their World Student Project Database, curated by Marc Prensky http://btwdatabase.org/ is creating a platform to showcase students real-world achievements.