Breakthroughs banner new
September 2013              Newsletter of Initiatives of Change USA
Issue No. 23




In August, America marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. As a nation we reflected on how far we have come but also about how much still needs to be done for freedom and justice.

  50th anniversary march


Rajmohan Gandhi was among those who spoke to thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. (His remarks are printed below.) He reminded us of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s warning against what he called "the apathy of conformist thought." 

Relevant to these events is Dr. Gail Christopher's vision and the further evaluation by those who attended the Healing History, Overcoming Racism, Seeking Equity, Building Community conference in Caux, Switzerland. 


We draw your attention to upcoming events in Richmond, Virginia, scheduled in November, to mark 20 years of Healing the Heart of America. Please consider joining us for this special opportunity!  


Healing History - Caux, Switzerland
Bringing the spirit of Caux home

By Rob Corcoran

null In recent weeks many of the US delegates to the Healing History conference in Caux have expressed how the experience impacted them. At events in Washington and Richmond they discussed ways to implement their new perspectives and build on the global relationships. 


"I learned to listen in a different way, with no judgment," said Mary Ann De Trana from Richmond, VA, who told how since returning she had "made connections with Native Americans in a very intimate way" as a result of getting to know indigenous peoples while in Caux.

The chancellor of the University of Mississippi, Dr. Dan Jones, writes: "The conference was enlightening and inspiring. The speakers challenged some of my assumptions about race and offered me new ways of thinking. The opportunity to interact with people from around the world provided new context and insight into the challenging issues in my own community." The university is home to the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. Its executive director, Susan Glisson, was a participant along with the chancellor.

"I felt humbled looking at the suffering and wounds [of people from other continents], many of them so recent and severe," said Dr Edward Ayers, president of the University of Richmond. "I felt that if we could tell our story honestly and whole it can help others." He and other Richmonders reported to a packed room of community leaders, including a member of the Virginia General Assembly, a city council member, leading clergy, and representatives of corporations and nonprofits. Don King, a partner with McGuire Woods law firm, said he returned with an appreciation for "people of courage in their effort to discover and proclaim the truth." Read more ... 

Everyone carried away the challenging words of Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president for program strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, captured in this video. 



The conference report will be available soon. Photos, speeches, presentations and notes from the working groups are now online
The Caux Scholars Program 2013
Seeds of hope for Armenia and Azerbaijan

For many, the "Caux Experience" begins months before they actually set foot in this Swiss mountainside conference center. Visas, applications, and travel plans are just some of the practical hurdles that challenge scholars, not to mention the personal and spiritual battles that some face, before finally arriving at their destination. All 24 of the 2013 Caux Scholars have a story to tell about their experiences this summer but these two young women, who come from the South Caucasus region that has suffered decades of conflict, tell their story of finding seeds of hope for the future.
Anush and Lamiya (Photo: Karen Elliott Greisdorf)
Anush Araqelyan from Armenia


Participating in Caux Scholar Program was a turning point of my life. I decided to apply for the program, to present the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and get some support from the CSP participants and staff. The conflict had a direct impact on my family, which made me live with hatred towards all Azerbaijanis. I used to believe that there is no other solution for the conflict but war. However, the Caux Scholars Program totally changed my thoughts and plans.

The most challenging moment was a meeting with Azerbaijani participants since I had never met Azerbaijanis before. Thus, during the first week I was trying to overcome my fear in their presence, seeking to avoid conversation with them.

Read more ... 


Lamiya Adilgızı from Azerbaijan


I remember the first week of the program when we were both expected to give our presentation on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict - one conflict from two very different perspectives. I was looking forward to the presentation by Anush, as I was waiting to hear what this young generation of Armenians thinks about this decades-old conflict ... I wanted to hear solutions.  


Instead I saw an "armed" Anush in front of me -- so well prepared, delivering all the arguments that the Armenian government has voiced all these years. She was so young and so beautiful but it was like she was screaming all her hatred and prejudices about Azerbaijanis to the class.  


Then it was my turn to present the conflict. I had a choice: either to change my presentation and harshly respond to those arguments or to go with my original presentation and help the people understand the importance of a peaceful settlement based on people-to-people diplomacy and the role of young people from both nations in solving this dispute. Read more...

Hope in the Cities
HHA 20 years
20th Anniversary Events
 November 8-9, 2013

2013 MRD logo In 1993 Hope in the Cities, in partnership with Richmond Hill and the City of Richmond, launched a sustained movement of honest conversation on race, reconciliation and responsibility in Richmond, Virginia, that continues to gain momentum today. This citizen-led effort has resulted in a network including nonprofit and business sectors, local government and faith communities, media and education that share a commitment to honor our many different stories.

  • Metropolitan Richmond Day Lunch Forum - November 8, 12:00 noon - 2:00 pm 
    Omni Hotel, 100 S. 12th Street, Richmond, VA 23219
    Join leaders from Richmond's public and private sectors to hear keynote speaker Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president for program strategy at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan. Her expertise is the social determinants of health and public policy that impact minority populations. Dr. Christopher leads the America Healing Project, launched by the Foundation in 2010 to support programs that promote racial healing and address racial inequity, with the goal of ensuring that all children have a promising future. More information  and to register 
  • Walking the Historic Slave Trail - November 9,
    8:30 am - 12:00 pm

    The first Unity Walk in 1993 marked sites previously too painful or shameful to remember. Richmond became the first U.S. community to give its racial past such public and formal acknowledgement. Hope in the Cities and Richmond Hill invite you to walk through history on the historic Richmond Slave Trail. Meet at Richmond Hill (2209 E. Grace Street,Richmond, VA 23223) A bus will take us to Manchester Docks where enslaved Africans were brought to the city and also sold down the river to southern plantations. From there the slave trail follows a route to Lumpkin's Slave Jail. We conclude the walk at the Reconciliation Statue erected in 2007 to commemorate the international triangular slave trade. More information and to register

    NOTE: After the walk there will be lunch at Richmond Hill followed by a time for reflection and facilitated dialogue. Space is limited (first come first served) Cost of lunch $10. To register
  • Overnight at Richmond Hill - November 8
    2209 E. Grace Street, Richmond, VA 23223
    There are a limited number of spaces to overnight at the Richmond Hill retreat center for those coming from out-of-town to participate in this program. The hospitality includes dinner, breakfast as well as lunch following the walk and facilitated dialogue Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.

    NOTE: Total event cost for the Friday Forum, overnight at Richmond Hill and Saturday Slave Trail walk: $150. For more information call 804-358-1764. To register
March on Washington 50th Anniversary
Overriding loyalty to humankind 

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous "I have a dream" speech to the crowds attending the March on Washington. Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson and biographer of Mahatma Gandhi, was invited by Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Al Sharpton, on behalf of Communities Without Boundaries International, to join them on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for a commemorative event and to march from there to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. We print Rajmohan Gandhi's remarks: 

Rajmohan Gandhi Gandhi, my grandfather, never visited the US, but his heart was fully involved in the struggle of African Americans and Native Americans.

In February 1936, he had a meeting in a hut in western India with the philosopher Howard Thurman, then Dean of Rankin Chapel at Howard University, Thurman's wife Sue Bailey Thurman, who was a historian and a singer, and another Black couple, Edward and Phenola Carroll. At his request the four African Americans sang two spirituals for Gandhi, who then said: 

"Well, if it comes true, it may be through the [African Americans] that the unadulterated message of nonviolence will be delivered to the world." (62: 202) 

In 1967, four years after the 1963 march, Dr. King said in New York city,

"Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies...."

Dr. King added a warning against what he called "the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world." Read more ...

50th March on Washington 2
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.

 Printer-friendly version

Thank you!
In this issue
Bringing the spirit of Caux home
Seeds of hope for Armenia and Azerbaijan
Hope in the Cities - 20th anniversary events
Overiding loyalty to humanity
Please consider a
gift to IofC

Sixty percent of our support comes from people just like you!
No gift is too large
or too small.

Donate button 
Become a sustaining donor with a  
monthly gift! 
The Amazing Raise

Hope in the Cities

is participating in the  

2013 Amazing Raise

This 36-hour online giving campaign is organized by The Community Foundation of
Greater Richmond.


The Amazing Raise

 6:00 am, Sept. 18 - 

6:00 pm, Sept. 19

During these 36 hours, visit
and give!


Support Hope in the Cities! 

What is hope worth
 to you?
Raising Hope 
Raising Hope
This video about Hope in the Cities was created by Karen Elliott Greisdorf. It will be entered in the Amazing Raise competition. Like it and share on your Facebook page! 
Global Update
This issue features
steps towards reconciliation in South Sudan, Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace in Switzerland and Kenya, and the Dialogue on Democracy in Panchgani, India.

Two up-coming global events 

January 10-14, 2014
Making Democracy Real 
Learning from Democracy's Journey - Panchgani, India
For more information

February 14-19, 2014 
'Encuentro' of the Americas From the heart of the Americas weaving a community of change
Bogata, Columbia 
The Spiritual Vision of Frank Buchman  
Spiritual vision of FNDB
By Philip Boobbyer
Published by
Penn State College Press

Read the review on-line
 by Dick Ruffin

Order from you local bookstore or follow this link for a special discount offered online
The Power of Silence  
British journalist and author Graham Turner explores the world of silence ... and those who recognize its value.

 by Charles Aquilina

Order from you local bookstore
or on online

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.
Follow-up Links