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La Leche League International
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Language of the Heart to Be Spoken at LLLI Conference

by Mary Hurt
LLLI Public Relations Associate
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 38 No. 3, June-July 2002 p. 69.

A La Leche League International Conference is a lot like a reunion of the world breastfeeding family. Unlike most families we bring a diversity of languages and cultures to the family hearth, we bring a diversity of approaches to building a world where breastfeeding is the norm. Leaders, peer counselors, lactation consultants, other health care professionals, breastfeeding activists, and parents from around the globe come to the LLLI gathering to learn, to laugh, to celebrate, and to share their varying perspectives. No matter what our language of origin, no matter how we approach achieving our goals, we speak the common language of breastfeeding.

Like a family that relies on the unique contributions of each member, we are stronger because of our individual parts, and like a family, more successful communication will increase our effectiveness.

At this Conference we will grow in our ability to speak what has been described as “the language of the heart.” Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD, will be the opening night speaker at LLLI’s 18th International Conference: Strength through Diversity, Creating One Breastfeeding World, July 3-6, 2003 in San Francisco, California, USA. Dr. Rosenberg is the founder and director of educational services for the Center for Nonviolent Communication, an international, nonprofit organization with the goal of helping people compassionately connect to themselves and one another using language as one of the tools. A clinical psychologist and sought-after speaker in countries around the world, in 2002 Dr. Rosenberg will be speaking in countries as diverse as Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Pakistan, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Canada. He is the author of several articles, pamphlets, and books including Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion, A Model for Nonviolent Communication, and Raising Children Compassionately: Parenting the Nonviolent Way.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Rosenberg has worked with educators, health care providers, diplomats, individual families, and scores of others trying to promote reconciliation and peaceful resolution of differences. He is also active in war-torn areas and economically disadvantaged countries. Dr. Rosenberg has trained countless individuals to provide the language of compassion to individuals who train others in their own communities and in their own languages.

Dr. Rosenberg states in his book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion:

While studying the factors that affect our ability to stay compassionate, I was struck by the crucial role of language and our use of words. I have since identified a specific approach to communicating—speaking and listening—that leads us to give from the heart, connecting us with ourselves and with each other in a way that allows our natural compassion to flourish. I call this approach “Nonviolent Communication,” using the term nonviolence as Gandhi used it—to refer to our natural state of compassion when violence has subsided from the heart. While we may not consider the way we talk to be “violent,” our words often lead to hurt and pain, whether for ourselves or others.

Dr. Rosenberg is joining us from his home in Hungary to share his message:“What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.”
Start planning to attend the breastfeeding family reunion in San Francisco, California, USA. There is still plenty of time to plan fundraising events so that at least one Leader or Leader Applicant from every Group can attend. Some Groups are “Walking to the Conference,” i.e., using Group profits from the World Walk for Breastfeeding; others are planning events from garage sales to baby photo contests. Picture yourself in the breastfeeding family album and begin planning to attend today.

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