Who’s listening? Tackling hard issues with empathy


Anti-Vietnamese sentiment is a term often used by academics and the media in the Cambodian context. Commonly associated with electoral politics or communal violence cases, anti-Vietnamese sentiment is more than a sociological phenomenon. It is part of a larger dynamic that can enter the hearts and minds of everyday people.

In early 2017, a team of dedicated peacebuilders travelled to communities throughout Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh, to hear real views and opinions. Participating Khmer and ethnic Vietnamese residents shared in detail how they perceived each other, including the good, the bad, and the potential for stronger connections.

The findings reveal that not all is negative as the media often portrays. Communities across the city with large Khmer and ethnic Vietnamese populations show kinship and cooperation. Voices from a broad range of community members paints complex picture. Found along with challenges, are examples of community bonds between different ethnic groups. At the same time, difficult conversations allows each group to express their own particular concerns and worries.

An experimental pilot for Facilitative Listening Design –an evolving peace research . methodology and intervention– Who’s Listening? Tackling hard issues with empathy showcases how the simple act of listening to others with empathy can produce a wide array of results. Success does not simply end with new findings. A documented account of deep transformation among the research team and the people they spoke with demonstrates the potential of this innovative approach.

For those striving to transform conflict or anyone wishing to better understand others and proactively promote peace, Facilitative Listening Design can be the Starting point.

Begin the journey by listening to the “other”.

Click here to read Who’s Listening? Tackling hard issues with empathy

Who’s Listening? Tackling hard issues with empathy (October 2017)
Author: Suyheang Kry and Raymond Hyma
Editors: Melissa Martin and Karen Simbulan
© 2017 Women Peace Makers.
This edition has been published with the generous support of GIZ Civil Peace Service.
ISBN: 978-9-92-491990-2

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