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Compassionate Listening Project

The Compassionate Listening Project is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals to heal polarization and build bridges between people, communities, and nations in conflict. The Compassionate Listening Project teaches powerful skills for peacemaking in families, communities, on the job, and in social change work locally and globally. Their curriculum grew out of our many years of reconciliation work on the ground in Israel and Palestine. They adapted their trainings and began to teach in the U.S. in 1999, and now offer trainings and workshops worldwide for everyday peace-building.

About the Compassionate Listening Method

Compassionate Listening was originated by Gene Knudsen Hoffman, International Peacemaker and founder of the US/USSR Reconciliation program of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and developed by Leah Green and Carol Hwoschinsky. Gene writes, "Some time ago I recognized that terrorists were people who had grievances, who thought their grievances would never be heard, and certainly never addressed. Later I saw that all parties to every conflict were wounded, and at the heart of every act of violence is an unhealed wound." In her role as a counselor, Gene recognized that non-judgmental listening was a great healing.

As Gene originally conceived it, Compassionate Listening requires questions which are non-adversarial and listening which is non-judgmental. Listeners seek the truth of the person questioned, seeing through 'masks of hostility and fear to the sacredness of the individual.' Listeners seek to humanize the 'other'. Listeners accept what others say as their perceptions, and validate the right to their own perceptions. Compassionate Listening can cut through barriers of defense and mistrust, enabling both those listened to and those listening to hear what they think, to change their opinions, and to make more informed decisions. Through this process, fear can be reduced, and participants will be better equipped to discern how to proceed with effective action. The Compassionate Listening Project went on to develop a teaching curricula that includes "Speaking from the Heart," and a framework that holds listening as the precursor to dialogue and reconciliation.

Resource Link: www.compassionatelistening.org



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