explore your humanity

When people work together from a shared point of understanding, we can change our communities — both local and global — for the better. At The Ubuntu Center, we are working to help people understand people. We are building a learning ecosystem bringing together a research and design lab, an interactive museum, and an institute for global leaders.

The Ubuntu Center

dedicated to the
public understanding of humanity.

Our mission is to help people understand people through exploration, inspiration and learning.

Our vision is of a world ready to tackle global problems, create cross-cultural opportunities, and enjoy the diversity of humanity.

We hope you will join us in building the Ubuntu Center.

If you agree that greater cultural awareness and understanding is critical for our future, join us. We have set our initial online fundraising goal at $50,000 which will allow us to kick-off our research and continue the hard work of establishing The Ubuntu Center. Your contribution, of any amount, will not only help our team get started, but will also help us demonstrate that there is a strong community interest for new ways to help people understand people.


Do you remember a moment in your life when you realized that there was a world of people out there that had different ways of thinking, interacting and living? Have you ever wondered what sparked that realization for others? Many have already shared their answers, so click here to explore, enjoy, and share your Global Moment.

What will the Ubuntu Center be?

The Ubuntu Center will create and lead a new field of education centers dedicated to fostering an authentic exploration of the human experience. Our work will be accomplished by three unique arms: an R&D Lab, a Museum and a Institute.
Click on the icons to the left to learn more.

A Research & Design Lab
The organization's R&D Lab will be charged with creating cutting edge products and experiences that engage learners in exploring cultural and social topics. The R&D lab is built around a cycle of continuous innovation and design thinking to produce learner focussed, adaptable products and services that are are as engaging as they are effective.

An Inquiry Driven Museum
The organization's flagship museum of contemporary human experience will feature interactive exhibits designed to spark discussions and questions. It will tackle current social and cultural topics while cultivating foundational understanding and developing skills for navigating our shared cultural environment. We hope that you will leave asking yourself: who am I? and who am I in relationship to you?

An Institute for Leaders
Our Institute will bring together big thinkers to solve big problems informed by big data from citizens around the world. You can think of the Institute as a co-workspace and mini-city-state for global leaders. The Institute will provide a space for global summits on large scale social and political problems. Its position within our learning ecosystem will bring leaders a direct line to the people whose lives are affected by the decisions they are discussing.

Why do we need it?

The world is becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent, driving the need for understanding each other. Existing as a socially and culturally conversant world citizen is no longer a luxury for a few, it is an imperative for all. We need a place that provides tools & training for educators, scaffolded experiences for learners, and a connection to leaders.
Click on the icons to the left to learn more.

Globalization is Here to Stay
Over the last 40 years globalization has exploded. According to the Swiss KOF index of globalization information flows have grown by 93% since 1990 alone. Yet despite that, interpersonal contact has grown only an anemic 10%. Clearly there is a need to inspire exchange and understanding.

We aren't Teaching the Basics
In the past hundred years, authentic understanding between people has led to some of the greatest, diplomacy, innovation, and collaboration in human history.

And yet: teachers don’t have the time or tools to work on socio-cultural understanding; parents are expected to pick up the slack, but are on their own for content and technique; there is no way for companies to foster cultural and social competency in their workforce; and leaders are disconnected from the context of the world they impact.

Hope for us All.
In a globalized world, experience is the ultimate currency. Using what we learn through experience with others we can be better neighbors, more innovative workers, and more compassionate leaders. When we better understand each other we unlock the richness of the human experience, we get a sense of the possible, and realize the hope for a better global society.

Who is it for?

Everyone...We help global citizens plant the seeds of understanding in their, and our, future.

  • Learners
    We will produce exhibits, events, and experiences for life-long learners.
  • Educators
    We will create learning platforms, curricula, and professional development for educators of every stripe.
  • Workforce
    We will serve as a source of professional growth, inspiration and skill building for the workforce.
  • Leaders
    We will ensure that world leaders can connect with each other and their constituents.

What will we offer?

A toolkit...in an engaging, contemporary package. While others have often taken a top down approach, we build from the ground up. We start with something fundamental, yet interesting. You wouldn’t try to teach mathematics starting with calculus, and you wouldn’t try to get someone to read by handing them a chemistry text. The Ubuntu Center’s approach is to begin with the fundamentals of cultural competency and social literacy, and wraps them in an engaging package. We call this a Toolkit of Understanding, and it is comprised of knowledge, skills and interests.

Click on the icons to the left to learn more.

The Ubuntu Center will help learners to understand the current and historical context of cultures and societies.

The Ubuntu Center will help learners acquire skills like cross-cultural communication and collaboration, inspiring people to put these skills into action in their communities and around the world.

The Ubuntu Center’s products and services will spark a life-long interest in exploring humanity.

Meet The Team


  • Michael Radke
  • Kristi Radke
  • John Francis
  • Sean Thomas
  • Lara Avisov
  • Tim Reilly
  • Adrienne Gaboury
  • Cristina Calcagno
  • Kellin Patler
  • Kevin Zittle
  • Brooke Estin
  • Diane Wexler
  • Advisors

  • Dennis Bartels
  • Jigar Metha
  • David Evan Harris
  • Jennifer Devlin
  • Jacquey Barber
  • Heather Radke
  • Darlene Markovich

Michael Radke, CEO

Michael has dedicated his life to exploring the world and helping others. He has sat for coffee with world leaders and sweat in corrugated tin huts with refugees and allows both to guide his world view; he has an unwavering passion for justice and compassion and is a connoisseur of experience. Matched with a special combination of education and work, Michael is uniquely positioned to lead the Ubuntu Center.

Kristi Radke, COO

Kristi is the consummate “Traveller”. From the moment she sets foot off a plane she immerses herself in the culture and people. She’s covered more of this world than most and yet she remains genuinely and admirably grounded in the experience of meeting and understanding others. Combining her passion and travel with years as an international education professional and graduate degree in Cross-Cultural Psychology Kristi is leading the operations of the Ubuntu Center.

John Francis, Treasurer

John brings nearly 25 years of experience as a CFO to ensure we start and remain on sound fiscal footing.

Sean Thomas, Secretary

Sean is an international journalist, children's author, and illustrator. When he is not recording the business of the Board he is helping us communicate our big ideas and motivating the founders to greatness.

Lara Avisov, Intern

Lara has joined the team as our research intern, social media maven and “Jill of All Trades”. She has a passion for people, understanding and the social sciences. She splits her time with the Center between researching our operational and programatic trajectories and leading our Social Media efforts.

Tim Reilly, Learning Designer

Tim is an emerging leader in K-12 international education, and a member of the Ubuntu Center’s learning design team. Tim has worked and taught in villages located in Fiji and Tanzania. Most recently he worked with Tibetan refugees in northern India. He uses topics like peace and equality to create open-minded students who strive to become impactful, global citizens by taking action. From his current post in the British Virgin Islands, Tim is assisting in the design and testing of our products, services and curriculum.

Adrienne Gaboury

A creative problem-solver and tireless strategist, Adrienne generates ideas and turns them into action. Seeing beyond obstacles, she helps organizations define and achieve their goals, navigate risks, and capitalize on opportunities. Her insatiable curiosity about how people live has taken her to many corners of the globe, and most recently landed her on The Ubuntu Center’s doorstep. She is advising on strategy and communications, and is keeping the team on task to ensure this great idea becomes a reality.

Cristina Calcagno

Cristina's work as an educator is influenced by her years of experience living and traveling abroad.  Having taught in public, international, charter and independent schools in communities ranging from Detroit to São Paulo, Cristina deeply understands the impact of systems, culture and community on learning.  Her extensive travel experiences infuse her curriculum design with a global perspective. She specializes in creating inquiry-based, relevant, experiential curricula tailored to the interests and needs of the community.  Her travels continue to teach her that the most powerful learning begins with a willingness to step outside of one's own perspective. 

Kellin Patler

With a unique and varied set of skills, Kellin is able to formulate bonds with people of very different backgrounds quickly, with lasting purpose and real meaning. Described by friends and colleagues as a 'professional chameleon,' he can blend into any situation and suit the needs of the job, organization, or task with remarkable ease. His sociological imagination, love for travel, understanding of technology and real-world marketing chops make him just the right fit to tell our story and build our community.

Kevin Zittle

Kevin is a master of many trades and a brilliant mind to have in our fold. As a designer he has helped to create our entire digital and print presence. As a social entrepreneur in his own right, co-founder of GoVoluntr and 500 Startups alum, Kevin contributes an important for-profit voice and “start-up” perspective to the team.

Brooke Estin

As an undisputed Master of Communications, we are honored to be working with Brooke to help communicate the great work the Ubuntu Center is undertaking to an audience that values and wants to support it. Brooke has experience working with Kiva, TED, InSTEDD and the ImpactHub (among many others), and is helping us design our communications strategy and message for maximum impact.

Diane Wexler

Diane is contributing her expertise and over 30 years of experience as a fundraiser who has raised tens of millions of dollars for a variety of social and cultural non-profits. With a passion for social justice and working with visionary leaders we are proud to be working with her to create our fundraising strategy and make significant progress on our major gifts campaign.

Dennis Bartels, Advisor

Executive Director: Exploratorium

Advising On: Non-Profit Leadership, Experiential Museums, Education Policy

Jigar Mehta, Advisor

Director of Operations: Matter.
Co-Creator: 18 Days in Egypt
Co-Founder: Groupstream

Advising On: Social Entrepreneurship, Digital Storytelling, Journalism

David Evan Harris, Advisor

Social Change Agent: Institute for the Future
Executive Director: Global Lives Project

Advising On: Future Forecasting, Exhibit Design, Visual Storytelling.

Jennifer Devlin-Herbert, Advisor

Principal: EHDD Architecture
Fellow: American Institute of Architects

Advising On: Learning Space Design, Design

Jacquey Barber, Advisor

Director: The Learning Design Group at the Lawrence Hall of Science

Advising On: Curriculum and Learning Design.

Heather Radke, Advisor

Exhibition Coordinator, Hull House Museum

Advising On: Co-created exhibit development, Storytelling

Darlene Markovich, Advisor

Executive Director: The Dalai Lama Foundation
Project Director: The Missing Peace Project

Advising On: Exhibit Design, Education Design, Non-Profit Leadership, Fundraising

How can I help?

We believe that collaboration, co-creation and community engagement are key to our success. We are looking for funders, co-workers, evangelists and partners.

  • Donate
    The Ubuntu Center is a registered 501c3. If you are interested contributing to our campaign to start the project you can donate here.
  • Join the Team
    We are looking for a dedicated group of collaborators to help us build the Ubuntu Center. Check our listings for opportunities to join a passionate and dynamic team.
  • Evangelize
    Help us spread the word! Share this site with your friends, introduce us to your rich uncle, help us build an organization with impact. Check out our social sites below and join the conversation.