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Sesame Street: Changing Children’s Lives Around the World

  • Commonwealth Club 110 The Embarcadero San Francisco, CA, 94105 United States (map)

Sherrie Westin, President of Global Impact and Philanthropy, SesameWorkshop

In the last 50 years, there’s a good chance you’ve watched “Sesame Street”—whether as an adult, a child, or both—and that it’s shaped the way you see the world around you. Sherrie Westin heads up Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind "Sesame Street," and touts the show's unique approach to creating learning opportunities: “We're combining the power of popular media with our engaging, nonthreatening Muppets to enlighten young children. That's pretty powerful." With Muppets who talk about everything from autism to incarceration to refugees to personal hygiene, friendly fuzzy faces tackle important subjects for a young audience every single day in 150 countries around the world.

In 2018, Sesame Workshop, in partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), won the MacArthur Foundation’s first ever $100 million 100&Change grant competition. This enormous grant enables Sesame Workshop and IRC to implement the largest early childhood intervention in the history of humanitarian response, targeting children and families in the Syrian response region, which includes Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. The goal? To improve children's learning outcomes, support their vital intellectual and emotional development, and help them overcome the trauma of war. No mean feat, but the Muppets are up for the task.

Join us for a unique look into Sesame Workshop’s innovative approach to supporting children and those who care for them around the world.