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May 2013                      Newsletter of Initiatives of Change USA
Issue No. 21




We are excited to announce the launch of our new Initiatives of Change website, with a more dynamic look, striking photos, and stories that provide a great picture of who we are and what we do.  We have brought  Hope in the Cities and the Caux Scholars Program under this same umbrella and are highlighting them as two of our flagship programs.  



Please explore our site and give us your feedback!   


Also this month we have launched a  Sustained Giving campaign. A regular monthly gift helps us maintain a sound financial base throughout the year, allowing us to design and implement important trustbuilding programs.  


To energize the launch of our campaign, $50,000 of a recent legacy will be made available for immediate program support as a monthly match for sustaining donors during the 2013 calendar year. Can you help us meet this exciting challenge? 

Racial reconciliation, racial equity
Changing hearts and minds

"This work is about changing hearts and minds," says Gail Christopher, vice president for program strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting vulnerable children. A few years ago the foundation's board of directors and staff made a bold commitment to becoming the "best anti-racist organization it could be," by promoting racial equity.  
Dr. Gail Christopher 2
Dr. Gail Christopher (Photo: Karen Elliott Greisdorf)

Dr. Christopher, who leads the America Healing project, believes passionately that the time has come to "deal with the root of the tree" - the false story of racism - on a global scale. "So much of the suffering in the world is rooted in the diminished perception of self ....(and) that somehow human beings can be put in categories based on physical characteristics."  

With this goal in mind, she will lead 20 Kellogg grantees from 12 states to the international forum on Healing History: Overcoming Racism, Seeking Equity, Building Community in Caux, Switzerland, July 3-7. The conference reflects collaboration between Initiatives of Change and the Kellogg Foundation. It will explore the history and legacies of racism and how communities can build trust and work together to create cultures of inclusion and economies that work for all.

The conference organizers say Caux is the ideal location for the forum because of its long track record of building trust across divides through honest conversation. Rob Corcoran, national director of IofC USA, says, "I believe that IofC's focus on connecting personal change with societal transformation parallels Kellogg's effort to address healing and equity. They must go together."  More than 70 Americans are expected to attend - the largest group to visit Caux in recent years.Read more ... 

For more on Gail Christopher''s vision, see Rob Corcoran's blog
Around the country
Something is stirring in Memphis   

Alex Wise
, director of advancement and stewardship for the Church Health Center in Memphis,TN, and chair of the IofC USA Board, recently hosted Dr. Omnia Marzouk, president of IofC's International Association in Memphis. He writes:
Dr. Marzouk speeks with Antony Sheehan head of the Church Health Center

Something is stirring in Memphis. Dr. Omnia Marzouk, president of IofC's International Association, traveled to the United States in early April to attend the Church Health Center of Memphis' Healthy Communities, Communities of Faith conference

Founded in 1987 the Church Health Center provides quality, affordable healthcare for working, uninsured people and their families. Thanks to a broad base of financial support from the faith community, and the volunteer help of doctors, nurses, dentists and others, the Church Health Center has grown to become the largest faith-based healthcare organization of its type in the country.

Dr. Marzouk, who is Associate Medical Director at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, England, attended this conference for professional reasons. But Dr. Marzouk also represented the healing mission of IofC. Read more...  
The importance of global memory

Randy Ruffin
Rajmohan Gandhi at the University of Missouri Rajmohan Gandhi, research professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaigne, and former president of Initiatives of Change International, spoke at a special dinner for library donors at the University of Missouri in April. James Cogswell, director of Libraries, was intrigued by Gandhi's writings on the "importance of global memory" and issued the invitation to promote discussion and encourage global citizenship among library patrons.

Rajmohan Gandhi is the grandson and biographer of Mahatma Gandhi and is the author of several books including a number exploring the history and relationship of India and Pakistan.

Speaking of the time he has spent in libraries and of the many types of books he has read, Gandhi said, "I should also speak of titles to which I have turned my back, even when I knew I should read them. These were books that I knew would disturb my picture of the world, or my picture of history. Read more...
Moving from polemics to dialogue
A conversation with Hal Saunders


Cassandra Lawrence, freelance writer and researcher, who focuses on post-conflict zones, interfaith leadership, and non-violent engagement reports:


Sustained Dialogue Campus Network The suspects of the Boston bombings didn't exactly fit the profile most Americans have for terrorists. The topic was raised at a recent DC Interfaith Network gathering. The discussion focused on how the two bombing suspects' identities as white American immigrant Muslims was affecting a national dialogue stuck in a cycle of polemics.


The event is a monthly meeting in DC for young professionals who are involved or interested in interfaith work. It is an opportunity to meet, share and hear from different professionals in the field. Guest speaker Hal Saunders, distinguished diplomat and founder of the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network, talked about how to bring the human face to dialogue and move past polemics to true analysis and problem solving. Read more... 


Caux Scholars Update
CSP Crowdfunding campaign

CSP has decided to take an additional approach to fundraising for the 2013 Scholars: Crowdfunding on Indiegogo! We really hope that this campaign will bear fruit, but we need your support to ensure its success!

CSP filmYou will enjoy meeting some of the incoming 2013 Caux Scholars through the video we created for the campaign!


With this approach we aim to spread the word about CSP far and wide. The 2013 Scholars can also use it for their own fundraising with family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances to tell them about the program and solicit their help. Steven Greisdorf (CSP '93) calls on his fellow alumni to join him in giving $5 for every year since they were a scholar!   


With your help, we can expand our network of individuals willing to support the program. Help us get the word out!  Read more ...

Initiatives of Change International
Shaken out of one's comfort zone

Will and Angela Elliott have just returned from participating in the IofC action in South Sudan. They live in Northern Virginia where Will is an international development manager and serves on the board of IofC USA. Angela, a retired nurse, currently volunteers as a long-term care ombudsman in Fairfax County. Angela writes of their visit:

In Juba, we woke to the steady hum of a generator, the slow sweeping of a brush cleaning the patio of our small hotel and the chatter of Al Jazeera TV from that same patio. We had been invited to take part in an April conference in Juba that was to start a five-year journey of healing and reconciliation in South Sudan. While we were en route in Nairobi, Kenya, a Presidential decree was issued from Juba suspending all reconciliation efforts. However, the next day it became clear that not all activities were, in fact, suspended so we were able to continue on to Juba for eight fascinating days.
South Sudan
Graduates of the training program (Mike Brown)
Some of our days were spent at a large training center a few yards from the Nile River, where 190 South Sudanese from every tribe and State were participating in a four-week "Peace Mobilizers" training. At the start of each day prayers, music, and dancing prepared the way for speakers, videos, discussion groups, and reflections on the qualities required of a peacemaker. Participants were happy to talk with us over meals, to share their opinions about how South Sudan could heal its past and to express their views on South Sudan's future. Read more ...
The better angels of our nature

Bryan Hamlin
Bryan Hamlin has a PhD in epigenetics, worked full-time with MRA/IofC for forty years; is now retired and lives with his wife Anne in Medford, Massachusetts.

On April 25th (the 60th anniversary of the publication of the structure of DNA) I attended a conference on genetics in downtown Boston. The conference venue was just a few blocks from where ten days before two bombs had exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, so I went to the site. There were many bunches of flowers and notes and prayers. One store was still boarded up. I fought back tears when I thought of the eight-year-old boy literally blown to pieces just after watching his Dad complete the race, and two young women, one from China and the other from our town of Medford - a friend of a friend of ours. Other acquaintances had narrow misses.

One of the speakers at the conference was Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker who spoke about his 2011 book The Better Angels of our Nature:why violence has declined. Was this a bad joke? And indeed that was the first question from the Boston Globe editor interviewing the professor. Pinker was quick to acknowledge the horror of the recent bombings, and then reminded us of the mind numbing death tolls in the American Civil War, recently "upgraded' to 750,00 deaths, and the two world wars of the 20th century. I was reminded of when I accompanied Rajmohan Gandhi to Moscow soon after the collapse of Soviet Communism. During a date with a senior official of the Communist Party, Rajmohan asked the party official how many Russian citizens had been killed under the Communist rule. Without a moment's hesitation the man said "Seventy-three million!"  Read more ...
We hope you enjoyed this issue of Breakthroughs. Please share this newsletter with your friends and forward it to those you know have a passion for trustbuilding. 

Thank you!
In this issue
Changing hearts and minds
Something is stirring in Memphis
The importance of global memory
Moving from polemics to dialogue
CSP Crowdfunding campaign
Shaken out of one's comfrot zone
The better angels of our nature
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Upcoming Events 

May 29-31 
The Value of Reconciliation: opportunity, equity and race, Tulsa, OK - The John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation is convening this fourth national symposium. Hope in the Cities will be presenting a workshop. For more information


June 21-22
Hope in the Cities Facilitator Training, Richmond, VA
- A 12-hour facilitator training  focused on building both competence and confidence in facilitating difficult and heated dialogues and discussions. Location: Richmond Hill. Time: Fri. 4:00 pm - Sat. 6:00 pm. For more information and to register  

June 26-July 23  

Caux Scholars Program, Switzerland - This introductory course on conflict transformation for emerging leaders focuses on transitional justice.  It takes place at the Initiatives of Change international conference center in Switzerland and scholars will attend some of these workshops.  For more information


November 8
Metropolitan Richmond Day 2013 - This lunch forum will be keynoted by Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president for program strategy at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Tme: 12:00-2:00pm, Location: Omni Richmond, 100 South 12th Street, Richmond, VA 23219. For more information
Caux Conferences 2013

Caux logo

June 29-July 3

Just governance  
Exploring the personal qualities needed for effective governance and structures which promote integrity and cooperation

July 3-7 
Healing history   
Overcoming racism, seeking equity, building communit

July 7-11
Dialogue on land and security
Share experience and build partnerships in restoring land, lives and peace.

July 13-19
Trust and integrity in the global economy  
Toward economic justice and environmental stability

July 24-30 
Children as actors in transforming society
The role of children and youth as active citizens

August 1-6 
Learning to live in a multicultural world
Imagining and co-creating a desired future in Europe through intergenerational and intercultural dialogue

August 7-12 
Seeds of inspiration
People sharing the inspiration that shaped their lives

More information available on the Caux website

Trustbuilding Book Cover

Read author    

Rob Corcoran's latest blog,

The Imam & The Pastor 


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

The Times (London)  

AAA flyer image An African Answer 

The second film about

the work of these two  

African peacemakers. 

Initiatives of Change

focuses on the link between personal and global change and seeks to inspire, equip, and engage individuals as trustbuilders.
It starts with listening and responding to the still small voice within, applying values of integrity to everyday living, and taking risks to bridge divides.

Visit ourwebsite 
for more information.
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