Ms. Roula Azar-Douglas is one of Bambi’s sisters living in Beirut, Lebanon. She is a journalist, editor, and author (in addition to being a PhD candidate and a mom).
Azar-Douglas’ article was published this morning in the Campus section of the L’Orient Le Jour (a francophone Lebanese daily). It is entitled “Apprendre aux jeunes à mieux communiquer”, which literally means “Let’s teach our youth how to better communicate”.
In each of her articles, Ms. Azar-Douglas highlights the inspiring work of students or researchers from across Lebanese university campuses and sometimes beyond.
Today, her article is about the work of Dr. Rita Ayoub, from the Université Saint-Joseph (USJ) who is promoting non-violent communication (NVC model or CNV in French), as a simple, practical yet non-magical way to counter broken communication and hate on social media and on the streets of Lebanon.
First, what is CNV or non-violent communication? This method or rather communication process was developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, since the early 60s.
Dr. Rosenberg, who died in 2005, was an American clinical psychologist, a mediator, teacher, and author. His method supports partnerships and resolving conflicts among people, both in relationships and in society at large.
One of Rosenberg’s famous quotes goes as follows:
“Everything we do is in service of our needs. When this one concept is applied to our view of others, we’ll see that we have no real enemies, that what others do to us is the best possible thing they know to do to get their needs met.”
To come back to the Lebanese Dr. Ayoub, she is trained in Rosenberg’ non-violent communication and acts as the Coordinator of a Training Program in Islamo-Christian dialogue at the Institute of Islamo-Christian Studies of the USJ. Recently, she has offered demonstrators free sessions of 90-minute-training workshops in downtown Beirut.
With Rosenberg’s nonviolent communication, youth can learn to identify their own moral judgments against others in a specific moment.
With the use of words, the underlying idea is to allow them to move from their moral judgments into an expression of their own needs.
Together, they try to identify each person’s feelings when they are judging (e.g., someone may not accept that another person may have a different opinion or may not wish to participate in a demonstration or may judge those who are demonstrating, etc.).
Of course, this process cannot help counter ferocious regional violent forces blowing on tiny Lebanon. However, it can perhaps help plant small seeds of peace in people’s minds, here and there, to keep communication channels open.
Who knows? This may in turn perhaps serve peace in the region in the bigger scheme of things.
This is crucial for a nation that is sick and tired of violence in the Middle East.
A country that simply wants to live in dignity and keep collective hope alive.
All this whilst courageously standing on top of a mountain facing a deep valley made up of the ghosts of civil and regional wars.
May respect and love prevail, despite the increased polarization in Lebanon.
Thank you Roula for your informative article:
Thanks Dr. Ayoub for promoting peace and life… instead of the culture of martyrdom.