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On Life and Meaning

Dec 6, 2018

Stephanie Ansaldo is founder and president of The Echo Foundation, an education foundation for humanity and peace. The Echo Foundation invites world-renowned humanitarians to deliver messages that inspire citizens to action on behalf of humankind. Stephanie previously served as a family therapist at Charlotte Latin School and led her own private practice in family therapy. She is a recipient of several honors and awards, including the Mayor’s International Cabinet Richard Vinroot Achievement Award, the inaugural UNC Charlotte Bob Barrett Social Justice Award and the State of North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine. She earned a bachelor’s degree in child development from Virginia Tech University and master’s degree in clinical counseling from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in humanitarian service, inspiring students to make a difference, bearing witness against inhumanity, and what one person can do. 


  • Stephanie describes The Echo Foundation and its mission.
  • She notes some of the humanitarians and laureates The Echo Foundation has hosted.
  • She reflects on the impact of encounters with humanitarians and laureates.
  • She discusses the experiential learning of the ‘In the Footsteps’ program.
  • Stephanie talks about Elie Wiesel and his importance to The Echo Foundation.
  • She tells how a challenge led to the founding of The Echo Foundation.
  • She identifies the sentiment at the heart of The Echo Foundation.
  • She explains the role Elie Wiesel played in The Echo Foundation over nearly 20 years.
  • Stephanie shares how she learned about Elie Wiesel’s death and how his death affects her and the future of The Echo Foundation.
  • She discusses how she managed controversy over the presentation of former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power to The Echo Foundation.
  • She addresses where The Echo Foundation is going as it scans the world today.
  • She considers the work of historian Yuval Noah Harari and the two most important things that we can teach students today.
  • Stephanie talks about how does The Echo Foundation fit into a new emerging landscape.
  • She tells the story of how her father and mother met in Dachau after World War II.
  • She shares how she was raised religiously and the values she learned as a child.
  • She remembers her time in college and changing her major to child psychology.
  • Stephanie recalls her work as a family therapist at Charlotte Latin School.
  • She answers how she bears the witness of crimes against humanity.
  • She shares her three favorite quotes that guide her.
  • Stephanie reflects on what can one person do.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Dreamers and Rebels

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning