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Education Innovator Zoe Weil in Pensacola to Discuss Creating "Solutionaries"

Institute for Humane Education

Zoe Weil is president and co-founder of the Institute of Humane Education, a non-profit organization that promotes education in human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection. Weil will give a presentation for the Florida Association of Environmental Professionals in Pensacola on Friday. She will also lead a workshop hosted by the local environmental nonprofit Earth Ethics on Saturday.

“I’m going to talk about ways that we can ensure that our lives, individually, offer the most opportunities to be what we like to call ‘solutionaries for a better world.’ A more just, a more environmentally friendly, sustainable and humane world,” Weil said.

The institute works with schools, teachers and teachers-in-training to bring these ideas into their classrooms.  It offers online Master of Education, Master of Arts, and PhD programs in Humane Education. It also offers a six-week professional development course for teachers called “Teaching for a Better Future,” as well as a course for the general public, “A Better World, A Meaningful Life.”

Educating students to be global competitors isn't enough. -Zoe Weil

“Educating students solely to be global competitors isn’t enough,” Weil said. “We really need our students to have the knowledge and the tools and the motivation to challenge and change systems that aren’t in the best interest of people, or the environment, or other species, and we like to call that ‘educating solutionaries.’”

Weil says the institute plans to set up the first “solutionary school” in New York City. She says it’s important to present global issues to students in age-appropriate ways, so that the knowledge that they gain in literacy can be applied to real-world problems.”

The institute will also hold “solutionary congresses” in several locations across the country in spring 2014. The first one was held in Utah this past spring. The events will bring groups of students together to develop a solution for a local or global problem. Weil said the teams will present their ideas in front of investors, social entrepreneurs and policy makers.

On Saturday morning, Weil will lead a workshop based on her book, “Most Good, Least Harm.” She says the workshop will provide the participants with an opportunity to experience what she hopes will happen in schools.

“One of the things that young people are rarely asked, that few of us are asked is, ‘What are the issues that most concern us?’ ‘What are we good at?’ And ‘What do we love to do?’ And when we find the place where the answers to those three questions meet, we have the opportunity to find our life’s great work and our wonderful ability to contribute.” Weil said.

The workshop will take place on Saturday, December 7 from 10am to 3pm at the Main Branch library on Spring St. in downtown Pensacola.

For more information on Zoe Weil's work, you can watch her TEDx talks:

Katya Ivanov, WUWF News