In January 2008, with no end in sight to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan, Carl decided to quit his job and found World Outside My Shoes. He and his wife Teresa have since facilitated this important work to enter the world of "the other."
World Outside My Shoes is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational and professional development organization committed to inspiring and equipping people to enter the world of "The Other." "The Other" maybe under our own roof or on the other side of the globe.
Flash forward to today, WOMS is inspiring thousands of people to have more curiosity and make judgment slowly.
In the United States, we face a crisis of intensifying polarization. Originating from a desire for safety and security – economically, politically, culturally – we have built walls to insulate ourselves from those we fear are a threat. Our work is a shared-society initiative that addresses the forces of polarization, challenges the mindset of scarcity, and replaces walls of bias with bridges of empathy.
To showcase how respect leads to empathy, resulting in inclusion through the lenses of storytelling and dialogue facilitation
Our innovation is as old as human life on planet earth: storytelling. Story-based bridge building. Drawing on insights from cognitive science, we use the craft of storytelling to reach the sub-rational processes where biases live and metastasize. We recognize that stories are uniquely structured to open our minds to new perspectives. When reinforced over time, these new cognitive pathways change how we see each other and the world. Storytelling, listening, and compassionate curiosity are the interwoven elements of our methodology designed to foster conversations that infuse our communities with respect, empathy, and inclusion, enabling us to collaborate on systems-level solutions rather than compete.
WOMS believes that…
Genocide stems from thinking that says “My world would be better without ‘you’ in it.”
“My world” is not a sustainable concept. “Our world” is made better/stronger by welcoming different perspectives, cultures, and demographics.
Cultural competency is an essential tool in today’s global community.? Stories give us our best platform for building Respect/Empathy/Inclusion.
An environment of respect can lead to a safe place for sharing and learning different people’s stories – a place where empathy grows and inclusion becomes a natural response.
Each person’s story is vitally important to healthy growth in a classroom, workplace, and community.
We are partners with the Florida Holocaust Museum, U.S. Holocaust Museum, and Facing History and Ourselves. We also have a strong network of dedicated educators and students who practice WOMS' model of respect, empathy, and inclusion.