Newsletter Intro Cream
September 2009 Issue No. 1
Greetings!
 
Two Guys SmilingThe Magic of Caux
For more than sixty years the world has found hope in Caux. Lives have been changed, intractable conflicts resolved, and new visions born. This year individuals and teams from the US participated in summer conferences under the theme Trust and Integrity for a Sustainable World. It was a timely theme given the global financial meltdown, concern over widening economic disparities, climate change and the spread of extremist violence. 
 
This newsletter features the participation of Americans in the second Caux Forum on Human Security, stories of the summer's Caux Scholars Program, the Caux Intern Program, and the fourth Tools for Change conference - all of which were strongly supported by IofC USA. Read More.  
 
With this issue of Breakthroughs we are moving to an e-letter format. You will find shorter stories with links to fuller background pieces or stories on the website. Our goal is to offer more frequent news updates and to reduce our mailing costs. Those who do not have access to email can continue to receive hard copies by regular mail. We also encourage all of our readers to submit personal stories, relevant news or commentaries so we can stay in touch. You can also forward this email to your friends and encourage them to subscribe online.
 
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Young Americans                          Serving the World
Young AmericansThis summer the Caux Interns Program came together under a common vision "The Spirit of Caux in our Hearts, Heads and Hands."

Over the course of two months, nearly 70 young people from all over the world came together to help with the day-to-day chores of running a conference center in nine different departments as varied as Technical Support, Kitchen and Housekeeping. They also participated in conference sessions, leadership workshops and reflection times.

In total, six Americans were involved from various backgrounds including an IT professional, a psychology major and an NGO worker specializing in refugee affairs.

Logan Sandridge, an actress from DePaul University, wrote, "Being in Caux the past two summers (in 2008 as a Conference Assistant to Renewal Arts and this year as a Caux Intern) has consistently exceeded my expectations.  Each time I have visited I have found more love in myself and in the world. I am amazed by the generosity and hope I see there and I leave full of inspiration."

Many of the interns hope to return to Caux next year. Others plan to increase their involvement with Initiatives of Change when they return to their respective countries. All simply want to carry the Spirit of Caux with them down the mountain. Read More.
Turning Crisis Into Opportunity
CFHS09
The second annual Caux Forum for Human Security, held July 17-22, brought together 320 people from 49 countries to take a hard look at the daunting economic, environmental, governance and inter-cultural factors that create human insecurity.
 
Participant John Graham, president of the Giraffe Heroes Project, came from Seattle and said, "the key criterion for being there was not celebrity, but a personal history of creativity and courage in addressing public problems." 
 
Among other US participants were climate change experts, Caux Scholars, diplomats and ordinary citizens. Senator Charles Robb, a unifying force in Washington who came with his wife, Lynda, said that thought and reason are going to be far more productive than carrying a big stick. "We cannot continue to have the swagger that leaves us few friends and allies around the world."
 
Impressive delegations were present from three regions of particular concern to the United States: South Asia, the Middle East and Sudan. In each case, honest dialogues gave rise to greater trust and positive initiatives.
 
Those from the Middle East had come because of the strong conviction of one participant in the 2008 Caux Forum. They emerged from their private conversations with concrete ideas about how to build confidence between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Sudanese delegation, led by the Vice-President of South Sudan, included Jemma Kumba, the first woman Governor of a Sudanese State. Her sentiments upon leaving Caux were shared by many. "I leave Caux with a new thinking and new ideas. As a person who has been traumatised by conflict throughout my life, the level of my trauma has been reduced because I met a friend here who listened to my story." Read full story.
Caux Scholars Program 2009
CSP09Alongside conferences on Human Security, Sustainable Development and the Joint Venture for Middle East Peace, twenty students, from five continents participated in the 17th Caux Scholars Program an academic course on peacebuilding and conflict transformation.
 
Through the one-month course, they studied and worked in community service, discussed and practiced interactive exercises, and presented and analyzed their own conflicts.

CSP Academic Director Dr. Barry Hart, who teaches at Eastern Mennonite University, shared his work of trauma healing from many experiences in the Balkans and West Africa. The faculty, who have worked with him over the years, brought unique teaching styles, backgrounds and challenges to the class.
 
Among those participating in this year's program was Tameem al-Maliki from Iraq. She finally fulfilled the dream of her brother, who was killed in 2006 just before he was due to join the program. Amena Wardak from Afghanistan, lives in Washington state. She learned of CSP while working with Anila Daulatzai (who has been to Caux) on a health project in Afghanistan. 
 
Fourteen Caux Scholar alumni returned to participate in various ways in this summer's conferences.
 
In the 2009 evaluations of CSP, one Caux Scholar wrote that "quiet and reflection" were the most important things he had learned from this summer's program. The student captured two of the key values that make Caux a place that encourages inner change. Read More.
Tools for Change
T4C09
Three hundred and eighty people from 50 countries - mostly under the age of 40 - packed Caux for the fourth Tools for Change conference.  An international faculty from 13 countries taught courses on topics ranging from dialogue to team building and family renewal.
 
Participants wrestled with these questions: What does it take to build trust across divides of culture, ethnicity and politics? What tools do we need? Do our lives demonstrate the kind of change that we want to see in the world?
 
One American told of a difficult decision to apologize to a family member: "We don't ever want to see ourselves as the perpetrators of what we don't like in the world. But sometimes it takes a good friend or a long honest reflection to see where we really are and to be real with ourselves. And once we've seen it and faced up to it, to believe in the power of a small and simple movement in the right direction. And to know that one courageous step can change everything."
 
Hind Makki of Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago, which aims to build "a global movement of religious pluralism" among young people, led a course on Honest Conversation with Cricket White of Hope in the Cities, Richmond. Cricket told the conference: "Honest conversation starts with the decision to engage with someone or another group with whom one may disagree or be different from ... Honest conversation is being transparent about your group's responsibility for the current crisis or issue and sharing it with those on the 'other side'."

Anjum Ali, co-chair of Hope in the Cities, Richmond, spoke on "Identity: The Need to Belong." She described her "crisis of identity" as the daughter of Pakistani parents who was born in the US, grew up in Saudi Arabia and then returned to the US for college. "The one identity that no one could determine for me ... and which gave me a sense of control over who I was and to whom I belonged, was Islam. But, she asked, "Do we cling to our identities because there is a benign need to belong, or is it an act of resistance due to historical trauma and insecurity? For years it became quite comfortable for me to live within my shell of having only a Muslim identity. It was not until IofC's Connecting Community Fellowship Program that I regained my sense of identity as a human and that I shared it with all of humanity." Read More.
A New Narrative for Europe
A New Narrative
Ajmal Masroor, a British imam who directs Communities in Action which provides consultancy to media and government agencies on Muslim issues, has a vision to train one thousand young European Muslims as peacemakers in the next five years.
 
He attended a Tools for Change conference in 2007 which, he says, led to "a profound change in my thinking." As a result, 65 young Muslims came to Caux this year. Ajmal says young Muslims need support in understanding their own faith tradition and in how to become involved constructively in their communities. The group in Caux were students and young professionals who were born in Europe of African, Middle Eastern and Asian parents. Ajmal led the youth in four days of intensive training in the tradition of peacemaking in Islam, before the Tools for Change conference. Topics included violence and extremism, characteristics of peace agents, and loyalty and citizenship. A singing group of Indonesian Dutch added to the variety with a repertoire ranging from Muslim worship songs to Michael Jackson. 

The BBC carried a feature article on the presence of the young Muslims. The reporter interviewed Ajmal, who said: "Every one of them is very happy to be a European citizen - a citizen of their own country - but to remain a good and loyal Muslim." The BBC quoted Peter Riddell from the UK, a conference organizer: "We are faced with a need to redefine what it means to be European. In many ways you could say that European culture has defined itself in opposition to Islam. So now the challenge is, whether we are going to embrace a European culture which includes a substantial component of Muslims, or whether we are going to reject that."

At the conclusion of the conference, many young Muslims spoke of being challenged by new ideas and of their determination to take the spirit of Caux with them. "I have spent the last days completely out of my comfort zone," said one. "I hope that I can have quiet times every day!" Leadership groups are forming in various countries to coordinate future activities. 
Hope you enjoyed this issue of Breakthroughs Online. Please share this newsletter with your friends and forward it to those you know have a passion for our work. Visit our website for more information.
 
Thank you for listening to our story!
In This Issue
Young Americans Serving the World
Turning Crisis Into Opportunity
Caux Scholars Program
Tools for Change Conference
A New Narrative for Europe
Supporting IofC
 
Initiatives of Change is constantly producing materials and programs that help bridge divides in our communities. We need your help to continue building trust in our world. Did you know that 70% of our income comes from individuals just like you?
 
Before 2009 is over we need to raise $50,000.
 
Your gifts support the Caux Scholars Program, Hope in the Cities, training
programs, community dialogues and facilitation, and the many other outreach efforts you read about in this newsletter. If you would like to support us financially, please click on the link below and please continue to pray for our work.
 
Make a Donation
Hope in the Cities
 
Hope in the Cities in Richmond, VA, is finding new ways to connect with community members. You can now follow HIC on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.
 
Hope in the Cities is kicking off its Fall programs this October. For more information click on the program.
 
Dialogues for Change: October 16-17
 
NEW BOOK!

Two Guys Smiling

CAUX BOOKS
announces publication of
An American in the Middle East
by Harry J. Almond
 
This is a story that spans a half-century of tumultuous relationships between America and the Middle East as seen through the eyes of an American who had extraordinary opportunities to meet a wide range of personalities in the Arab and Muslim world.
 
List Price: $12.75 + $3.00 shipping and handling.
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