About Communication Skills Learning, Training, Sharing


Welcome the Blog of the New Conversations Initiative (which we might also have called “Curriculum Development For A More Cooperative World”).  We are making a new start here, and carrying forward the work of the Journal of Cooperative Communication Skills at our previous web site. The blog format suits our intentions better, because Gene Knudsen Hoffman and I (Dennis Rivers) have always written for the general public rather than for a specialized, Communications Studies only, audience. Gene passed away in 2010, after a lifetime of inspired work on the theme of compassionate listening. This blog will provide a venue for publishing some of her timeless articles, as well as articles of mine and new contributions from participants around the world.

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Introduction (excerpt from The Stanford Daily, February 4, 2002 )

New studies look at forgiveness  —  by Gohar Galyan

To earn his doctorate in counseling and health psychology from Stanford in 1997, Fred Luskin had to write a dissertation. At the time, Luskin was furious with a friend. To complete his graduation requirement and to cope with the pain, Luskin researched and wrote about forgiveness.

“I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t forgive,” he said. “I was badly hurt by a friend of mine and it threw my world upside down.”

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Book Review by Gene Knudsen Hoffman  —  Summer 2002


There is a way the world can change from war to peace, from hatred to love. It requires a lot of effort, a lot of understanding, and it begins at home.

For centuries we’ve been told to practice it, that it’s healing for ourselves and the other, that it’s a way to manifest love and courage. It brings peace to the participants. It is a brave and noble thing to do, and — it can be very costly, costly to pride, to arrogance, to fear, to hate.

Michael Henderson has written the definitive book on it and it’s called: Forgiveness. Of it Desmond Tutu wrote, “A deeply moving and eloquent testimony to the power of forgiveness in the life of individuals, of communities, and between and within nations. It effects change — a powerful book.”

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