Booking Mary Gordon

If you would like to book Mary Gordon, Founder and President of Roots of Empathy for a virtual presentation now, or an in-person presentation at a later date, contact: Ivonne Guerra, President’s Office, iguerra@rootsofempathy.org. 

You can follow Mary on Twitter @MaryGordonROE and on LinkedIn. And Roots of Empathy on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn – @RootsofEmpathy

Mary Gordon speaks on topics such as: empathy, innovation, education, civil society, leadership, social entrepreneurship, pluralism and parenting.

June 20-23, 2022

Collision Tech Conference

The panel will focus on a full range of topics around education – from childhood to adulthood, and the role of technology.

PANELISTS:

Mary Gordon Founder/President Roots of Empathy

Martin Basiri Co-Founder & CEO ApplyBoard

Zayn Patel, a student with The Knowledge Society who is developing a program to improve English literacy amongst children in Nigeria

May 6, 2022 

Department of National Defence / Government of Canada Workforce Well Being

In recognizing Mental Health Week in the Department, a variety of speaking engagements, events and activities will be accessible to the whole National Defence Team. This year’s Mental Health Week theme is “This Is Empathy”. As such, they have invited Mary Gordon to speak on empathy. Mary’s presentation #GetReal about Empathy will explore the ways our program impacts mental health.

Mary Gordon will be speaking about empathy in relation to:

  • healthy work place relationships
  • how to enhance our empathy
  • empathic listening
  • “not just staff, leaders, need empathy”
  • mental health stigma – people are always looking for new ways to learn

Attendees will consist of:

  • National of defence wide invitation, deputy minister initiative, monthly webinars from 600-1300 attendees (military & civilian)
  • will open invitation to family members of military
  • Defense Advisory Group – lgbtq2+, POC, disabilities

This will be a 1.5-hour webinar with live audio translation to French

May, 2022

Government of Canada’s (Policy Horizons Canada) is currently undertaking a project on the future of the life course in Canada.

A series of virtual workshops will take place during the first three weeks of May that will bring together representatives of community organizations, academia, government, and the private sector. Participants will collectively explore the possible implications of future changes in six key areas of the life course: care, reproduction, education, living arrangements, labour, and older adulthood. Mary Gordon was invited to share her expertise.

May 4, 2022

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Washington DC

Join Mary Gordon at the Forum for Children’s Well-Being with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. Preventing the Next Mental Health Crisis through Partnerships with Families and Communities

The panel:

• Ready Ready Guilford – Christina Dobson (Director of Navigation Services)

• Maine Resilience Building Network – Kini-Ana Tinkham (Executive Director)

• Pierce County WA Collaborative Care Model – Mary Ann Woodruff, MD, FAAP (General Pediatrics)

• Roots of Empathy – Mary Gordon (Founder/President)

David W. Willis, MD, FAAP (Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Social Policy) will be moderating the panel.

To register click here

APRIL 14, 2022

Natural Awakenings produces 50 publications connecting readers to a wealth of national and local resources mapping out alternate routes to a healthier, happier, longer life. Each magazine takes a practical look at the latest natural approaches to healing, nutrition, fitness, creative expression, personal growth and sustainable living. Carrie Jackson (Marketing & Communications Specialist) interviews Mary Gordon for an article about teaching kids about empathy.

April 14, 2022

People Fixing The World

BBC World Service

Radio/podcast program called People Fixing The World (formerly BBC World Hacks) followed up on Roots of Empathy and the story “Bully-busting babies” that they did on ROE in 2018. People Fixing The World is now producing an episode looking at innovative approaches to reduce violence in schools, and would like to include a “Where are they now” segment about Roots of Empathy. François Wibaux (Journalist, People Fixing The World) from BBC World Service discusses with Mary Gordon how the program has evolved and grown since they last saw it. Broadcast date to be announced.

MARCH 28, 2022

“The Perspective” TV Program with Mike Sherbino

Hear Mary Gordon speak on “The Perspective” TV Program with Mike Sherbino. Mary delves into the work Roots of Empathy does and discusses empathy on a global scale and its applicability at this point in time. To watch, CLICK HERE.

February 18, 2022

Keynote Speaker: Mary Gordon

A Conversation on the Power of Relationships in Building Empathy and Resilience

Mary Gordon was invited to do a repeat of her October 2021 keynote presentation, as COTA had a much higher number of registrants than they could support in October and did not want their employees to miss out on the opportunity to hear Mary speak. This presentation celebrates the power of relationships in building empathy and resilience.

january 20th, 2022

Hear social entrepreneur Mary Gordon, Founder/President of Roots of Empathy and neuroscientists Dr. Sara Konrath, on CBC’s Maritime Connection at 4 – 5pm AT with guest host Krissy Holmes. Listeners will learn about empathy and compassion in Canada. This broadcast asks the questions, two years into the pandemic, how are we doing? What can we do to build empathy? CLICK HERE to listen to this broadcast.

january 20th, 2022

Mary Gordon was interviewed by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel journalist Mark Johnson.

Titled “Failure to understand and share feelings with each other runs counter to our nature. So why are we in a severe empathy crisis?”, the article explores how empathy is not taught, but caught. Read more about Roots of Empathy’s core values in this insightful article. Only available through a subscription to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

November 29, 2021

The District School Board of Niagara, Niagara Catholic District School Board and the Early Childhood Community Development Centre in Niagara presented this special webinar: A Conversation on the Power of Relationships in Building Empathy and Resilience, with Internationally Acclaimed Mary Gordon.
This presentation will celebrate the power of relationships in building empathy and resilience. Video, story and children’s art will shine a light on children’s vulnerabilities and possibilities, identifying the roles of those adults who are the wind beneath their wings. A practical and joyful thread of hope will run throughout the session.
Target Audience: Child and Youth Workers, Youth Counsellors, Kindergarten Teams, Early Childhood Educators, Special Support Agency Staff, Ontario Early Years Staff, Students, Public Health Administrators for Healthy Babies/Healthy Children, FACS etc.

November 12, 2021

The Human Climate: Conversations with Carol (Podcast) – We are experiencing a different kind of health crisis, where emotions drive our actions or inaction, our detachment or stubbornness, our hatred or fear or despair. And where our emotions drive us, especially when we haven’t learned to recognize, accept and integrate them. Carol explores with Mary Gordon, Mary’s input of above in a way that can open the pores of our curiosity, perhaps even of our hope, so that they might become a small part of getting to a tomorrow in ways not destined to be filled with destruction and denial. Podcast to be aired in the new year.

Watch the full interview here.

October 22, 2021

Central Okanagan Teachers Association, Professional Development Day Keynote presentation – Mary Gordon spoke on empathy and its role in recovering from the pandemic. The one-hour session includes a live Q&A. The theme of the event will be Balance: Personal and Professional Equilibrium. The audience consisted of 300 attendees and all school employees (Teachers, Admin, Education Assistants, Guidance counsellors etc.).

September 3, 2021

Conversation with Pluralism Thought Leaders – Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) consultants reached out to international thought leaders, like Mary Gordon, in the broad areas of pluralism, empathy, equity, diversity and inclusion, with the desire to discuss best practices and learnings on these important topics, so they can help the AFA’s Pluralism Policy implementation. These conversations will help AFA put their best foot forward to open more doors for all Alberta artists.

June 2021

Human Touch Talks – Watch Roots of Empathy’s Founder/President Mary Gordon speak about the importance of human touch and the roles human touch can play in our lives with Ralph Zimmerer, Vice President Global NIVEA Brand Identity & Capability. How are you staying in touch?! CLICK to view Mary’s interview.

June 9, 2021

For more than 25 years, Ashoka Fellow and Roots of Empathy Founder & President, Mary Gordon has been helping us see the power of empathy as a foundational skill for all children, and by extension all adults. On June 9th, at 1pm EDT, Ashoka Welcome Change (Ashoka News Hour) speaks with Mary about empathy in the pandemic, what we’re learning from and with children in this moment. To watch the full interview CLICK HERE and to see the highlights of the interview CLICK HERE.

May 11, 2021

On May 12th, Mary Gordon appeared on the CBC radio program Here & Now, hosted by Gill Deacon. Mary’s storytelling captured the hearts and minds of the listeners. In terms of promoting our brand and increasing recognition of our organization, the interview was invaluable, providing millions of CBC listeners across Canada and beyond with relevant and interesting information about our organization. Listen Here

 

May 3-9, 2021

THE MINDFUL PLAY SUMMIT is a conference for parents and educators who want to help children develop emotional resilience. Over 25 top experts, including Mary Gordon on May 6th will share their stories, struggles, and breakthroughs, emphasizing the benefits of play-based learning. Learn how to apply mindful practices to reduce stress and anxiety in children.

March 28th – April 3rd, 2021

Swarthmore College and Ashoka Japan present the international Social Innovation Lab at the Lang Centre and Ashoka Japan Youth Venturer’s International Youth Social Innovator Symposium. Mary Gordon will be the keynote speaker for this virtual, three-day exchange event. Hosted by Dr. Denise Crossan (Social Innovation Lab at the Lang Centre, Swarthmore College Centre for Civic and Social Responsibility, Pennsylvania) and Nana Watanabe (Director, Ashoka Japan). Mary will address “Empathy: platform for social innovation.”

March 4, 2021

The ANNUAL SOCIAL ENTERPRISE FOR A DAY at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax is a collaborative event focused on providing student with knowledge of social enterprises. Guest Panelists with expertise in social enterprises will speak to their histories and views on how entrepreneurs can make a positive impact on people and society. Hear Mary Gordon, Founder/President ROE, Lori Barker of Ronald McDonald House Charities and Nick Sharpe of Big Brothers Big Sisters. REGISTER HERE

February 22-26, 2021

Presenting at the 4th ANNUAL PRESCHOOL MINDFULLNESS SUMMIT, Founder/President Mary Gordon addresses social-emotional learning, and well-being strategies to use with students, teachers or parents. Past summits have attracted audiences from over 72 countries around the world and have featured speakers such as Dr. Daniel Siegel, Dr. Daniel Goleman and Dr. Rick Hanson. CLICK HERE to join this presentation for free.

February 19, 2021

“BUILDING EMPATHY: The Missing Piece in Violence Prevention”

Presenting to school counsellors and mental health professionals at the Melissa Institute, Mary Gordon will focus on the role of empathy in the prevention of violence and aggression; executive functioning capacities; using the lens of Temperament to understand periods of child development, and ways to nurture empathy. Additionally, Mary Gordon will outline the differences between cognitive empathy and affective empathy and how these distinctions are important in the function of empathy development. Participants will be able to utilize this knowledge to assist children and families they work with to encourage empathy and prevent later incidences of violence. This presentation will be used to offer continuing education credits to participants.

January 18, 2021

“WHERE PARENTS TALK” Interview with journalist Lianne Castelino. Mary Gordon presents to an award-winning digital community created to educate and empower parents. Click here to hear the podcast.

December 1, 2020

UNIVERSITY OF CALGARY Nurturing Empathy in Uncertain Times – Pluralism and Global Citizenship webinar series

The University of Calgary has made pluralism a university-wide banner initiative. As part of this initiative, the University is hosting a pluralism podcast/webinar. Moderated by highly regarded journalist, UCalgary Chancellor Deb Yedlin, Mary Gordon joins panelists Dr. Dianne Gereluk (PhD, Dean, Werklund School of Education, UCalgary) and Benedict Kojo Otoo (PhD Candidate, Werklund School of Education, UCalgary). Dr. Aleem Bharwani (MD, physician, Clinical Associate Professor, and Director of Public Policy and Partnerships for the Indigenous, Local, and Global Health Office in the Cumming School of Medicine and O’Brien Institute for Public Health) will introduce the panel, who will be speaking on the topic of helping parents and teachers understand how we can nurture and teach empathy in a digital sphere. How do we teach critical citizenship skills when more and more of our kids’ interactions are digital? Watch here

November 26, 2020

BRITISH COLUMBIA NURSES’ UNION 2020 Human Rights & Equity Conference In the Wake: Pandemics and Public Health

Mary Gordon will discuss the many health, social and political issues that have arisen in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference will offer members an opportunity to engage in dialogue on these and other related issues and to reflect on how we can begin to shape our collective future as nurses, health care workers and union activists. Mary’s presentation “What Happened?” delves into the universal experience of the pandemic that hasn’t built solidarity, but loneliness and poor children’s mental health.

November 19, 2020

Rediscovering Certainty Empathy & Deep Listening Session

Mary Gordon will explore the theme of empathy and the relationship between deep listening and empathy in this Ashoka Changemaker Summit. With a global audience, the panelists include Vuslat Dogan Sabancı, who recently established a global foundation to support initiatives using deep listening and Kinari Webb of Harmony for Health, who uses deep listening to save rainforests in Indonesia. The summit poses questions like how, at this moment are we trying to shift our perspectives? How do we rediscover certainty? What are the firm values that keep us going? To watch this summit, CLICK HERE

Date TBA

THE DALAI LAMA Global Vision Summit

An online event hosted in acknowledgement of the Dalai Lama’s 85th birthday, The Dalai Lama Global Vision Summit will be a six-day virtual summit personally endorsed by His Holiness. The summit is a celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, bringing together teachers and speakers all illuminating the themes of the Dalai Lama’s life and work. Mary Gordon was invited to join the celebration where she will be sharing footage of her previous dialogues with his Holiness.

Mary Gordon invitation to conferenceOctober 14-25, 2020

EMBODIMENT CONFERENCE Mary Gordon presents “Creating an Empathic and Emotionally Literate World”.

Mary Gordon’s compelling presentation in the Leadership and Business channel, explores her empathy-based program, Roots of Empathy, which taps into the emotional lives of children, their creativity and imagination. Mary discusses the research confirming the program’s impact on three continents. Research on Roots of Empathy shows that as children’s empathy increases, aggression and bullying decrease, and prosocial behaviours increase. Over 400,000 people registered for the conference.

September 8, 2020

ASHOKA INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER SERIES Geneva Switzerland “EMPATHY—The new essential skill”

Audience: registered participants from Switzerland, Japan, France, United Kingdom, and Canada. Mary Gordon joins Ashoka panellists to discuss questions such as: Does empathy help us when going through schools closures, lock down, and solidarity needs? We are on the cusp of a one-in-a-lifetime moment. After disruption and chaos, our society and economy are now being rebuilt. We have, therefore, an unique opportunity to design the world of tomorrow. What should its fundamentals be? How important will empathy be? How to foster such a skill in the next generation? Ashoka Switzerland hosted “outstanding Canadian Fellow, Mary Gordon, founder of the ground-breaking Roots of Empathy.”

August 31 – September 3, 2020

Preschool Neuroscience Summit 2020  Keynote speaker Mary Gordon presents “Cultivating Empathy in Children”.

Mary will discuss why empathy is needed now more than ever in society and the pivotal role that Early Childhood Educators play in its cultivation. Understanding the brain and how it works is essential for preschool teachers and parents. Registrants will learn about how to help children and themselves develop self-regulation and well being. Host of the summit is Dr. Helen Maffini, researcher, co-author of Developing Children’s Emotional Intelligence and creator of Thriving Kids, has successfully run international summits over the last three years with over 30,000 registrants that were headlined by Dr. Daniel Siegel, Dr. Daniel Goleman, and Dr. Rick Hanson, Susan Kaiser Greenland, and many others. This is a 3-day long virtual conference where pre-recorded interviews with industry experts will be broadcast.

August 21, 2020

FIRKI TEACH FOR INDIA “Why empathy is crucial in our post-covid world”.

Mary Gordon presents at Firki, the teacher education portal of Teach For India and a fellow winner of the HundrED educational innovator award. She will describe the history and research on the Roots of Empathy program. Narrative, video and children’s art will be used to explain how this school-based initiative has captured the attention of neuroscientists around the world. Emphasis will be placed on how the organization pivoted in the face of COVID-19 to design a new program adaptable to COVID-19 challenges.

August 6, 2020

Mary Gordon is invited by the SAMUEL CENTRE FOR SOCIAL CONNECTEDNESS for a Roundtable Discussion to support its Social Connectedness Fellowship program. Topic: Domestic Violence The Social Connectedness Fellowship is supporting its fifth cohort of young leaders who are carrying out community-based research related to overcoming social isolation and building belonging. Part of their outputs last year was producing policy proposals to address the harmful impact of COVID-19 measures in relation to domestic violence. Mary Gordon was invited to contribute to this Roundtable Discussion as SCF believes her experience and knowledge would be of great value to the Fellows.

Publish Date TBC

ESPERANTO is the first English language magazine published in Japan. Mary Gordon, a Global Social Entrepreneur of influence has been invited to give her view of the future post-covid. In their first issue, world class photographer and journalist Nanako Watanabe will be highlighting writing from Mary Gordon along with three other renowned social entrepreneurs, Bart Weetjens, Hasina Kharbih and David Green. The magazine is looking for a global and humanistic view of the coming era as a common thread.

July 16, 2020

TVO TEACH ONTARIO FEATURE, “In Conversation with Mary Gordon”

TVO TeachOntario is an award-winning online community that supports sharing, collaboration and knowledge exchange amongst educators across Ontario. A unique destination for teachers, TeachOntario’s purpose is to serve and celebrate Ontario educators for the broader benefit of Ontario’s students. Mary Gordon’s presentation explores the role of teachers in the success of the Roots of Empathy program and their leadership in nurturing empathy within the classroom.  CLICK HERE TO READ THE CONVERSATION rb.gy/2sf7e8

July 17, 2020

THE GRIT New York INTERVIEWS MARY GORDON Loralyn Mears, Journalist, from Grit Daily News asks “What’s at the Root of Empathy? We asked Mary Gordon” Grit Daily News is the top news source on Millennial and Gen Z brands — from fashion, tech, and influencers to entrepreneurship and life. Based in New York, their team is global and brings with it over 400 years of combined reporting experience. Grit Daily’s team includes all stars and media veterans from ABC, CBS, CNN, Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., Vice, and Vox — among others. Grit Daily embodies — and covers — the changes of our times. READ THE ARTICLE HERE https://gritdaily.com/collision-from-home-mary-gordon/

June 26, 2020

“Towards a Bully Free World” by Mary Gordon Article for Principal Connections Magazine. Published in the Fall 2020 Vol 24 Issue 1 of Principal Connections, a magazine designed for principal and vice-principals of Ontario. This edition will be themed around “bullying”. Principal Connections is the only publication in Ontario that is sent to a wide range of Catholic education leaders, including Principals, Vice-Principals, Directors of Education and Superintendents

June 24, 2020

COLLISION CONFERENCE PANEL “Decode Empathy Education”

In this cutting-edge podcast from North America’s fastest growing tech conference, renowned News Anchor at China Global Television Network, Rachelle Akuffo moderates panelists Mary Gordon and Tracey Welson-Rossman, Founder of Chariot Solutions/TechGirlz. With over 30,000 attendees from over 100 countries, Mary presents Decode Empathy Education – revealing the balance needed between relationships and technology and the crisis of connection that is affecting all of us due to COVID-19. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO https://cutt.ly/ChbXeJm

June 17, 2020

PODCAST Cork, Ireland  “How to talk policy and influence people”

Interviewer and global advocate Jane Mulcahy speaks with Mary Gordon about empathy, the importance of the attachment relationship between a baby and their primary carer, safety, and the fact that “love grows brains”. They also discuss inter-generational trauma and violence, and how the Adverse Childhood Experiences studies have clearly established a range of negative health, relational and behavioural consequences of relational poverty and an accumulation of adversity in childhood. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO https://youtu.be/JiRddeuXQ0g

June 16, 2020

THIRD SPACE THOUGHTS TO POLICY, Virginia, USA “Episode 30 – How Empathy Can Break Cycles of Violence”

International podcast host Amina Derbi interviews experts and stakeholders in the field of education policy reform including policy advisors, governmental officials, academics, teachers, and parents. Mary Gordon’s interview discusses how it is not just about mastering arithmetic and literacy, but improving community mindedness, moral reasoning, forgiveness, and empathy so that learning is transformative. The podcast was top and trending multiple times on Messy. FM from 2019-2020. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO shorturl.at/dmyJY

May 18, 2020

Romanian ONLINE PANEL “Empathy to tackle the New Inequality”

Mary Gordon speaks on well-being and mental health, the emotional literacy of children and the value of early learning in the family dynamic. Speakers include Ashoka Fellows Flavio Bassi – Latin America,  Ole Kassow – Denmark and Dorica Dan – Romania. The host from Ashoka Romania indicated it was their most successful session that day with over 3.3K views.

May 14, 2020

EMPATHY MUSEUM PANEL Cologne, Germany “A Mile in My Shoes”

Dorothea Marcus, cultural journalist and theatre critic from Cologne, moderates panelists Clare Patey (Director of the Empathy Museum) and Mary Gordon. Mary discusses empathy and the Roots of Empathy approach, including how the program impacts not just the students, but the participating mothers and babies. FOR MORE ON THE EMPATHY MUSEUM https://cutt.ly/uhbUUMJ

April 22, 2020

THE WEEKLY ARTS SHOW on Drive 105, Northern Ireland

Radio interview by Writer and Creative Director Eileen Walsh with Mary Gordon, who will discuss the need for empathy, particularly relevant now. With a focus on the real world as opposed to its digital alternative, Mary discusses raising children in the digital era. CLICK HERE TO HEAR THE PODCAST shorturl.at/ewPZ7

April 16, 2020

DISCOVERY MUSEUM, Massachusetts

Mary Gordon Presents “Childhood is the springtime of humanity”, a hopeful presentation discussing the impact of trauma on children and their resilience in dealing with grief and generalized adversity. We all have personal experiences with childhood but now we have neuroscience to inform us about how early experiences shape brain development. Audience Demographic: Early Years Educators, children’s organizations working with special needs kids, parents, grandparents, volunteers and all 30,000 constituents of the Discovery Museum database.

March 11, 2020

INVESTITURE CEREMONY FOR THE ORDER OF ONTARIO at Queens Park

The Order of Ontario is the province’s highest honour for an Ontarian who has shown outstanding qualities of individual excellence and achievement. The Lieutenant Governor, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, inducted Mary Gordon with the Order of Ontario in the category of Education. Mary Gordon gave the response to the toast on behalf of all of the 21 inductees.

February 27, 2020

LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE FOR ENGLISH EDUCATION (LCEE) in Laval, Quebec

Mary Gordon presents an exploration of teacher well-being and how it plays an important role in the development of positive teacher-student relationships and in creating a healthy learning environment. To Teach is to Reach is theme of the presentation which places emphasis on how teachers can develop an awareness of their own needs to positively influence their role in the classroom. The greatest learning occurs when children and teachers are equipped with experiences and skills that promote social emotional understanding and wellbeing. Mary Gordon will also present a 30-minute closing plenary for the conference.

February 11, 2020

DIGITAL LIFE DESIGN CONFERENCE Munich, Germany “Teaching is Reaching”

Mary Gordon presents the keynote speech as well as a workshop and closing plenary at Europe’s biggest technology conference. Mary speaks alongside neuroscientist Susan Greenfield. More than 200 speakers and 1,300 attendees will touch base at #DLD20. For the sixteenth time, “Europe‘ s hottest conference” brings together the most influential opinion-makers, industry leaders, start-ups, and digital giants in Munich and around the world. The Digital Life Design Conference is an invitation-only conference.

January 18, 2020

RESPONDING TO CANADA’S URGENT CHALLENGES “Is Human Touch at Risk in the Digital Age?” Mary Gordon’s presentation looks at how human beings are naturally social and thrive on human connections. Modern digital life gets in the way – we are connected, yet disconnected. The growing trend of Digital Detox shows how people are currently trying to solve this conflict. But are there solutions where technology can help us to enjoy meaningful human connections? How can we all together play a role to serve people’s most fundamental need for more human touch? Joining the discussion is Baroness Susan Greenfield, founder and CEO of Neuro-Bio Ltd and Ralph Zimmerer, VP Global Brand and Design NIVEA.

January 15, 2020

MARS DISCOVERY DISTRICT Toronto Mary Gordon joins a panel of social entrepreneurs, moderated by Anna Maria Tremonti. Before an audience of people who are successfully engaged in reimagining and rebuilding society, Mary Gordon joins Ms Tremonti in demonstrating the value of the Ashoka network and its critical role in addressing urgent challenges facing the world today.