Ceia is the world’s first organisation dedicated to promoting empathy in international affairs. We believe empathizing can deepen understanding, improve policy-making, and reduce violent conflict. We will strengthen the practical application of empathy to international challenges. We are building a specialist team to enhance the empathy skills of international officials, diplomats, mediators and practitioners. Our vision is to establish empathy as a key component of international policy-making and practice.


To explore and promote the use of empathy to provide a deeper understanding of others, inform foreign policy-making, and contribute to the avoidance and resolution of violent conflict.

To apply empathy to contemporary conflicts and challenges in order to generate policy-relevant insights and ideas.

To develop a pedagogy for enhancing the empathy skills of international officials and practitioners, and establish a team of specialist trainers to put this into effect.


Click here to see why empathy matters in international affairs and the rationale for establishing ceia.


1. Creating a brain trust of experts, policy-makers and practitioners ceia will serve as a multi-disciplinary hub connecting distinguished individuals and organisations who are committed to using empathy in fields ranging from diplomacy and conflict resolution to psychology and human rights. We already support 60 advisers and associates to share their expertise across diverse disciplines and apply empathy in their work. They are listed here, and include renowned experts and thinkers such as the mediator Lord John Alderdice, political scientist Steven Walt, social neuroscientist Emile Bruneau, peacebuilder Melanie Greenberg, strategy expert Sir Lawrence Freedman, psychologist Steven Pinker, and anthropologist Scott Atran.

2. Applying empathy to international problems – ceia will carry out case specific empathy audits: analyses, using empathic research and techniques, to generate practical recommendations for those seeking to resolve conflict. This would meet the demand from policy-makers and practitioners for a deeper understanding of the root causes of complex problems, and for innovative and effective responses. We will also conduct and support expert studies on contemporary challenges, including in response to requests by partners. Our first publications explored the lack of empathy in US decision-making in Iraq, the positive role of empathy in diplomacy behind the Iran nuclear deal of April 2015, how empathy could contribute to stability in Syria, and empathy’s potential in social entrepreneurship.

3. Generating new insights and ideas – In conjunction with partners, ceia will convene expert workshops on the role of empathy in different spheres of international affairs and in tackling particular challenges, such as violent extremism or the conflict in Syria. To date we have successfully held workshops on empathy in conflict resolution at the United States Institute for Peace, on empathy in mediation at the European Institute of Peace, and on empathy in international affairs at Chatham House. In each case the workshops stimulated critical analysis of conventional approaches and produced recommendations for policy-makers.

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4. Enhancing empathy skills – ceia will draw on expert insights, practical experience and scientific research to develop a pedagogy for training in empathy. We will build a multidisciplinary team of experts to advise and train individuals with international responsibilities, especially in foreign ministries and international organisations, to enhance their ability to empathize. We will also build the capacity of trainers in key foreign policy institutions and organisations overseas.

5. Advocating for empathy– ceia will advocate for high-level recognition of the utility of empathy in international affairs and for action by key states and international bodies, including the UN Security Council, to ensure that they incorporate empathy into decision-making, train personnel in empathizing, and establish specialist teams that are tasked with acquiring a deeper understanding of others.