Creating space for transformative conversations

Bruce & Lis Welch Community Dialogue: Power of Empathy

October 23, 2019

About the event:

Have you ever said something that was completely insensitive to someone else without realizing it? Have you stood by while someone else was being verbally attacked because you didn’t know what to do or you were too shocked to act?

Whether it be on social media, in the news, or in the line at the grocery store we’ve all experienced the discomfort that can come from hearing views that are dramatically different from our own particularly when they come laced with prejudice. Whether it be overt or thinly veiled most of us have experienced hate, discrimination and racism.

But what do we do in such situations? How can we ensure we aren’t causing harm by our own words or actions and how can we protect ourselves and the people we love, from being hurt by others?

Kimberly Jackson Davidson is no stranger to discussions of race, discrimination and difference. As the Ombudsperson and Executive Director of the Centre for Dialogue at Oberlin College, one of the oldest liberal arts colleges in the US and the first American college to accept black students and women, Kimberly has lived and worked for years in mediating conflicts and addressing racism and discrimination. As this year’s honoured guest for the annual Bruce and Lis Welch Community Dialogue, Kimberly will explore the power of empathy to bridge difference and how we prepare for difficult conversations. Please join us as we explore, through dialogue, one of the most profoundly important and difficult conversations of our time – how to live and thrive together with difference in an increasingly polarized world.

About the Speaker, Kimberly Jackson Davidson:

Kimberly Jackson Davidson is the director of the Yeworkwha Belachew Center for Dialogue (YBCD) and the ombudsperson for Oberlin College. Davidson served as a volunteer mediator and facilitator with the YBCD from the fall of 2001 until she accepted her current position as the director of the Center in the fall of 2016. During her tenure at Oberlin, Davidson has served in many capacities prior to her current role: Visiting lecturer, class dean/assistant dean of students, associate dean of students.

Davidson earned a B.A. in English Literature from Spelman College in 1986 and a M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in African Literature in 1991. In addition to Social Justice Mediation and Facilitation training (2001 and 2005) and experience, Davidson is a trained as a conflict coach and uses the CINERGY Conflict Management model. Davidson is certified to administer and interpret the CDP360; and to facilitate communities in dialogue about divisive topics using the Essential Partners’ Reflective Structured Dialogue model. Davidson seeks to enhance alternative dispute resolution skills regularly to build capacity in her role as director of YBCD.

About the Bruce & Lis Welch Community Dialogue

The Bruce & Lis Welch Community Dialogue engages the community at large to explore innovative approaches to local issues through cross-sectoral dialogue.


The SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue is located at 580 W. Hastings St (enter via Seymour Street courtyard entrance), and is a brief walk from Waterfront station and numerous bus stops. Bike racks are available outside the Hastings entrance of SFU Harbour Centre (located across the street). Nearby parking is available at 500 & 400 W. Cordova St.


Washrooms are located on the lower level, second, third, and fourth floors. The venue has a gender-neutral washroom, available on the second floor in the east hallway. All floors within the building, including the venue and washrooms, are wheelchair accessible and serviced by elevators. How can we make this event accessible for you? If you have any questions, concerns, or comments regarding this event’s accessibility, feel free to connect with us at

Land Acknowledgement

We respectfully acknowledge that this event takes place on the Unceded, Traditional, Ancestral Territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm First Nations.