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Cinta Depondt

Peacebuilding, Conflict Transformation and Dialogue, with a focus on Eastern Europe
Speaks English, Dutch, French, Georgian, German, Russian, Ukrainian
Certified Trainer since 2022

My work over the past twenty-something years has been centred around conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and dialogue processes, mostly in conflict-affected areas in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Through this work, many Nonviolent Communication concepts came to me before I learned to name them as such.

Looking back, I wish I had known more about emotions and how they are stored in our bodies, about the depth and power of universal human needs, when facilitating difficult dialogues between people from both sides of e.g. the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict, including ex-combatants, and wives and mothers of those that were killed in the fighting. Yet still these conversations brought about more mutual understanding and formed small steps in a healing process.

In 2014, the first year of Russia’s (then still limited) invasion of Ukraine, a colleague mentioned to me Marshall Rosenberg’s principles of empathic listening, precisely as we were listening to the personal stories and different views of citizens of the now almost fully destroyed city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

I started actively learning and sharing NVC, mainly in Ukraine, where together with Carl Plesner and Olena Hantsyak we set up the Peace Engineer School, an intensive training and practice project that (with the help of many other certified trainers!) brought NVC and conflict resolution skills to Ukrainians, enabling them to act as insider-mediators.

I continue to work as a project lead for the Eastern Europe and Eurasia region at PAX, the largest peacebuilding organization in the Netherlands. My work brings me into contact with politicians and civil servants, church leaders and chaplains, soldiers and police, researchers, journalists, NGO’s, activists, volunteers, engaged youth and other groups of people working towards goals related to the ‘common good’: people that deal with conflict of all different types and forms and its consequences. I am grateful for the ways NVC enables me to set up and accompany sensitive processes around painful topics related to war and violence with more care, skill and depth.

2023 was a year of great loss for me personally, in which I have been especially grateful for being part of the NVC community and for having integrated how NVC can help us on a personal level by staying connected with ourselves, with our deepest feelings and needs, in deeply troubling times. The sudden death of my two sons and their father threw me into connecting on an even deeper level with the human experiences of pain, loss, grief, and mourning.

It also confronted me with the extent to which Western, individualised societies have become uncomfortable with loss, hurt, conflict and ‘difficult’ emotions, and have lost communal rituals for mourning and healing.

More than before, I am aware of where my contribution lies: to embrace all the aspects of what it means to be human with care, compassion and clarity; enabling people living with loss and conflict to engage the full complexity of our life as humans in an interconnected world full of contradictions.

Topics and questions I am exploring and working with include:

  • Deeply connecting with the parts in our lives that are uncomfortable, upsetting or otherwise disturbing: pain, grief, anger, hatred, shame, and trauma.
  • Overcoming old pain, both on an individual and collective level; connecting NVC to mental health practices (in healthcare, social and church structures) and the creation of collective memory.
  • Working with conflict, small or large, open or latent; bringing it out into the open, finding what important motives drive all those involved, helping to bring clarity and accompanying transformation.
  • Bringing more NVC into peacebuilding (e.g. by integrating NVC-principles into project management), and keep the peacebuilding in NVC, i.e.: carrying NVC beyond the level of an individual practice of learning to meet our needs in cooperation with others. The social change component remains essential: transforming structures so that they become more life-serving for all beings on our beautiful planet.
  • Supporting the Ukrainian NVC community to grow and develop, and exploring how to ‘translate’ NVC to the more collective-based societies of the (South) Caucasus.


My first education was as a philologist. Learning languages has remained an area of interest to me and I love how they open up new horizons and give access to new ways of seeing the world. Mindful of the Communication component of NVC, I love being conscious about words and searching for those that most precisely transmit our lived experiences.

Though not mastering them all in perfection, I do teach and train in all the languages listed in my profile.

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  • Conflict Resolution
  • Diversity
  • Facilitation
  • General
  • Social Change

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