Self-understanding at the heart of Non-Violence Communication workshop

Addressing Europe’s Unfinished Business 2018

AEUB 2018


‘We help people to find understanding, when they want to find understanding but don’t succeed.’ With this simple explanation, co-facilitator Angela Starovoitova captures the core objective of Non-Violent Communication (NVC) as a dialogue approach, at the opening of a four-day training track during Addressing Europe’s Unfinished Business. She immediately manages expectations: ‘Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.’ Co-facilitator Olena Kashkarova adds: ‘It is about hearing the real message behind words.’

During the track, participants from Georgia, Crimea, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Belarus and Russia mastered the basics of the NVC model. The track focused on experiential learning, combining individual exercises and group practice. The track was one of the nine training tracks offered during the conference, through which participants could deepen their knowledge of different practical tools for social change and cohesion.

‘The exercises are practical tools for me that I can use directly in my work as a dialogue facilitator,´ says Misha Aslikian from Georgia after the four days with Angela Starovoitova and Olena Kashkarova. ´In post-Soviet countries the gap between the government and citizens is big. This method of Non-Violent Communication gives me a structure to facilitate conversation.’

One of the key elements of NVC is the concept of needs. We all have needs we wish to see fulfilled, say the need for appreciation or intimacy. To fulfil the need, we use a certain strategy. In the case of intimacy, the strategy might be to look for a partner. In the case of appreciation, the strategy might be the work we do. The danger is that we mistake the strategy for the need. So, in the examples above, finding a partner, or doing a certain job, becomes the primary objective.
‘If the need and the strategy melt together, the potential for conflict is very big,’ says Olena Kashkarova. On the other hand, if we learn to distinguish between them, and learn to discover the needs that underlie certain feelings and conflicts, it opens up a whole world of options. ‘If you know your need, there might be a hundred ways to fulfil this need. So you can fulfil it even if this one strategy fails. It is about exploring freedom and creativity.’

Participant Yana Sieraia from Ukraine experienced how this understanding can help resolve conflicts. ‘With this method I learned to understand my feelings and needs, before I say something to the other person. I have already applied it in a family situation. My son and mother had a fight. I spoke with both of them on the phone and rephrased their words in terms of feelings and needs. Later they phoned me that there was no problem any more. It is a small situation, but I want to apply it first in my family life. If you understand yourself better, it is also easier to communicate with others.’


Featured Story

related stories

Patrick Magee 600x600

‘Where Grieving Begins – Building Bridges after the Brighton Bomb’: a live interview with Patrick Magee

The second in Tools for Changemakers’ series of Stories for Changemakers took place on 25 August 2021, with an interview with Patrick Magee, who planted a bomb at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, in 1984, w...

Summer Academy 2021 screenshot square

Forging a network of problem-solvers to build a secure and sustainable future

The Summer Academy on Climate, Land and Security 2021 brought together 29 participants from 20 countries. From Egypt and Senegal to the United States and Thailand, zoom windows opened for six hours ev...

Salima Mahamoudou 21 July 2021 FDFA workshop CDES 2021

Remaking a world in peril

The Caux Dialogue on Environment and Security (CDES) 2021 ran online from 20 July until 30 July, for the second consecutive year, comprising three open plenaries and seven workshops. This year’s discu...

CL 2021 Hope square

A Journey from Uncertainty to Possibility

2021’s Creative Leadership conference took participants on a six-day journey ‘From Uncertainty to Possibility’. Between 25 to 31 July around 150 online participants living in over 50 countries engaged...

FDFA Baobabcowherd-1 Noah Elhardt through WikiCommons square with logos

A pathway to peace and prosperity in West and Central Africa

In the context of their partnership, Initiatives of Change Switzerland (IofC) and the Peace and Human Rights division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs organised a webinar on the them...

LPM report 2021 square

Peacemakers in the making

‘I am super happy to have been part of the Learning to be a Peacemaker course – we learned the true colours of Islam!’ wrote 18-year-old high-school graduate Nma Dahir, from Erbil, capital of the Kurd...

Choir Musical Stories

Musical Stories from Caux

‘What a magnificent presentation of stories and music’, commented one of the participants of the only in-person, by invitation, event of this year's Caux Forum Online which took place on 1 August 2021...

ICBE 2021 square white background

Sustainable businesses needs purpose beyond profit

Corporations and industries need a purpose beyond profit, says Sunil Mathur, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Siemens in India and South Asia. ‘Companies’ purposes are critical,’ he explai...

Stephanie Buri and Nick Foster Opening Ceremony Caux Forum 2021

Opening Ceremony of the Caux Forum Online 2021: Swiss perspectives on peace

The Caux Forum Online 2021 opened on 5 July with a panel on ‘Swiss Perspectives on Peace – past, present and future’ to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Caux Conference and Seminar Centre as the ...

Dhanasree Jayaram CDES 2020

A closer look at links between environment and security

Food security is a key to understanding the complex connection between climate and security, Dhanasree Jayaram, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations Manipal...

Shrouk Gamal

'A better version of myself'

'The conference showed me how much I really love to socialize with people. The members of our dialogue group asked me questions I never been asked before. This made me think about lots of things, in n...

ZimbaWomen credit: ZimbaWomen

Empowering women to enter the market

The Co-founder of Zimba Women, Peace Kuteesa, is passionate about providing women with the tools and resources to participate in their economies and develop their communities. She spoke at last year's...

Hani Abou Fadel

'Humans are made of stories'

'This extraordinary conference has changed me to be more ambitious, intellectually honest and more consistent', said Hani Abou Fadel from Lebanon after his participation at last year's Creative Leader...

Harmen van Dijk

How to pursue personal development: 'Just start somewhere!'

Why would a diplomat throw in his career and give up a prestigious job to do something completely different? Find out what made Harmen van Dijk leave the Dutch diplomatic service to pursue a new dream...

CDES 2020 IofC Bards meditation bowl square

The art of making a difference to the climate crisis

‘Artists are uniquely positioned to face what is happening to the climate, to reimagine the world and create a new narrative,’ says Sveinung Nygaard (Sven), a Norwegian composer and musician. He was i...