World Outside My Shoes

Awakening curiosity that leads to human connection


We believe the possibility for healing, restoration and connection exists – even when it seems unattainable.


To equip and inspire people of all ages to build trusting relationships through restorative thinking and practices.


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From their family’s home in Rwanda central Africa, Carl and Teresa Wilkens forged deep bonds with neighbors and co-workers in the years leading up to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The strength of these bonds was at the forefront of their decision for Carl to stay in Rwanda during the genocide. 

Today, Carl draws insights from Rwanda’s restorative decisions following the genocide, to launch conversations that invite us to move toward connecting through curiosity and exploring the World Outside My Shoes in new ways. 

In schools, faith communities, business communities, and beyond, Carl uses the transformative process of storytelling and restorative practices to engage participants on questions of polarization, harmful conflict, and belonging. Our individual roles in building human connection is a recurring theme.


Schools & Universities

Engage both heart and mind with our virtual or in-person dialogue education experiences.

Community & Faith Based Organizations

We enjoy partnering with museums, libraries, social agencies, and faith groups, to facilitate conversations on how we can explore the world outside my shoes in new ways.

Corporate &
Small business

We explore catalysts to enhance workplace culture through human connection. We’ll bring the conversation into the workplace.


From our grassroots beginning in 2008, World Outside My Shoes has been sharing stories around the globe. At the heart of our work is the belief that human connection is foundational to healing. Using our lens of respect, empathy, and inclusion, we seek to engage people with open-hearted curiosity.

Interactive School Visits & Professional Development

Whether in assemblies or classroom visits, Carl Wilkens packages lessons learned from Rwanda's re-building after the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. Together we explore themes of respect, empathy, inclusion, and belonging with students in primary school through university.

Restorative practices: Ignite Talk

Virtually or in-person, Carl Wilkens shares his harrowing firsthand account of the 100 days of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi. Through case studies, testimonies and stories, participants will have opportunities to explore the themes of human connection and restoration within themselves and their circle of influence.

“I’m Not Leaving” Film Screenings with Live or Virtual Q&A

This 40-minute documentary shares snapshots through the eyes of multiple perspectives as they navigate the 100 day genocide. Their gut-wrenching choices and unexpected alliances formed leave us with a surprising sense of hope and agency. Schedule a screening followed by an in-person or virtual Q&A session with Carl.

Rwanda Educational Immersive Experience

“How can people live together peacefully when betrayal, murder, and genocide is such a recent part of their history?” That’s the question we address as we traverse the scenic hills of Rwanda for 10 days visiting memorials and school campuses, farms and factories, speaking with survivors, perpetrators and government officials, all working together to build a new Rwanda.



Since March 2020, we’ve been regularly convening teachers across our World Outside My Shoes network for “Finding the Good” Zoom sessions. On Tuesday evenings, we come together in community to explore themes relevant to classroom engagement: restorative practices, social & emotional learning, non-violent communication, forgiveness, and so much more.

Each session, we review a piece of content meant to inspire discussion & stretch worldviews, and at core, we’re here to build connection among educators. 

Want to join our bi-weekly Finding the Good sessions on Tuesdays at 8:30pm ET? Click below!

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