Power of Empathy with Kimberly Jackson Davidson

October 23, 2019

The 2019 Bruce and Lis Welch Community Dialogue featured Kimberly Jackson Davidson, the director of the Yeworkwha Belachew Center for Dialogue (YBCD) and the ombudsperson for Oberlin College. As this year’s honoured guest for the annual Bruce and Lis Welch Community Dialogue, Kimberly explored the power of empathy to bridge difference and how we prepare for difficult conversations.

About 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.


Empathy Café (Interactive Workshop), SFU Burnaby Campus
October 23, 2019

Thirty students, faculty and staff got together on Burnaby mountain to learn about Empathy Café. Empathy Cafe provides a way to build compassionate listening and conversational habits while gaining experiential understanding of non-violent communication.

Public Dialogue and Reception: Power of Empathy, SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue 
October 23, 2019

Facilitator: Elodie Jacquet & Robert Daum

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. Through dialogue, we explored with Kimberly 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.

Western Ombudspersons Dialogue, SFU Burnaby Campus
October 24, 2019

Facilitator: Elodie Jacquet

Ten Ombudspersons from Western Canada gathered to discuss the role of dialogue in addressing the challenges of promoting EDI and building a culture of empathy on campus.

  • October 24, 2019

    October 24, 2019

    SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and the Office of Vice-President Research co-hosted a dialogue with senior administrators, deans and faculty to dialogue on the current state of EDI at SFU. This created a space to explore SFU’s EDI initiatives and discuss tangible ways to make the SFU community a safer and more inclusive space in which everyone feels supported to thrive.


Exploring critical community issues through dialogue, this annual programming engages the community at large with the academic community to explore innovative approaches to local issues through cross-sectoral dialogue.