Patrick Cook-Deegan

EDU Fellow

We need to move secondary education from an outdated 19th century factory model to a nimble 21st century project-based model. There is a mandate for a new generation of schools that will develop purpose-driven students with a combination of inner awareness and outer drive.
— Patrick Cook-Deegan

For five years, Patrick Cook-Deegan traveled alone to countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea and Rwanda — including a 2,800-mile solo bike ride through Southeast Asia. His interest in international adventure and global justice inspired his work with human rights activists in Myanmar, his founding of a program for low-income U.S. students to volunteer overseas, and the launch of the Social Innovation Initiative at his now-alma mater, Brown University. Patrick was deeply affected by the injustices of the world he witnessed during his travels, and while in Cambodia, a friend suggested that he do a 10-day meditation sit that radically changed his life. With a new sense of purpose, Patrick returned to the social sector energized to help other young people have their own transformative experiences.

In 2007, he began speaking with high school students about the importance of global citizenship, leadership and self-awareness. He has since taught semester-long mindfulness programming in public and private schools, and has led mindfulness and backcountry trips with Back to Earth and UCLA-Mindful Awareness Research Center. Most recently, Patrick was the West Coast Director of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, where he helped launch its first wilderness-based retreats. During his fellowship, Patrick will be working with the Palo Alto Unified School District to develop a purpose-learning curriculum for high school students.

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