Breakthroughs Online
March 2011Issue No. 8

Dear Greetings! 


The art of building trust is a crucial need for America. Lack of trust divides us on politics, race, religion, and social issues. Civility is important, but it's just a beginning. Trustbuilding means honest conversation, acknowledgment of injustices, apology, gestures that heal, and a commitment to work together for the future. Trustbuilding starts in our own lives, our own relationships, our own actions. 

Looking ahead in 2011 - Trustbuilding continues as the key program focus.

·   The Trust Factor - a series of events in Washington, DC, in October that demonstrate how people from diverse backgrounds have built trust and are working together to solve problems.  In partnership with other organizations, The Trust Factor offers speakers, workshops, films, and training opportunities that inspire, equip, and engage individuals as trustbuilders. Everyone can participate!


·   Walking through history - With the 150th commemoration of the Civil War, the Hope in the Cities experience shows that the right kind of remembering can build a common narrative.  Serving as a center for community trustbuilding, Richmond, Virginia provides a resource for groups and communities seeking to heal history. Students from Duke Divinity School and Congressional staffers are among the many groups who have asked to experience this "walk through history."   


·   Trustbuilding presentations and workshops are scheduled for corporate and community groups as outreach continues with Rob Corcoran's book Trustbuilding. These include the Trustbuilding Leadership program for campuses.  


·   Global Trustbuilding  - As young people across the world clamor for democracy and freedom, Caux provides a place where the foundations of freedom are built. The Caux Scholars Program, under the new leadership of Dr. Carl Stauffer, will focus on building trust and healing relationships in war-torn societies. The fourth Caux Forum for Human Security will highlight trustbuilding among all sectors addressing human security. Action groups are forming around five themes - wounded memory, inclusive economics, governance, intercultural understanding and environmental sustainability.


Stay tuned for more information on how to participate.   

Please consider a donation to help make these plans a reality.

A Week of Trustbuilding in Hampton Roads 
Hamptons trustbuilding

Trustbuilding Week in Hampton Roads, VA  

(Photo: Cricket White)



From January 24-29, ten events brought together over 600 people to put trust on the regional agenda in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Hampton Roads Trustbuilding Taskforce, organized this first-ever "Week of Trustbuilding."


The idea started as a seed thought in the mind of Brenda Exum, an associate professor at Norfolk State University (NSU) and a community organizer. At The Trust Factor Forum in Richmond, Virginia, in 2009 she was moved to action by words of Dr. Syngman Rhee, "A bridge has to touch both sides. New history is made by people who are willing to touch both sides and to lie down." Exum asked herself, "Will I be the bridge? Am I willing to make that sacrifice and build trust?"


She built a team and launched this program entirely through volunteer help and donations." We showed that you can start with zero budget, finish with zero budget and still get the job done."


The week's events ran the gamut of audience and focus. There were day-long workshops for counselors to explore the role of trust in the counselor-client relationship, and for emerging student leaders at Norfolk State University. Other events addressed gerontology, hospice care, teen development, and social work.  The week culminated with a luncheon at NSU where Rob Corcoran, author of Trustbuilding, gave the keynote address.


The diversity of events, Exum suggests, was an outcome of her teambuilding strategy. "The key was casting a vision and supporting people to design their own programs." Exum notes that the team shared a common value of making a difference in the community ahead of ego and personal ambition.


Reflecting on the week, Exum says, "It was an opportunity to practice what I value, trust in relationships ... I know that there are other people out there who share the same values and who want to be catalysts. It's just a matter of being asked and being given the opportunity."


Read Complete Story Here

Trustbuilding Leadership Pilot Program  

NSU Students

Trustbuilding Leadership program at NSU (Photo: Chris Breitenberg)


On January 29, nearly 30 students at Norfolk State University (NSU) took part in the pilot program of Trustbuilding LeadershipChris Breitenberg and Jeanné Isler led students through an activity-driven, day-long workshop that explored ideas of personal trustworthiness, trust in various contexts, and the traits of a trustbuilder.


Trustbuilding Leadership is a program of Initiatives of Change that launched in 2010. It aims to develop emerging leaders at the US collegiate level by emphasizing the core foundation for trust in leadership.


One student said after this initial offering, "It was a real awakening. Now I see how important trust is in all relationships." Another shared, "It was a reality check, a guide to show me what I need to do and how to do it."


Earlier in the week at a presentation on Trustbuilding for a class for Social Work students the professor, Mary Yanisko, commented, "The session on trustbuilding was very powerful and engaged students in self-discovery as they explored the essential nature of trust in relationships."


Trustbuilding Leadership has emerged from a synthesis of ideas, skills, needs and passions. Rob Corcoran's book Trustbuilding, published last year, has given a dynamic role to a theme that has long been at the heart of Initiatives of Change.


Chris Breitenberg, whose passion for working with young people in leadership development, has spent extensive time abroad with Initiatives of Change with Action for Life, the Caux Interns Program and the Gandhi Voyage. Jeanné Isler, in her current position with Search for Common Ground, brought dynamic facilitation skills to the table.


"We designed the program on the basic concept that trust is perhaps the single biggest barometer in terms of how creative, productive and effective a relationship or team can be." Breitenberg says.


Trustbuilding Leadership will roll out in the coming year to reach students at a number of different universities. The program's vision includes an active online presence for those who are compelled by the idea of trust in leadership, both at the university level and beyond.


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Read Complete Story Here. 

Caux Scholar Wins Prestigious Award   

Emeka on radio

Emeke on the radio with students


Former Caux Scholar (2009) Nnaemeka Ikegwuoku, from the Delta region of Nigeria, won the Young Person of the Year award at the Future Awards 2011 presentation in Lagos. Celebrating young achievers between the ages of 18 and 31, the awards were given in a number of different categories.


Adebola Williams, who is the event's operations director, said, "We are ready to show anyone that there is a new generation that has integrity, that is not corrupt and that is ready to build this nation. We are proud, immensely proud to present a group of scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and others who are ready to make contributions towards the development of their country."


Emeke, as he is known, is the founder and Executive Director of The Smallholders Foundation, a non-governmental organization which promotes sustainable agricultural development and environmental conservation beneficial to small, rural, poor farmers, through educational radio programs and through practical demonstrations in the field.  In addition to doing informative broadcasts in Igbo which give information about appropriate and sustainable agricultural techniques, marketing, business practices, etc. for the farmers, the radio uses jingles and drama to disseminate information.


Emeke says, "The Caux Scholar experience came at the right time. Through lectures, interactions and presentations, I acquired valuable insights into peace building, reconciliation and trauma healing. I am using this experience to engage, dialogue and negotiate with communities where I work to set a base for successful project implementation."


Read Complete Story Here.             

Alex Wise Joins Initiatives of Change Board 

Alex Wise

            Alex Wise  

(Photo: Karen Elliott Greisdorf)

H. Alexander Wise was elected to the Initiatives of Change Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting in February. Alex has led a varied life as educator, public servant, lawyer, and social entrepreneur. Since 2007 he has been the director of development of St. George's Independent School in Memphis,TN which has forged a new model for independent schools that seek to diversify their constituencies.

History has always been Alex's first love.  During the 1980s as an aide to U. S. Senator John Heinz and later as a Reagan appointee, he spearheaded initiatives to build on postwar U.S.-German reconciliation in an era when Cold War pressures seemed to be forcing the two countries apart.  In the '90s, he directed the Virginia Department of Historic Resources under two governors.

It was his vision to create the American Civil War Center in Richmond as a place of dialogue where the Union, Confederate, and African American stories could be told under one roof, and he served as the center's first president/CEO and chief fundraiser... 

Alex says, "Historical imagination is the ability to imagine walking in the other person's shoes... Honest conversation about race and responsibility strips away isolating pretensions and allows us to feel and value the humanity of all.  Honest conversation fosters forgiveness and healing."

Alex has been actively involved with Initiatives of Change and its program Hope in the Cities for more than ten years.  He says, "IofC founder Frank Buchman was a man whose faith gave him the strength to confront his prejudices, deal honestly with others, and thereby gain the trust of the most unlikely people. By building relationships of trust with world leaders, he made the world a better place. The trustbuilding work of IofC continues today across racial, economic, and religious divides, and I look forward to doing what I can to further that work."

Read Complete Story Here

The Courage to Stand Up to Bullies  

Day Ravenscroft

Day Ely Ravenscroft

I was born, brought up, and most often voted Republican. Recently in Arizona, our Republicans have become very unlike the ones I remember, such as my father, Senator Wadsworth, Senator Saltonstall, Senator Dirksen, Senator Goldwater and President Reagan.  

Yes, we always leaned toward "the people's right to bear arms" but basically rifles and shotguns for hunting and a permit for a pistol. No concealed weapons, and certainly no combat weapons with 30 rounds in the clip. Yes, we preferred low taxes but we were not against "the safety net." Most of those laws in 1940s and 50s, like the GI Bill for studies, were passed in a bi-partisan manner.  And, in the old days, we definitely believed that power should stay as "low on the totem pole" as possible - villages, cities, counties, states, and then federal.

You may agree with some of the current bills before the legislature that attempt to remove the power of the Federal Government to regulate, that dictate to cities and counties how services are managed and seek to privatize much in the public sector, or the bills to loosen gun control laws making it legal to carry concealed weapons in the State Capitol, at community festivals, or on school property. These are not just bills being proposed in the legislature to balance the budget.

Wherever we have an imbalance of power we risk the tyranny of the majority. When Republicans or Democrats are 100% in control the power can shift to the far right or left and those that are more moderate get bullied by the extremists.

What some of us are doing here to build solutions in Arizona is training people how to talk about problem solving with people who have a different opinion from theirs, or may just be shouting slogans. We are rebuilding our churches, schools, clubs, bowling leagues and choirs and turning them again into places where people talk about important things and learn how to hold a useful discussion, really listening and thinking together, rather than just waiting to present their own point of view.   

It is slower than campaigning for a different party to win the next election, but that doesn't necessarily help because both parties now are trained to shout slogans instead of seeking solutions. What we need to find is "Not who is right but what is right."

And remember, most of us learned as children that our own honor is measured by how we treat the vulnerable among us. We were not brought up to be bullies. These proposed bills will cost lives directly and indirectly. Pray for the young, the sick, the old and the poor in Arizona.

Day Ravenscroft is an octogenarian living in a retirement community in Tucson. She first met Frank Buchman, founder of Initiatives of Change, in the 1930s and spent many years in service to this work on several continents. She has been a community activist and change maker all her life.  

Read Complete Story  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.

Thank you!
In This Issue
A Week of Trustbuilding in Hampton Roads
Trustbuilding Leadership Pilot Program
Caux Scholar Wins Prestigious Award
Alex Wise Joins IofC Board
The Courage to Stand up to Bullies
Supporting IofC

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Trustbuilding Book Cover

Author Rob Corcoran is now writing a Blog    


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Global update march


Global Update reports on the first screening of the documentary An African Answer in the Kenyan township where it was filmed.

Applications still welcome for:


 The Caux Scholars Program 


The Caux Artists Program 


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Caux Conferences 2011


Conference Schedule

 July 3-8
Transform yourself - transform the world around you
July 10-17
Caux Forum for Human Security
July 26-31
Learning to Live in a Multicultural World
August 2-8
Trust and Integrity in the global economy
Read two new
People Stories on-line:

Yoko Hisano

Mildred Howarter

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