Adviser Update Adviser Update Spring 2017 | Page 6

Empathy YES AND: USING DESIGN THINKING TO TEACH EMPATHY AND DIGITAL STORYTELLING ON REFUGEES IN PARIS By Beatrice Motamedi I was driving home from school last fall when I saw them: dozens of mattresses arranged in rows, a few flopping dangerously into a busy street near a metro stop in central Paris. Hundreds of young men milled about, laughing and chatting, some around a cold- water sink that was the only place they had to drink, clean clothes and wash. Crossing deserts, mountains and seas, they had traveled thousands of miles from Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and Syria, expecting warm beds, hot meals and help. What these refugees found instead was the uneasy shelter of a median strip, steps away from a government agency that processed precisely 20 people every morning, then shut its doors by noon. With each passing day, winter was approaching. Conditions, already bad, surely would grow worse. I was born in Paris. Over the years, I have seen it change, but I had never witnessed anything like this. ASP is Global Student Square’s innovation hub in France and a place where we wanted to build a journalism program that would connect to the world. This was our chance, but how to engage students more than an hour away in a western suburb where few sleep rough?