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January 2014            Newsletter of Initiatives of Change USA
Issue No. 25




As we enter 2014 there is violence and turmoil in many parts of the world as people struggle for freedom and democracy. The death of Nelson Mandela, a giant for justice and reconciliation, reminds us of the courage and determination it takes to be a changemaker.


Lena Kashkarova, our Hope in the Cities intern from Ukraine, returned home in the midst of the demonstrations in Kiev. Now with the Foundations for Freedom team she is organizing grassroots dialogues between protesters and those who don't support the protest. She writes, "if it works out I'll have plenty of practice for everything I learned in Richmond!"


Over the past two decades the Caux Scholars Program has graduated more than 400 peacemakers, many of whom are now engaged in global conflict situations. This is one of the best ways to invest in a more peaceful tomorrow.

We feature the Caux Scholars Program in this issue. Who are the emerging leaders who should be at Caux next summer? Please help recruit the 2014 class and raise funds to provide those who have need with scholarships.


Also, read more about the April 4-6 "Indzaba." This is the name given to the 2014 IofC National Forum. The purpose of the "Indzaba" is to deepen and strengthen IofC's national network. This is your chance to help shape IofC's engagement in this country.

Caux Scholars 2014
Peacebuilding unpacked

The online application for the Caux Scholars Program 2014 (CSP) is now open. The dates for this year are July 20 - August 16.

The focus of the program is on the themes of justice, conflict transformation, and reconciliation. Beginning with key theoretical underpinnings and a multidisciplinary approach to concepts of justice, this course will highlight the contemporary applications of justice in current and post-war settings internationally.

This past year, post-CSP internships have provided further opportunities for leadership experience. Read more ...

This short video, Peacebuilding Unpacked, was made by Canadian Tim Hall (CSP 2013). It is a great recruiting tool. Please consider being a scholar in 2014 or pass this information on to others you think would be good candidates.

Caux Scholars in the Community
A listening community is a learning community

This year IofC USA introduced a new project, Caux Scholars in the Community, which recruits US scholars committed to building trust in their home communities. Amaha Sellassie from Dayton, OH, is a mediator in conflict transformation, trained by the US Institute of Peace, and is a facilitator for the Dayton Dialogue on Race Relations, a project inspired by Hope in the Cities. Rob Corcoran interviews him about his experience as a Caux Scholar and at the Healing History conference.

What are the issues that concern you most in Dayton? Where does your passion lie?

The biggest issue is lack of trust and cooperation. The more I study about trust I see that it is the key to everything. Without trust you can't have collaboration. There's a lot of great community work going on in Dayton but people are often operating in separate silos. So I am looking for ways to build trust and collaboration. I call it the "Switchboard" - connecting gifts with opportunities.

I am trying to develop a listening campaign to hear the experience of the marginalized within our community so that we can use this as the starting point of our organizing and coordinated activity, see where we are heading and what we are striving for collectively. Our theme is "A listening community is a learning community." It's hard to navigate the east-west divide (the east is largely white, the west is largely black) and get everyone talking together. Dayton has become known as a place that welcomes immigrants - there's a growing Turkish community and the city's "Welcome Dayton" initiative is picking up steam - but some of the older residents resent that newcomers are welcomed and not enough attention is given to needs in the existing community. The Switchboard is a way to collect stories from people and bring their voices to the center. This will help all the agencies to do their work better.
Read more ...
A worthwhile investment
Support can be make-or-break

Brian Kennedy retired as treasurer and finance division senior vice president of Health Care Service Corporation, America's largest non-investor-owned health insurer. He is a former IofC board member and parent of a Caux Scholar. Randy Ruffin talks to him about his support for the Caux Scholars Program:

Why do you think the Caux Scholars Program is important, or of special value at this time in the world?

A program like this one would be of obvious value at any time in the world. The Caux Scholars Program came into being, a remarkable burst of foresight, just after the Berlin Wall came down and just before Boris Yeltsin climbed up on that tank.

Probably many of us never expected to see this historic new world in our lifetimes. The verdict of the intervening two decades is clear: that the Caux Scholars Program is uniquely "supplying" a vital need that this tumultuous world is "demanding."

What have you observed about the impact of the program on participants that perhaps makes it different from other academic studies of conflict resolution/transformation?

Over the years I've been privileged to meet, learn from and be inspired by different Caux Scholars. I've been grateful for a kind invitation to sit in, on-site at Caux as early as July 1999, for a memorable actual training session. I've seen a graduated Caux Scholar come back down from the Mountain and encapsulate his own life-changing four weeks with the quietly conclusive words, "I get it." Read more ...
Join us at the Indzaba!
IofC National Forum, April 4-6, 2014

This is a Swahili word for an important community gathering.
It is the name given to the 2014 IofC National Forum. The purpose of the "Indzaba" is to deepen and strengthen IofC's national network.

This creative framework will engage people around their talents, experiences, and passions. It will provide a platform for conversations about opportunities for partnership and teamwork.

April 4-6, 2014 (Friday afternoon to Sunday noon) 
Location: Airlie Center, Warrenton, VA. (
Family Friendly: Spouses and partners are welcome. Children's programming will be designed as necessary.

People are asked to contribute what they can and scholarships are available according to need.

For more information on costs and to register. The program outline will be available soon.
Global Engagement
Making Democracy Real, Panchgani, India January 10-14 

A number of people from the United States have recently traveled to India to take part in the "Dialogue on Democracy, the next steps on democracy's journey."
Making Democracy Real A Dialogue in India 
Among the US delegation are Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America and a number of distinguished academics including Dr. Niraj Verma, dean of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government & Public Affairs at the Virginia Commonwealth University. Also attending are Charles Aquilina, Charlotte Freeman and Katie Hathaway from our IofC team.
Read more ...
Encuentro of the Americas, Bogota, Colombia February 14-19  

This hemispheric gathering aims to weave a community of change across barriers of language and a history that has not been without conflict.  
The organizers say, "Together, we will inspire each other, listen to each other, reconcile and build momentum for common action as a Community of the Americas."  Among those attending from the US are Tanya Gonzalez, manager of the City of Richmond's office of multicultural affairs and Martha Gonzales-Cortes, from Michigan, who is working on issues of immigration. Read more ... 


To donate directly online to the Heart of the Americas project, go to the Indiegogo Campaign website and make your contribution from there.  

Tackling problems from multiple angles

I am Tamara Hawes from the United States, where I work as a Congressional staffer. Participating as a 2013 Caux Scholar is a significant personal and professional highlight in my life. My fellow scholar, Laurin Hodge, summed up the ramifications of participating in the Caux Scholars Program: "this is the kind of 'yes' that changes everything, even if you don't know what everything is yet."  


While most of us unpack our physical belongings from our trip down the mountain as soon as we get home, I believe that each Caux Scholar will continue to unpack our academic and peace building lessons long after we return to our home countries.


The beauty of Caux, other than the picturesque physical location, is that you can meet with scholars from around the world, practitioners of peace, giants in specialized academic fields, and government and non-governmental officials. Scholars gain firsthand knowledge of what each other is doing in different parts of the world. We, as CSP scholars, then take that knowledge and modify it to our own unique conflicts in order to make a positive impact in our own communities. Read more ...  


Several of the Caux Scholars from the class of 2013 have written of their experience. 

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
Peacebuilding unpacked
A listening community is a learning community
Support can be make-or-break
Join us at the Indzaba!
Making democracy real
Encuentro of the Americas
Tackling probelems from multiple angles
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 Hope & inspiration
Check out the tools for change  in our books and media catalog


by Rob Corcoran


Read his latest blog,

AAA flyer image
The Imam & The Pastor  

 "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. 

Read more articles  online

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.

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