Willy Oppenheim is an educator, a researcher, and the leader of a social enterprise that works to facilitate relationships, dialogue, and learning between change agents around the world.
Willy came up with the initial idea for Omprakash at the age of eighteen, after serving as a volunteer English teacher in northern India in 2004. The organization began as a platform connecting volunteers with social impact organizations, and has evolved to include a crowdfunding platform and an online learning ecosystem (Omprakash EdGE) that helps students grapple with the complexity of crossing differences of culture and power with the intention of ‘doing good.’
Willy attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he completed a self-designed major in religion, education, and anthropology, and went on to earn his doctorate in Education as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. His Ph.D. research focused on demand for girls’ schooling in rural Pakistan. His broader research interests concern the ways in which ideas and norms pertaining to justice and ‘development’ are produced and contested through formal and informal processes of education. Willy has worked in classrooms in the United States, India, Pakistan, and China, and in the wilderness as a faculty member at the National Outdoor Leadership School. He lives in Seattle and teaches intermittently at the University of Washington alongside his ongoing leadership of Omprakash.
Willy strives to live by Kahlil Gibran’s maxim that ‘work is love made visible,’ but when he is not working, Willy also enjoys rock climbing, telemark skiing, poetry, flyfishing, playing guitar, and baking bread.