Global Health Academy

Global Compassion Initiative

A Global Health Academy and Stanford Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education project looking at understanding compassion and its integration into the various domains of society.


An innovative collaboration between the Global Health Academy and the Stanford Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

Our mission is to explore the scientific aspects of the understanding and application of compassion in our society. Compassion is a complex and creative process we hope to illuminate through collaborative inquiry across our universities and research centres.

TedX Talk byJames Doty

Reflections on Compassion blog by Richard Smith

The GCI is hosting a series of public seminars to examine the different discourses and curate the knowledge already available around compassion. Exemplary approaches from partners such as the City Council, the Royal Colleges, the NHS, Business communities, and Public services documented and displayed with opportunity for public input.

Supporting Sustainable Development

Through the UN Sustainable Development Goals, many countries have outlined Governmental intention to achieve the 169 goal indicators. The GCI will support Scotland and it’s partners in enhancing their achievements through embedding compassion in target delivery.

Examples include compassionate action to ensure that Goal Three, Healthy Lives for All, is inclusive for those at the edges of society, the most vulnerable, those who are homeless, isolated, separated by stigmatised disease, or old age or disabilities.

In keeping with Edinburgh’s vibrant festival scene the GCI hosted Differneces Made One: a Festival of Compassion, which showcased ways in which the city, Scotland as a nation and our global partners live compassionately to bring about change. Art, architecture, city planning, literature, education, politics, finance, engineering, industry, faith, sport and health shape life, and all can be shaped by compassion.


  • Kirsty Macgregor: International Business Consultant and Edinburgh Business School Alumnus
  • Dr John Gillies: Recently retired Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Scotland, and Global Health Academy Senior Advisor
  • Paul Brennan : Senior Clinical lecturer specialising in Neuro-Oncology and neuro surgeon 
  • Liz Grant: Assistant Principal and Director of the Global Health Academy

Upcoming Events

Compassion in the Age of Disruption

A one-day summit for cutting-edge business and thought leaders to explore how deep human values will forge a way ahead in the age of artificial intelligence.

30 November 18:00-20:00 Drinks Reception, Edinburgh City Chambers

1 December 8:30-17:30 Main Summit, the University of Edinburgh Business School

Previous Events

New Perspective on Compassion

Reconnecting Compassion Conference

Compassion and Courage Salon

Why now? Compassion Moving from the Fringes to the Centre - August 23rd 2016


Building our Collaboration with Stanford


Empathy Network 

Led by Dr Autumn Roesch-Marsh, Lecturer in Social Work and Dr Seamus Prior, Senior Lecturer in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Tools of the Trade

John has led a series of workshops and conferences on the issue of compassion in healthcare, and was responsible, with Rev Ali Newell of the University Chaplaincy Centre and the Scottish Poetry Library for the new Poetry initiative which has seen all Edinburgh Medical Graduates receiving a gift of the small poetry book ‘Tools of the Trade’