IHE’s History

After many years of work as humane educators, watching as young people became engaged and effective changemakers after learning about global ethical issues, Zoe Weil and Rae Sikora wanted to create a comprehensive humane education movement linking human rights, environmental sustainability, and animal protection and empowering people of all ages to be solutionaries for a more just, healthy, and peaceful world.

They co-founded the Center for Compassionate Living (CCL) in 1996 in Surry, ME to offer preparation and certification for those wishing to be humane educators and to advance the field of humane education.

After creating the Humane Education Certificate Program in 1997, the organization affiliated with Cambridge College in 2000 to offer the first M.Ed. program in Humane Education in the U.S., offered online, and transitioned its name to the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) to better reflect its programs and focus.

In 2011, IHE affiliated with Valparaiso University and expanded its offerings to include an online M.Ed., M.A., M.A.L.S., and Graduate Certificate in Humane Education. In 2013, IHE partnered with Saybrook University to enable students who wished to pursue a Ph.D. through Saybrook to specialize in humane education.

In 2015, IHE began developing its Solutionary Program, which offers solutions-focused education directly to middle and high school students.

IHE has also offered online courses, in-person workshops, and an award-winning online resource center.

Since its inception IHE’s goals have been three-pronged:

  • To provide training and professional development to people wishing to be humane educators;
  • To advance the field of humane education;
  • To offer humane education directly to students.

IHE looks forward to the day when humane education is so deeply embedded into schooling and learning that it will simply be known as “education,” and schools will, as a matter of course, prepare students to be solutionaries who bring their knowledge and skills to bear  in solving the challenges we face in ways that are good for all.

Timeline Snapshot

1996: Humane educators Zoe Weil and Rae Sikora co-found the Center for Compassionate Living (CCL) to offer training and professional development and to advance the field of humane education. The organization offers two-day workshops and begins development of an in-depth online certificate program in humane education.

1997: IHE holds its first graduate residency training week at its beautiful, oceanfront campus in Surry, ME.

2000: The organization affiliates with Cambridge College to offer the first M.Ed. degree in Humane Education in the U.S., offered online, and transitions its name to the Institute for Humane Education (IHE) to better reflect its work and programs.

2003: The first student graduates from IHE’s M.Ed. program.

2006: IHE expands its workshop program from twice annually to eight per year across the U.S. and Canada.

2009: IHE begins offering 4-6 week online courses, and its free online resource center wins the SPN Action Teaching Award honorable mention.

2010: Zoe Weil gives her first TEDx talk, “The World Becomes What You Teach,” which becomes among the 50 top-rated and most watched TEDx talks within a year, helping IHE reach a much bigger audience and advancing the goal of graduating a generation of solutionaries.

2011: IHE affiliates with Valparaiso University and expands its offerings to include an M.Ed., M.A., M.A.L.S., and Graduate Certificate in Humane Education.

2013: IHE partners with the Jane Goodall Institute and HEART to offer the first comprehensive Humane Education conference. The event sells out before the early registration deadline, necessitating a bigger venue at New York University.

2015: IHE begins development of its signature Solutionary Program to provide solutions-focused education directly to students.

2017: IHE holds the first regional Solutionary Summit with middle and high school students solving real-world problems.