Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD: Biography

Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD (1934 - 2015) was the creator of Nonviolent Communication (also known as Compassionate Communication or NVC) training and founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication. He was best known for his work in conflict resolution. Another major component of his work was in education reform, helping schools and teachers create more “life-enriching” environments through learning and teaching Compassionate Communication.

Rosenberg founded the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) in the early 1960s and taught NVC in the United States and 60+ countries around the world for more than four decades. Read expressions of appreciation from several CNVC Certified Trainers. Dr. Rosenberg passed peacefully at home, with his wife Valentina and all his children by his side on February 7th, 2015.

The NVC Academy was founded in 2006, in cooperation with the Center for Nonviolent Communication, to support Marshall’s mission and promote NVC training worldwide.

Watch this vintage video from 1993, as Dr. Rosenberg works with two participants to heal interpersonal relationship issues.


Biographical Facts

Born: October 6, 1934, Canton, Ohio, United States
Died: February 7, 2015
Education: PhD in Clinical Psychology, 1961, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Occupation: Psychologist, Author
Organization: The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, http://www.cnvc.org
Affiliation with the NVC Academy:  NVC Academy employs CNVC Certified Trainers of NVC and shares marketing and organizational resources with CNVC to support the spread of NVC training worldwide.

Marshall Rosenberg’s Mission and Life Work


Marshall's vision was to create a world where individuals, groups and organizations can collaborate peacefully to enable social change through compassionate, nonviolent communication.

He created Nonviolent Communication based on his experiences with teaching mediation and communication skills while working with civil rights activists in the 60s. His mission then was to help desegregate schools and other public institutions. He worked with educators, mental health professionals, public servants, prison officials and inmates, public figures, military and police officers.

Marshall served hundreds of organizations, groups, businesses, non-profits, governments, individuals and educational institutions over the years, offering Nonviolent Communication training to promote reconciliation and peaceful resolution of differences. The Center for Nonviolent Communication continues to promote and support NVC training throughout the world. Dr. Rosenberg has provided Nonviolent Communication training in 60 countries including countries involved in violent struggles such as Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Croatia and Israel.

What is Nonviolent Communication?

Rosenberg said there are only two questions we ever need to know the answer to:

  1. What is alive in you?
  2. What would make life more wonderful?

Nonviolent Communication is a structured process that is based on discovering and empathizing with one another’s feelings, needs and requests. Once we understand another’s needs, we know what is alive in them. Needs are universal which means every human has the same needs, although some may be more important at certain times than others. Understanding needs helps us understand each other because these universal needs drive all human behavior.

Needs are the energy of life – the fundamental motivation for all behaviors.
Behind every action, there is a hunger to meet needs.

—Marshall Rosenberg

Marshall Rosenberg Awards

  • 2014 "Champion of Forgiveness" Award from the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance
  • 2006: Bridge of Peace Nonviolence Award
  • 2005: Light of God Expressing in Society Award
  • 2004: Religious Science International Golden Works Award
  • 2004: International Peace Prayer Day Man of Peace Award
  • 2000: International Listening Association Listener of the Year Award

Marshall Rosenberg Bibliography

  1. (2012) Living Nonviolent Communication: Practical Tools to Connect and Communicate Skillfully in Every Situation
  2. (2005) Being Me, Loving You: A Practical Guide to Extraordinary Relationships
  3. (2005) Practical Spirituality: The Spiritual Basis of Nonviolent Communication
  4. (2005) Speak Peace in a World of Conflict: What You Say Next Will Change Your World
  5. (2005) The Surprising Purpose of Anger: Beyond Anger Management: Finding the Gift
  6. (2004) Getting Past the Pain Between Us: Healing and Reconciliation Without Compromise
  7. (2004) The Heart of Social Change: How to Make a Difference in Your World
  8. (2004) Raising Children Compassionately: Parenting the Nonviolent Communication Way
  9. (2004) Teaching Children Compassionately: How Students and Teachers Can Succeed with Mutual Understanding
  10. (2004) We Can Work It Out: Resolving Conflicts Peacefully and Powerfully
  11. (2003) Life-Enriching Education: NVC Helps Schools Improve Performance, Reduce Conflict and Enhance Relationships
  12. (2003) Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
  13. (1986) Duck Tales and Jackal Taming Hints. Booklet
  14. (1973) Mutual Education: Toward Autonomy and Interdependence
  15. (1968) Diagnostic Teaching Special Child Publications