Narrative 4

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“To step into the shoes of others in order to be able to step back into our own.” -Colum McCann

Narrative 4 uses personal storytelling to build empathy between young people so they can improve their communities and the world together. Led by globally influential artists, educators, students and community advocates, we are a global educational organization that promotes the exchange of stories as a way to connect students to each other, to break down barriers, and shatter stereotypes.

When Narrative 4 was first dreamed up by co-founders, Lisa Consiglio and Colum McCann, they asked the question: What is the highest aim of storytelling & how can we harness that energy to transform the world? Since 2013,, we’ve witnessed the myriad of ways the simple, yet powerful, story exchange model has become the foundation for tangible community improvement and change.

Storytelling is an ancient and universal human activity, and Narrative 4 helps people to tell their stories in a new and powerful way. If you step into my shoes, I will step into yours. Our goal is to achieve a sense of fearless hope through radical empathy.

Narrative 4 artists, educators and students from around the world give their definitions of empathy.

Formed in 2012 by a group of writers and activists, we have run our programs in schools and communities all around the world — Connecticut, New York, Illinois, Kentucky, Ireland, Haiti, Israel, South Africa, Mexico and Rwanda. Tens of thousands of stories have been exchanged but, more importantly, those who share their stories go on to use them as a means to act — creating Narratives for Peace, Narratives for the Environment, and Narratives for Social Justice.

Narrative 4 author and activist, Ishmael Beah, describes the power of our programs.

What happens when these kids know the grief – happiness, love, sorrow – of others? The world expands. We grow more deeply empathetic. You take responsibility for my life; I take precious care of yours.

Go to to see more of Our Story, and how you can be a part of it.


Contact Narrative 4

Interested in bringing an exchange to your community or want to learn more?
Email: [email protected]
Snail mail: 45 West 73rd Street, Suite #5, New York, NY 10023
Phone: 833-887-8679

Narrative 4 in the Press
Tale of Two Schools from The New York Times Magazine
Bodega Magazine Interview with Colum McCann
Let the Great World Tell Stories: Colum McCann and Esquire Celebrate Narrative 4 Launch in The Observer 
Colum McCann’s Radical Empathy in The New York Times Magazine