Breakthroughs Online
July 2011Issue No. 10



As summer sizzles and the national debate heats up, the need for The Trust Factor in Washington, DC, becomes even more apparent. Important update information is included in this issue. Please consider what part you have to play. Join us in Washington and add your voice. Congress will be in session so contact your representatives and make this initiative known to them. Lend support financially and with your prayers.


The summer conferences in Caux, Switzerland, are well underway. Two stories bring the first reports on different aspects of the conferences including a look at Caux from the inside. More stories, videos and photos can be found at


Rob Corcoran writes about race and poverty in his commentary and underscores the need for "Building relationships of trust that enable all Americans to transcend their fears, hurts, and prejudices."  

The Trust Factor Update  
TTF logo


This series of events in  

Washington, DC,  

October 10-15, 2011,  

will demonstrate how people from diverse backgrounds have built trust and are collaborating to solve problems.

The Trust Factor aims to:
  • Put trustbuilding across divides of politics, race, economics and religion on the national agenda  
  • Demonstrate through example what trust looks like
  • Empower and equip individuals as trustbuilders
  • Create a Trustbuilding network of organizations with a shared vision, understanding and language 
  • Give hope to ordinary Americans and begin to change the narrative in Washington

Seven partner organizations are confirmed: Center for Community Change; International Peace & Resolution Program, AU School of International Service; Search for Common Ground on Race; Servant Leadership School at the Festival Center; Sustained Dialogue Campus Network; the Calvert Foundation, and The Faith & Politics Institute.


The Trust Factor explores different locales and perspectives in the nation's capital. The events will be as varied as an interfaith dialogue on Spiritual Traditions as a Foundation for Trustbuilding at Georgetown University; an evening convened by the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network at American University on Trustbuilding Across Generations:  Opportunities and Challenges; a panel discussion by the Calvert Foundation on Redefining our Relationship to Money, and an honest conversation on race through the lens of film and the arts convened by Search for Common Ground on Race. A day-long Trustbuilding Workshop will be offered to practitioners in the field.    


Highlight of the week is a reception to honor three outstanding Trustbuilders at the community, national and international level on Friday, October 14. The program culminates with Saturday events that include skills-building workshops and a celebratory session for all participants to share new insights and to plan practical steps to carry forward The Trust Factor agenda for Washington, DC.


The hub of The Trust Factor is Festival House in historic Adams Morgan. This faith ministry engages in issues of housing and job creation and is home to the Servant Leadership School.


Please join us in October and help bring The Trust Factor to Washington. Congress will be in session, so consider a meeting with your representatives to let them know that you want to put trustbuilding on the national agenda.


Information is available now at and next month we will launch a dedicated website with program and registration information as well as tips for how to plan your week.

Facing the Wounds of History and Giving them Voice  


2011 Tulsa

Hope and Healing: Black, White,

and Native American

"There has been no systematic attempt to use the concept of healing for ourselves, our communities, or to bring sanity to our government," retired diplomat Joseph Montville told a national symposium in Tulsa, Okla. "We have learned that time does not heal wounds. Only healing does. We have to face the wounds of history and give them voice."  


Montville, who directs the Toward the Abrahamic Family Reunion Project gave the opening lecture at the symposium, Hope and Healing: Black, White, and Native American, sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, June 1-3.  In 1921, white mobs destroyed Tulsa's business district. The city is uncovering the story and has begun a reconciliation process. 


Drawing on personal accounts of trauma and loss by African Americans, Native Americans, and White Americans, Montville reflected on the intergenerational transference of grievances and the psychology of victimhood. He proposed "walks through history" and stressed the need to "take an inventory of the listen carefully, especially to the fears...Many people who do dialogue or reconciliation work avoid the hard part of history."


Chad Smith, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, and Jon Velie, an attorney who represents descendants of freedmen (African Americans brought on the "Trail of Tears" to Oklahoma by Cherokees as slaves), publicly debated the freedmen's claim to Cherokee citizenship. Moderator Hannibal Johnson commented, "Our goal here is to promote reconciliation by furthering those courageous conversations we too often seek to avoid."


John W. Franklin, son of historian John Hope Franklin who was an Oklahoma native, described the challenging work of creating the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture, where he is director of partnerships and international programs. He said "It's not enough to know our own history; we need to know the histories of others, the pain and joys of others."


Rob Corcoran and Tee Turner presented a workshop on Reconciliation and Trustbuilding in Richmond, Virginia. Afterwards John Franklin commented, "We need to go though a process like Richmond."

Read the complete story here.
For the full text of Joseph Montville's speech
Creating Coalitions of Caring


Caux Froum for Human Security

Caux Forum for Human Security

How can the human family do better in meeting the basic needs of people? How can we together reduce the fears that rob millions of hope and stifle initiative? Can we protect people from arbitrary abuses of power? How do we reduce the threats to millions of vulnerable people from global warming? Can we help heal painful memories so that individuals find freedom to take responsibility for their futures?


These are some of the challenges addressed by the Caux Forum for Human Security that was opened on July 10 at the international conference center for Initiatives of Change, by Peter Maurer, Switzerland's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Switzerland, he said, was proud to support the Forum because it shares the Forum's goal of encouraging collaboration across all boundaries in efforts to promote a culture of peace. In the audience were leaders of civil society and many ambassadors, including five from the Middle East, who had come to Caux for the Official Day marking the beginning of the 2011 Caux conferences.


The theme of the Fourth Annual Caux Forum is "Towards a coalition of conscience." Through workshops, case studies, plenary meetings and small community groups, the participants consider how to mobilize citizens around the world to address such challenges as corruption and the need for just governance, the healing of wounded memory and how to live sustainably so that the earth's land and resources are available for the future.


Among the 300 participants from over 50 countries were over 30 from the United States, making it perhaps the largest delegation. Among others present were prominent activists in the Arab spring who are working to realize the reforms necessary to secure the new democracies in Tunisia and Egypt. One of them, a 2010 Caux Scholar from Egypt, shared his experience of imprisonment during the early days of the struggle and told how he had reached the point "where I cared not what would happen to me."  


Read the complete story here.

Details of the program, speeches of some participants, and other information about the forum can be found at 

Looking at Caux from the Inside
Katie Hathaway

Katie Hathaway,  

Caux Office Manager

Katie Hathaway, Operations Manager for IofC in the U.S., recently arrived in Caux, Switzerland, to take up her responsibilities managing the conference secretariat for two weeks. She writes:

It was mid-way through "warm-up week" when I arrived and the house was already in full swing! For nine months of the year it is used by a Hotel Management School. In two short weeks at the end of June the house is transformed from a school into a conference center. Volunteers come from all over the world to move furniture, make beds, garden, cook, and perform all the other tasks needed to complete the transformation. The first group of 30 young interns was already in its third day of training and service, and the first conference organizing team was ready to move into its office. I plunged into the thick of things, barely dropping off my luggage before the questions and requests started coming.

So what does the office manager in Caux do? The answer is pretty much anything and everything on the administrative side of the conferences: making sure supplies are available (paper, pens, flip charts, etc), technology is working (internet, computers, printers, copiers), and answering questions to ensure things run smoothly (meeting rooms, welcome packs, name tags, etc). The office manager also records the conferences for the archives and for the website. It is not an easy job, because the names of all speakers must be noted, including those who speak from the floor. If names are not clearly given a whole day can be spent looking for "a French-speaking man in a red sweater" so we can put a name to the voice!

This year there are also a lot of younger volunteers. In the spring, advertisements were placed on the website, requesting applications for "heads of departments in training." There was a huge response and almost all departments now have a training program in place, from room allocation, kitchen, dining room service, to the technical team. Each participant in this program commits to at least 3 summers in Caux. The training includes weekly gatherings to create a sense of community for the trainees and the heads of departments.

Conferences take a lot of coordination and planning and it is not unusual to still be working past 11:00 PM on the night before a conferences begins. The remarkable spirit of Caux is supported by a dedicated team of volunteers and interns who help make it all possible.  
America Must Deal with Race to Deal with Poverty  
Rob Corcoran cropped
Rob Corcoran is the National Director of Initiatives of Change and founder of Hope in the Cities.

Young Americans are increasingly comfortable with claiming a blended racial heritage. Many are discovering previously unknown or unacknowledged branches of their family trees. One in seven new marriages is interracial or interethnic. These are hopeful signs that old prejudices are shifting even in states with histories of racial segregation and violence.

Structural poverty is now a greater barrier than race. Yet race and poverty are closely intertwined.

"Unless we can save the poorest, most disconnected among us, we will not save ourselves," wrote Senator Bill Bradley in his 1996 memoir. But we cannot deal with poverty unless we deal with race: "Racial thinking obstructs America from seeing how to reduce poverty, because many in the white majority view blacks as undeserving or unwilling to work. But to refuse more resources to fight poverty because you don't want to help blacks actually hurts more whites than blacks..."

Paradoxically, President Obama's election has made racial dialogue more challenging. It is no longer politically acceptable to express overt racism, so the attacks are now couched in doubts about the president's citizenship, patriotism, and religion. And, as Randall Kennedy writes, it is "virtually impossible for a black president to lead a productive conversion on race without committing himself to political martyrdom."

Highly charged political rhetoric increases insecurities caused by the stressed economy and changing demographics. Democrats, fearing backlash by powerful middle-class voting blocks, resist even modest reductions in popular entitlement programs. The Republican Party, according to David Brooks, a respected conservative columnist, "has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative" and that has turned tax levels into "a sacred fixation." So those with least voting power - the poor and children - will bear the brunt of cuts. America must choose to build a community of shared responsibility and care or it risks fragmenting into competing and resentful interest groups.

In Fire in the Heart: How White Americans Embrace Racial Justice, Harvard professor Mark Warren interviews white people who are working for justice. What engaged them was not analysis or education but "direct witnessing experiences when they saw with their own eyes the hard realities of racism." Motivation came as they built "meaningful relationships with people of color and when their values and interests are directly addressed."

Building relationships of trust that enable all Americans to transcend their fears, hurts, and prejudices is a priority if we are to meet the pressing needs of our communities.

Read the complete commentary here.
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Thank you!
In This Issue
The Trust Factor Update
Facing the Wounds of History
Creating Coalitions of Caring
Looking at Caux from the Inside
America Must Deal with Race to Deal with Poverty
Supporting IofC

If you would like to support any of the programs you have read about in this newsletter, please do so by clicking on the button below.
The Imam & The Pastor

Two. Together

"The African model for finding peace amid the continent's warring communities"  

The Times (London)  


An African Answer 

The second film about the work of these two African peacemakers, will be launched in the U.S. in October. 

See special pre-launch offer of Two. Together.  

Trustbuilding Book Cover


Author Rob Corcoran's  

most recent blog,

Trust in Investing  

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Caux Conferences 2011


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Global Update July 2011


Global Update brings news from N. E India, Rwanda, Canada, Romania and the UK.  People Building Trust tells of Joseph Wainaina, whose home was burned down and relatives killed in Kenya's ethnic violence. Instead of seeking revenge Wainaina "does peace," building trust at the grassroots level.  

Other Stories on-line
New nation greeted at flag raising ceremony

Is constant honesty necessary for society?

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