Thursday 17 December 2009

Interacting with Anthony Manouso - with "The Compassionate Listening Project"

On Monday evening, earlier this week, Carole Anne and I, along with a whole room full of people gathered at Irene's Place in Canberra, listened to and interacted with Anthony Manouso. He is a Quaker man from the United States who had just finished attending the Parliament of the World's Religions - an international gathering held every 5 years, this time in Melbourne Australia.

Anthony shared about a few of his impressions and experiences at the PWR, then showed a video and lead us in some practical exercises, since he is an advanced trainer in The Compassionate Listening Project.

It was an excellent experience and offered me some insight into the history of TCLP and the practical application of those principles in transforming communication and relationships in conflictual situations - particularly inplaces like Palestine/Israel where it really got started - but also in other "hotspots" around the world.

The concept of Compassionate Listening was originated by Gene Knudsen Hoffman, and international peacemaker, founder of the US/USSR Reconciliation program for the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and student of Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. The concepts were further developed by Leah Green, Carol Hwoschinsky, and a group of dedicated individuals who are now facilitators of the work.

Gene: "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 process in itself.

As the website says:
The Compassionate Listening Project teaches powerful skills for peacemaking in our families, communities, on the job, and in social change work locally and globally. Our curriculum for Compassionate Listening grew out of our many years of reconciliation work on the ground in Israel and Palestine. We adapted our trainings and began to teach in theU.S. in 1999. We now offer trainings and workshops worldwide for everyday peace-building, as well as an Advanced Training and Facilitator Certification program."

Here is a good demonstration of Compassionate Listening principles incorporated into school curriculum

Compassionate listening is also one of the strategies deployed in the
Alternatives to Violence Project. I have taken in one AVP Basic Training weekend in 2009 in Sydney, and hope to take their advance weekend training unit in 2010.

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