The Center for Systems Awareness is an eclectic collaboration of global partners for transforming education and thereby transforming society. Our core premise is such change can arise from a deep commitment to profound interconnectedness and the reintegration of human and nature, guided by a balance of global intent and local leadership embedded in diverse local settings.
The Center for Systems Awareness is a global web of project sites, hubs and partnerships.
Our community partners who have a profile on the MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) platform can access it directly by following the login below. Visit J-WEL website to read more about this global education initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Everything we do is through carefully cultivated partnerships, many of which have been developing for decades. These partnerships and collaborations not only enable our aspirations, they embody who we are as a community of common purpose advancing awareness-based system change through the four critical fields (practice, research, capacity building and community building) through which such change grows.
Academy for Systems change
The Academy for Systems Change is a nonprofit organization focused on advancing the field of awareness-based systemic change in order to accelerate ecological, social, and economic well-being. We are a network of individuals, organizations, and other networks focused on cultivating thriving systems in education, marine ecosystems, business, sustainable communities, finance, and more. We work with leaders across multiple domains and ecosystems, recognizing the interconnectedness between them and the applicability of capacity building tools and frameworks across all.
ATENTA MENTE: Mexico City, MEXICO
Atenta Mente in Mexico City, Mexico We are a group of multidisciplinary professionals specialized in mental and socio-emotional training, with extensive experience in working with groups of children, adolescents, teachers, parents, workers, professionals and the general public.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT of EDUCATION – System of Support for Expanded Learning: California, USA
Since mid-2017, Dr. Mette M. Boell, Dr. Peter Senge, and Robert Hanig, with support from the Stuart Foundation, have partnered with the California Department of Education (CDE) to help transform California’s System of Support for Expanded Learning (SSEL).
SSEL is a complex system which includes agencies at the state, county and district levels and supports programming for 860,000 children in the state through roughly 5000 out-of-school programs. Together SSEL oversees a budget of $730 million and is led by Michael Funk, the Director of Expanded Learning at the California Department of Education.
The complex structure of systems nested within systems and no clear protocol for accountability and responsibility created structural tensions and prevented the SSEL to work effectively towards its stated goal of supporting the learning and wellbeing of California children.
Starting in June 2017, Dr. Boell, Mr. Hanig and Dr. Senge, supported four state-wide SSEL meetings to introduce tools and practices of organizational learning and systems awareness. Initially, they led these gatherings but eventually started to build the capacity of a core group of leaders within SSEL and devolve responsibilities to them. Over the course of these eighteen months, members of SSEL described a remarkable shift in the culture and social field from toxic and dysfunctional to generative and celebratory. You can read more about the transformation in Dr. Boell’s Stories of SSEL
Next Steps in the project journey is to launch a five-year partnership to deepen the development of organizational alignment at SSEL through a wider introduction of the tools and practices. Whereas the previous work focused on the interface between CDE and county offices, this next proposed phase will focus on working directly with the County Offices and their grantee organizations throughout the State of California.
FSG – reimagining Social Change
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – a pioneer in collective impact.
FSG helps organizations find new ways to achieve real results against society’s toughest challenges. They combine practical advice with unconventional thinking to create a more equitable and sustainable future.
GENTOFTE MUNICIPALITY: Denmark
Maglegårdsskolen is located in the municipality of Gentofte, Copenhagen area, Denmark. We started working with the Compassionate Systems Framework in May 2016 with 70 students of 6th grade, 3 classrooms,10 teachers; constituting approximately one-tenth of the school. That group of students and team of professionals were considered our local prototype – the aspiration being to collect experiences and develop practices on how children and adults together could adopt tools and mindsets of Compassionate Systems Framework.
Gradually since August 2017, other departments of the school have been included in the efforts, and from the start of the academic year 2018/19 year the entire Maglegårdsskolen, 700 students (age 6-16) and 70 teachers (all in their best ages), have begun working with Compassionate Systems Framework – building on the remarkable results and findings form the prototype work.
Over the course of the 2½ years we have introduced a large number of tools and practices (list below) to study all kinds of subjects to cultivate social-emotional learning among the children. Using compassionate systems tools and mindsets we have for instance been working with photo and text analysis in Danish and foreign languages, working with differences in mental models in cultures developing cultural knowledge and understanding, working with interdisciplinary approaches to ecological issues in the sciences, and with complex historical dynamics in the social sciences. As a UNICEF Rights Respecting School, the compassionate systems tools and mindsets have been put efficiently into play while working with the articles and translations to local context of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. Since August 2018 most of the work has been anchored in the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
We continue to find evidence to show that using the Compassionate Systems Framework lead to a much higher degree of reflection amongst learners, a stronger sense of interconnectedness and an elevated understanding of system dynamics and ability to act upon complex problems. A small extract from the annual national survey on social and academic well-being, spring 2018, give some insight or indication. When compared with the average of that same grade in the whole municipality (11 schools with very similar and comparable socio-economic backgrounds) the students from our prototype grade showed a remarkably different distribution of answers, here with respect to ‘learner motivation and guidance’.
We also see positive results on school climate, mutual understanding of differences in perspectives amongst students and towards complex problems. We notice a much higher level of parent satisfaction with the school and clear signs that the students have a stronger sense of affiliation with the school, they seem to feel more engaged and are thriving in the community of the school.
GARRISON INSTITUTE: Garrison, NY
The Garrison Institute was founded on the belief that action in the world is more compassionate and more effective when infused with the wisdom and skill cultivated in contemplative practices. Overlooking the Hudson River in a beautifully renovated former Capuchin monastery, the Institute convenes and supports those who are exploring the wisdom, values and insight gained through contemplative practices to catalyze personal and social transformation.
HUMAN EARLY LEARNING PARTNERSHIP (HELP): University of British Columbia, CANADA
The Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research network, based at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. HELP’s unique partnership brings together many scientific viewpoints to address complex early child development (ECD) issues. HELP connects researchers and practitioners from communities and institutions across B.C., Canada, and internationally.
INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE: The Hague
The IB offers an education for students from age 3 to 19, comprising of four programmes that focus on teaching students to think critically and independently, and how to inquire with care and logic. The IB prepares students to succeed in a world where facts and fiction merge in the news, and where asking the right questions is a crucial skill that will allow them to flourish long after they’ve left our programmes. We are supported by IB teachers and coordinators who develop and promote the IB’s curriculums in almost 5,000 schools globally every day, in over 150 countries around the world.
J-WEL / MiT: Cambridge, MA
An initiative of MIT and Community Jameel, the Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) works with our member organizations to promote excellence and transformation in education at MIT and worldwide. We engage educators, technologists, policymakers, societal leaders, employers, and employees through online and in-person collaborations, workshops, research, and information-sharing events. J-WEL member organizations work with MIT faculty and staff to address global opportunities for scalable change in education.
MINDSIGHT INSTITUTE: LA, California
The Mindsight Institute, founded by Dr. Dan Siegel, MD, is an educational organization which offers online learning and in-person workshops that focus on how the development of mindsight in individuals, families and communities can be enhanced by examining the interface of human relationships and basic biological processes.
MINISTRY of EDUCATION :: Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA
The purpose of the British Columbia school system is to enable the approximately 553,000 public school students, 81,000 independent school students, and over 2,200 home-schooled children enrolled each school year, to develop their individual potential and to acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to contribute to a healthy society and a prosperous and sustainable economy.
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT): Cambridge, MA, USA
Founded to accelerate the nation’s industrial revolution, MIT is profoundly American. With ingenuity and drive, our graduates have invented fundamental technologies, launched new industries, and created millions of American jobs. At the same time, and without the slightest sense of contradiction, MIT is profoundly global (opens in new window). Our community gains tremendous strength as a magnet for talent from around the world. Through teaching, research, and innovation, MIT’s exceptional community pursues its mission of service to the nation and the world.
NATIONAL CENTER for YOUTH LAW: Bay area, California
Headquartered in Oakland, California, NCYL leads high impact campaigns that weave together litigation, research, public awareness, policy development, and technical assistance. The Center’s goal is not to reform one particular system, but to transform the multiple public systems serving vulnerable children – including education, child welfare, public health, behavioral health, juvenile justice, and workforce development – such that they receive the supports they need to advance and thrive.
PRESENCING INSTITUTE: Cambridge, MA
The Presencing Institute was founded in 2006 by MIT Sloan School of Management Senior Lecturer Otto Scharmer and colleagues in order to create an action research platform at the intersection of science, consciousness, and profound social and organizational change. Over the past two decades, we have developed Theory U as a change framework, led cross-sector leadership, change and innovation initiatives worldwide, and created an innovation platform called u.lab.
SAVE THE CHILDREN: Amman, JORDAN
Save the Children Jordan is on the ground – every day and in times of crisis. We believe that every child deserves a future. Around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. Save the Children Jordan began its work in Jordan in 1974 working with the most deprived children by providing them with a healthy start in life, an opportunity to learn and to be protected from harm.
VALOR COLLEGIATE ACADEMIES: Nashville, Tennessee
Valor Collegiate Academies exist to empower our diverse community to live inspired purposeful lives. Through rigorous academics, personalized learning, and a commitment to diversity, Valor Collegiate Academies prepares students not only for college, but for maintaining a purposeful, well-balanced life.
THE WADAH FOUNDATION: Jakarta, INDONESIA
Wadah Titian Harapan Foundation or Wadah Foundation is a Jakarta-based international social organization that focuses on the empowerment of women, children and their communities through education. Our education-related programs and activities use an integrated compassionate approach in order to create greater impacts on all our learners. We have adopted compassionate systems methodologies on all our educational media – be it formal, informal or non-formal education in creating long-lasting beneficial impacts on every individual. Wadah lives by its motto, “We grow to serve and we serve so that others may grow together with us” a clear exemplification that compassionate system is in the heart of our organization. We are a MIT J-WEL membership organization and an integral partner in the compassionate systems hub in Indonesia.