Breakthroughs Online
November 2010Issue No. 6

These past weeks have been a roller coaster ride to the elections. We have lived with a cacophony of sound: shrill voices, angry words, and competing ideas. Some of us have been drawn in and others have tuned out. Rob Corcoran shores some perspectives in an online commentary.


Let us not forget that in the midst of the storm, the "still small voice" within continues to speak. As we choose to take time in quiet to listen, reflect, and act we can live lives that give hope and build trust. Several stories in this issue of Breakthroughs are about people finding the inspiration to step out and make a difference. As young Jessica Markowitz puts it, "When you give back, it's hard, but it's just that little step that can really make a difference and when you feel that you are making a difference, you never want to stop."


Also in this issue, Hector Garcia, the former executive director of Minnesotans for NAFTA and vice president for Wells Fargo Bank PCS, writes about immigration and the potential for a partnership on equal terms with Mexico.


As the end of the year approaches, think about giving a gift of hope and inspiration to friends and family in the form of a book or DVD from IofC. Particularly recommended are Trustbuilding by Rob Corcoran, No Enemy to Conquer by Michael Henderson, and the DVD of The Imam and the Pastor. Check out the catalog at the right for more information.


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What Conversation Needs to Take Place in My Community
Trustbuilding in Oregon and Washington


Workshop participants in Oregon
Workshop participants in Oregon.

At a time when the U.S. appears more polarized than ever, people of all backgrounds are responding to the message of hope in Trustbuilding. During four action-packed days in Oregon and Washington states, Rob Corcoran and Tee Turner led five presentations and workshops on university campuses and for diverse community groups.

Forty students in a conflict resolution class at Portland State University took part in animated discussions on qualities that build or break trust. Thirty percent of the students were born outside of the U.S. At the University of Oregon in Eugene, Corcoran and Turner met with senior faculty and students at the Appropriate Dispute Resolution Center. The YWCA, Mosaic Blueprint, Clark County, and the City of Vancouver, WA, sponsored an event at the county public service center.


Leaders of grassroots organizations, educators, representatives of faith communities and business, and two judges crowded an inner city church for a Saturday morning seminar. Working groups discussed: What conversations need to take place in our community and who needs to be at the table? One person asked: "Why are people of color not running or being elected to the school board or city council?"  Another said, "I am part of a white, progressive culture, but we have no passion. I am afraid to be myself in my own culture." Others spoke of the need to bring together people with deeply opposed views on gang violence and youth, as well as the media. "It's less about race and ethnicity than about haves and have-nots," commented one participant.


Read the complete story here.

Trustbuilding in Canadian Cities 
Rob Corcoran at UBC
Students at the University of British Columbia at Rob's workshop.


In a visit to metro Vancouver, BC, Rob Corcoran met with university students, community and faith leaders, civic staff, activists, educators, and the general public. The Intercultural Advisory Committee of Richmond, BC, where the population is 45 percent Chinese, hosted an occasion in the city council chambers. Corcoran also met with community members in Surrey, where 27 percent of the residents are South Asian. He will return to BC next March to give a public presentation and a workshop at the Justice Institute, Canada's leading public safety educator.  


In Calgary, which has just elected a 38-year-old, Harvard educated, Muslim as its mayor, a diverse group was welcomed by IofC Council member Alvin Manitopyes at a fundraising breakfast to launch Hope in the Cities - Connecting Communities. This program will feature Trustbuilding workshops and training, Peace Circles to heal wounded memories, and the film The Imam and the Pastor to focus on issues of forgiveness.


In Calgary, as in metro Vancouver, Corcoran challenged his audience to ask themselves: Where does trust need to be built in our community? What do we need to hear from the other group in order to build trust? What are we doing in our group that perpetuates the problem? In conversations everywhere, people wanted to know: How do you move from dialogue to action? How do you deal with those holding power? How do you cope with frustration and disappointment? 


Read the complete story here.

Interfaith Peace Bridges 

Rabbi Sheldon Lewis with Rajmohan Gandhi
Rabbi Sheldon Lewis with Rajmohan Gandhi.
Building Bridges for Peace was the theme of a series of presentations to build interfaith understanding and lay the groundwork for action at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto, California this fall.  Rajmohan Gandhi, President of Initiatives of Change International, was the featured speaker. His presentation followed a series of other speakers on Christian, Muslim, Judaic, and Hindu bridges for peace. Excerpts from Michael Henderson's book No Enemy to Conquer were suggested as background reading for each week's session. At the conclusion of the series the congregation looked at, "What Did We Learn?" and "How Do We Become Bridge Builders Today?" To download the audio of his remarks click here then click on Building Bridges for Peace. Read the complete story here

The Trust Factor: Beyond Boundaries

Metropolitan Rihmond Day


2010 MRDThe ballroom at the Marriott was almost full to capacity. Four hundred community leaders from the private and public sector came out to the 14th annual Metropolitan Richmond Day community breakfast to continue to explore the subject of the Trust Factor: Beyond Boundaries.


Wallace Stettinius, former Chairman and CEO of Cadmus Communications Corporation, delivered a powerful keynote in which he delineated the steps individuals could take to become trustbuilders. His speech was based on a formula offered by Robert S.M. Covey in The Speed of Trust. Trust is built on credibility which has four pillars: integrity + intent + competence + results.


Based on this formula, he challenged those assembled to begin the process of building trust by becoming people of integrity by practicing honesty. Then, he said, we should take time to examine our intentions and ensure that we are not going for a certain outcome at the expense of others, but are seeking to build win-win solutions to problems. He also stressed the importance of having the right people as part of the process. People who are competent and can take projects forward, not just people with good intentions. "Building a trusting relationship takes time and each relationship is unique. It begins with listening and showing respect. . . by talking straight, keeping commitments and delivering results."


Read the complete story here.
Seattle Student Launches Project in Rwanda 
Jessica in Rwanda
Jessica in Rwanda

What makes an eleven year old school girl start collecting things for school children in Rwanda? Build a team? Launch a charity? Set out to raise the funds to build a library?

This is what Jessica Markowitz in Seattle, Washington, has done over the past 4 years, and it all started with the visit of Richard Kananga, a member of IofC's 2006 ACTION team. Richard stayed with her family when he and three others from the team were in town in November of that year. 

Talking with Richard, Jessica, then 11, was shocked and troubled to learn that young girls her age did not have the same opportunities she had. Some had to stay home taking care of their siblings because parents or family members had died in the genocide, or from HIV/AIDS. Others could not go to school because they did not have the funds for uniforms, books, shoes, or schools fees. She learned that $40 could support a girl's education for a year and she decided to do something. 

And do something she did! Richard identified an area in Rwanda, Nyamata, where the needs were particularly great, and Jessica, with a group of friends organized bake sales and car washes. That first year she raised around $1000 dollars. She visited Rwanda for the first time in August of 2007 with her mother, bringing pencils, notebooks, books, and other supplies. Her efforts grew into a registered charity, called Richard's Rwanda-Impuhwe, which means compassion in Kinyarwanda. Jessica and her team have now raised $75,000, thanks in part to a challenge grant of $25,000 from Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.

Read the complete story here.

Hector GarciaNorth American Partnership-lab or Wall?


By Hector Garcia, former Executive Director of Minnesotans for NAFTA and VP International & Domestic Emerging Markets for Wells Fargo Bank PCS.


As the United States continues to experience the effects of economic recession we are tempted to let fear confuse our thinking. Such is the case with the growing anxiety over immigration. There are opinions being presented in politics, the press, the Web, and among the general public that portray immigrants as the source of our problems. The impact that immigrants have on the economy is primarily one of contribution; this has been the case for immigrants throughout the history of the nation.


In spite of great trade and investment benefits to Canada, Mexico and the U.S., the theory behind NAFTA failed in several ways. It was expected that, with broader economic development, farmers unable to compete in the world market would find work in cities and non-farm rural activities. But the Mexican economy was unable to absorb the huge number of displaced farmers and their families. About two million agricultural jobs were lost in Mexico as a result of cheap subsidized imports of corn (the main food staple for poor Mexicans) and other U.S. commodities.  

The U.S. sells its corn at about 30 percent below the cost of production. The benefits of these subsidies, which are not in keeping with the spirit of free trade, do not go to small American farmers but to large and wealthy land-owners and corporations.  

It is unfair to brand and treat poor farmers and their families as criminals when our government is largely responsible for pushing them into crossing our border without documents. This does not excuse the Mexican government for what it has failed to do to protect the livelihood of those displaced farmers. The responsibility is mutual and should lead to a revision of NAFTA that will establish accountability for the two nations and Canada.  

Most Americans do not know that Mexico imports almost twice as much from the U.S. as China does - $130 billion compared to $70 BN in 2009 and that it is the second buyer, after Canada, of U.S. products and services.

Unpleasant as it might be for a rich country to collaborate on equal terms with a largely poor and culturally-divergent neighbor, the relationship offers invaluable potential benefits...

Read the complete commentary here.

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.
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In This Issue
Dialogue in Oregon and Washington
Trustbuilding in Canada
Interfaith Peace Bridges
Metropolitan Richmond Day
Seattle Student Launches Project in Rwanda
North American Partnership-lab or Wall?
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Global Update

Global Updates Nov2010

The most recent issue of Global Update reports on the Creators of Peace initiative, which has become active in 30 countries over the past year.

Gifts of Hope

This holiday season give a gift of hope and inspiration.


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Caux Report

2010 Caux Report

A 24-page full-color report about the International Caux Conferences 2010 is available on-line or can be ordered from our office.

Caux Scholars Program


Applications are now available for the 2011 Caux Scholars Program. Please pass this along to any promising students who might be interested in participating.


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