Fellowship Program

2017 Fellows - UC Berkeley

Mathew Madain
I enjoy the Empathy Surplus Fellowship because I gain practical experience translating the global-humanitarian ideals I respect and cherish into meaningful action through encouraging dynamic and powerful changes in American communities, public government, and business-corporation operations.

In 2016, I had the honor of serving as Cal Rotaract’s Chair of International Service where I led members in weekly educational sessions on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, planned fundraisers to support the efforts of humanitarian organizations providing sustainable relief aid (ex: ShelterBox USA), organized awareness campaigns to bring international issues to the forefront of Rotaract’s efforts, and participated in service projects to offer tangible assistance to groups in need of aid and empowerment. My efforts with Rotaract show that a group of talented, passionate individuals devoted to humanitarian causes can make their impact felt globally.

This past summer, I visited governmental sites in Washington DC as a student diplomat of the Olive Tree Initiative, a university organization dedicated to analyzing conflicts, specifically the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, through an academic and multi-narrative lens. The meetings I attended at the US Institute for Peace, State Department, and Executive Offices gave me a first-hand look into the workings of top-level government officials. I also had the chance to visit the United Nations Headquarters in New York and meet with specialists in Middle East Affairs and UNRWA. In addition to getting a glimpse into the world of international governance, I saw the seat dedicated to Rotary International in the General Assembly Chamber and was filled with a great sense of pride to be a part of such an influential organization. I became dedicated to a vision of world peace and equity, where governmental organizations work with global institutions and businesses to raise the livelihoods of humans and empower citizens, worldwide.

I am convinced that a mindset of empathy, responsibility to self and others, and positive strength can help our government, with cooperation of businesses and civil society organizations, to achieve a greater level of social cohesion, equity, and prosperity. Today’s world faces dire challenges: humanitarian displacement due to violent conflict, rising economic disparities worldwide, weak healthcare infrastructures in developing countries, an increased rate in preventable diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular disease), the ongoing battle with cancers, pollution, environmental degradation, and climate change.

Empathy is useful as tool for combating these strategies because it reminds us of our humanity and equips us with the heart-felt desire to bring aid and justice to our brethren in need. We must view ourselves as responsible stewards of nature and its precious resources to take impactful action against climate change. America as the world’s most powerful nation must lead the world – by example - towards a more sustainable and peaceful future.

Mathew Madain is a sophomore at UC Berkeley, Class of 2019, majoring in Global Studies (formerly Peace and Conflict Studies) and History, with a minor in Arabic. His academic interests range from Conflict Resolution, International Law, Diplomacy, Byzantine and Arab History, Public Health, Environmental Studies, Religion, Politics, Power Dynamics, and Language. He hopes to study International Law at Boalt and participate in a Rotary Peace Fellowship, with an ultimate goal of assisting in the peace building mission of the United Nations. His two main responsibilities as a 2017 Empathy Surplus Project Fellow are to (1) practice ESP’s Four Empathic Activities of inward digestion, investment, implementation, and invitation, and (2) volunteer four hours per week to Dr. George Lakoff at the Center for Neural Mind and Society. You can support Empathy Surplus Project Fellowships by becoming a Monthly Freedom Investor.