Newsletter Intro Cream
December 2009 Issue No. 2
We hope you are enjoying the holiday season surrounded by those you love. The IofC family is also growing and shifting and we want to share those changes with you. Please meet our new board members!

Anjum AliAnjum Ashraf Ali was born in the United States and is of Pakistani heritage. She spent her childhood in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where she still often visits to see her family. Anjum continued her studies in Boston, Massachusetts, where she obtained her BA in International Relations and French Cultural Studies at Wellesley College. She then went to McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada where she earned her MA in Islamic Studies, concentrating on Islamic Law and the rights of women and children within it. Her Master's thesis was on Child Marriage in Islamic Law. Anjum has worked as an Islamic legal advisor for a Virginia-based law firm where she helped found the Advocacy Center for Muslim Women. She recently obtained her Post Baccalaureate certificate in Paralegal Studies. Anjum serves as co-chair of the Board of Directors of Hope in the Cities. She was on the Tools for Change faculty in Caux, Switzerland in 2008 and 2009.
Karen GreisdorfKaren Elliott Greisdorf
is a photographer, writer and producer living in the Washington, DC, area with her husband, Steven, and their two daughters. Karen is passionate about using a variety of media to tell stories of individual and community-based change so that others are inspired and encouraged to take action. Her coverage has taken her through several U.S. cities and overseas, most recently to South Africa. For more than 20 years, Karen has provided strategic communications support to Initiatives of Change through the Caux Scholars Program and Hope in the Cities. She has also represented IofC-US at two international consultations.
Patrick McNamaraPatrick McNamara is the director of Philanthropic Services at the Omaha Community Foundation. Patrick joined the Omaha Community Foundation in November 2005. Originally from Portland, OR, he spent 13 years consulting in the areas of strategic planning, conflict resolution and program development. He served as Coordinator of the Omaha Hate Crimes Project, a partnership between community groups and law enforcement, originally funded by the U.S. Department of Justice. Patrick earned his Ph.D. at the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His dissertation research, funded by a fellowship from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, focused on public, private and nonprofit collaboration. He earned an M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University and a B.A. in Religion from Swarthmore College.
We know that these board members will provide fresh thinking and spiritual insight to our work for the future. Please remember that you can help the IofC family grow by sending this newsletter to your friends! 

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Metropolitan Richmond Day
By Cricket White 
2009 MRD"What's the story you tell about Richmond when someone asks you why you live there?" 

"I usually tell them about the time . . ." 

At 7:30 am, November 12, 2009, on a very rainy Thursday morning, the 13th annual Metropolitan Richmond Day breakfast began. The weather did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the diverse crowd.

Richmond area residents have heard many case studies, ideas and successes from other localities across the United States. Consultants have advised the region on process, policy and procedures. Hope in the Cities decided NOT to bring in an outside keynote speaker this year, but to offer a new process. The more than 300 attendees would be the speakers. By sharing a personal story about an issue of importance to him or her, each person might begin to gain a new perspective about change in the region by examining the narratives that others tell. What do we say about Richmond and how do we say it? How can we enlarge our narratives to include the experiences of others? How do we begin the very challenging business of forming authentic trusting relationships with those with whom we disagree?

"I learned so much-first from the information presented from the podium, but especially from the people at my table. It was one of the most moving conversations I've ever had!"
Using individual response keypads, participants responded to various questions that stimulated great conversations.

Get Polling Report

Hope in the Cities in New Orleans 
By Rob Corcoran 
New Orleans StoryDon Cowles represented Hope in the Cities at a forum sponsored by WYES public television station in New Orleans, November 17. WYES serves as coordinator of The One Community Initiative, a local media project concerning race relations and diversity in New Orleans.
Dr. Robert Sims of the University of New Orleans Survey Research Center presented the results of the latest racial attitudes survey. Don Cowles partnered with Carolyne M. Abdullah, the program director of Everyday Democracy, in a panel discussion. Don shared the Richmond experience of honest conversation and racial reconciliation, and highlighted Hope in the Cities' work to promote Healthy, Integrated Public schools (HIP Schools). He also utilized audience response keypads to encourage full participation (see polling data).
The panel discussion was moderated by Cathy Harris, a local business owner and diversity trainer. Kim Boyle, president of the LA State Bar Association, gave the keynote speech. The forum was attended by elected officials, business and non-profit leaders.
Identity: The Need to Belong
By Anjum Ali 
Anjum Ali and FamilyBy nature, humans are social creatures with an innate need to belong. At what point did I as a human feel that I had a particular set identity? Did I choose it or was it imposed? Why did I hold onto it? How did it benefit me? And more importantly, was the identity I clung to innocent, or had I fallen into the trap-as so many of us have-of unassumingly donning a politicized identity that others had created?
I spent much of my life in an "identity crisis." I was born in the United States; my father was a Pakistani doctor, my mother was a nurse. We moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia when I was small.
Although I called Saudi Arabia home, the Saudis themselves regarded me as an alien. As I grew older I discovered how imperfect the country I called home was in its treatment of women and in its prejudices.
My parents ensured my sister and I had a good Islamic education and upbringing. They were proud of us when we covered our hair to go to the Saudi Arabian International School in Riyadh. But ironically, although I lived in a country where covering head to toe was the law for women, within the confines of an American-run institution I was mocked and humiliated for being different. I went back to the U.S. for boarding school and was stuck with the label of "foreign student" for the next eight years.
The one identity that I had complete liberty to choose was that of my faith. . . .
In my recent self-searching, it occurred to me that when I had put the hijab on, I had not done so only from religious conviction. It was to take back control. Although clinging to Islam was spiritual survival, wearing the hijab at that time was a form of resistance for me. 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 was comfortable for me to live within my shell of having only a Muslim identity. It was not until the Initiatives of Change Connecting Community Fellowship Program in the United States that I regained my sense of identity as a human and that I shared it with all of humanity." 
Publishing the Truth, Whatever the Cost
By Randy Ruffin 
Sonali StorySonali Samarasinghe Wickrematunge now carries the title "Editor in Exile." In September of 2008, she was the second winner of the Global Shining Light Award in Norway, presented by the International Conference of Investigative Journalists for exposing how a government minister "used his power and connections to the President of the country to run roughshod over the media and the justice system." Less than four months later her husband of two months, the well known editor of the Leader newspaper, was brutally gunned down as he drove to work. Sonali was forced to flee the country, along with other members of her family-hence her unusual title.

A 1996 participant in the Caux Scholars Program, Sonali trained first as a lawyer and then shifted to journalism, believing "journalism is more fulfilling personally, and I am able to act according to my conscience and try to impact society." In a letter written at the end of January 2008, she said, "I am happy in my work and feel I can offer something to a country that is becoming more racist by the minute. It is hard to imagine how pugnaciously nationalist we are becoming, especially the politicians."
Sonali's husband, Lasantha Wickrematunge, knew that his life was in danger and in fact wrote a final editorial entitled "And Then They Came for Me," in which he said, "It is well known that I was on two occasions brutally assaulted, while on another my house was sprayed with machine-gun fire. Despite the government's sanctimonious assurances, there was never a serious police inquiry into the perpetrators of these attacks, and the attackers were never apprehended. In all these cases, I have reason to believe the attacks were inspired by the government. When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me."  

Read the full story
An Honest Banker in Afghanistan
By Randy Ruffin
Noor Photo EditedNoorullah Delawari, an Afghani American who is founder and CEO of the Afghan Investment Support Agency, as well as Minister Adviser to President Karzai, says his long connection with Initiatives of Change helped him to take responsibility for his country-including the enormous task of restoring stability to the currency. He told his story at a meeting hosted by Initiatives of Change in McLean, Virginia, in October.

Noor was born to a well respected family in Afghanistan, and his father served as the Deputy Minister of Royal Court during King Zahir Shah. He encountered Moral Re-Armament (Initiatives of Change) while studying Economics and Finance in England in the late sixties. When he first went to the IofC center on Berkeley Square in London with some of his leftist friends, he was suspicious of what he was getting into, but his doubts were quickly dispelled by the genuineness, sense of purpose, and commitment of those he met there. One of them, George Williams, became a close friend, and when Noor asked him if he might help him find a place to celebrate his marriage to his wife, Setara, George arranged a reception in an IofC home in central London. Setara was the daughter of an Afghan man who had migrated to the U.S. in the early twenties and married an Italian American. She and Noor had met when she was working in Kabul.
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 trustbuilding. Visit our website for more information.
Have a great holiday season!
In This Issue
Metropolitan Richmond Day
HIC in New Orleans
Identity: The Need to Belong
Publishing the Truth
An Honest Banker
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 the world. Did you know that 70% of our income comes from individuals just like you?
Before 2009 is over we need to raise $20,000.
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
Give a Gift of Hope!
Books and Media
As you think about gift giving at this time of year consider ordering from the IofC books and media catalog and give a gift of hope and inspiration.
Order Now!
Caux Scholars Program 2010!
The 2010 Caux Scholars Program will run from July 6 to August 10 at IofC's international conference center in Caux, Switzerland.
A brochure for the 2010 program, report of 2009 and application form are available at, or from program director Kathy Aquilina at the Washington, DC, IofC office: 1625 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 601, Washington, DC 20036-2244.
There is a rolling admissions policy and the deadline for applications is March 15, 2010. 
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