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March 2014            Newsletter of Initiatives of Change USA
Issue No. 26




In less than a month many of us will be gathered for the Indzaba. This national forum takes place at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, VA,

April 4-6. More information and registration is online. 


While world events are moving swiftly it is important to strengthen and build our network and take time for collective reflection.


If you want to be there, now is the time to register!


We have encouraged families to attend and we are delighted to see that a number of children of all ages will be there. 


This is also the moment to consider if you should be at one of the Caux conference in Switzerland this summer. The outline of the summer program is to the right and you will find a link to a brand new, short video Caux: the door is open, made by Karen Elliott Greisdorf, to introduce you to this "magical" place.  


A new partnership in Memphis
A place of pain can be a place of healing 
By Rob Corcoran

Photo: Karen Elliott Greisdorf
Memphis shares with Richmond a dark history of slavery and segregation. 

Hope in the Cities facilitators and IofC board members from Richmond, Washington and Dayton engaged with Memphis community leaders in a trustbuilding workshop and dialogue on February 8. The IofC board also held its Annual Meeting in Memphis for the first time. 


The catalyst for the event was the leadership of the Church Health Center (CHC), a faith-based organization that serves more than 60,000 people. Hosting the event was Calvary Episcopal Church. All visitors were welcomed to stay with local families.

Antony Sheehan, president of CHC, discussed the social determinants of health. "Health care and health are not synonymous. Ninety-five percent of spending is on health care and only five percent on health. Wellness, as well as illness, should be our focus." Social determinants include education, housing, parenting, and income. Race, of course, is a predominant underlying factor. Read more ...
From the heart of the Americas
Weaving a community of change

Rob Corcoran joined 70 people from 11 countries of the Americas and Caribbean for the 2014 "Encuentro" in Colombia. He writes of this time of fellowship, shared learning and partnership building. 

Bogota is a vibrant urban metropolis of more than eight million people. At an elevation of 8000 feet it is one of the highest capitals in the world. Colombia also has a vital growing Initiatives of Change (IofC) team. This month they hosted Encuentro 2014 - a gathering of more than 70 people from 11 countries of the Americas and Caribbean.
Photo: Chris Bereitenberg
Over the past six months I have been part of a coordination team with friends in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Canada, linked by email and Skype. It has been a great experience, overcoming barriers of distance, language and culture.

Tanya Gonzalez, who directs the office of multicultural affairs for the city of Richmond, joined me to represent the US at this time of fellowship, shared learning and partnership building. Arriving late at night we immediately experienced the warmth of Colombian hospitality. Read more ...

Caux Scholars 2014
Breaking records from day one
By Charlotte Freeman

The 2014 Caux Scholars Program is off to a record-breaking start, with 74 applications coming in from 38 different countries! With this depth of talent to choose from, there is no doubt that this year's class of Scholars will bring tremendous talent, passion, and inspiration to the Caux community this summer. Watch for updates as the Selection Committee completes their unenviable job of deciding which of these young people will make up CSP 2014!

We have confirmation that Dr. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, a senior research professor for trauma, forgiveness and reconciliation at the University of the Free State, South Africa, will be a guest lecturer for the 2014 program. She served on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Please consider how you can help raise the funds needed to make the hopes and dreams of each one a reality.

Meanwhile, experience CSP through the eyes of the scholars themselves in this newly released video by Karen Elliott Greisdorf! 

A fellowship opportunity in DC
Freak accidents or divine orchestration?
By Susan Corcoran

Following her experience with the Caux Scholars Program in 2013 Laurin Hodge is now working with Initiatives of Change in Washington, DC. Currently she is coordinating IofC's national forum, the Indzaba. Laurin sees herself piloting a rotating fellowship for returning Caux Scholars

Laurin Hodge wonders if her life in recent times has been a series of freak accidents, or possibly "divinely orchestrated." Some years ago she was on her way to medical school when a dear aunt and mentor encouraged her to re-evaluate her life. When this aunt died shortly afterwards there was a small inheritance for Laurin which allowed her to press the "pause button"' and take time to consider a new direction for her life. She discovered a passion for the marginalized in society and began a certificate program in Leadership Development for Minority Managers.

Born in the Washington, DC area Laurin grew up with an interest in justice issues and social entrepreneurship. When her mother was incarcerated for several years as a result of rule changes that meant her business scheme fell foul of the law, Laurin had her first exposure to the prison industrial complex. She was surprised to discover how many women were being imprisoned and at an increasing rate. Many were white collar workers in low level jobs in mortgage companies and other financial institutions that got caught up in the financial melt-down. Read more ...
The "magic of Caux" exported
The spirit of Caux in Texas and Mississippi

Reverend Sylvester "Tee" Turner
director of reconciliation programs for Hope in the Cities, served as a panelists at the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference in Texas. There he found a number of others who had been at Caux for the Healing History conference in 2013. He writes:

Over the past two decades I have attended a number of Initiatives of Change conferences in Caux, Switzerland. The "magic of Caux" is often talked about but it has always been hard to put a finger on just what that magic is. Well, recently while participating in the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, "Journey to Justice: Power in Our Testimony", in Dallas, Texas, I discovered the magic.

Dr. Iva Carruthers
 Photo: Karen Elliott Greisdorf
Dr. Iva Carruthers, general secretary of the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, was a participant at the Healing History Conference in Caux in 2013. She invited several other fellow participants to support her at this meeting in Texas. At the opening plenary, "Power in Our Testimony: For Our Children Yet Unborn," John Franklin of the National Museum of African American History and Culture was the keynote speaker. The panel of responders included Juanita Brown, co-producer of Traces of the Trade and myself.  All of us had been at Caux. The impact of the Caux experience was expressed by each participant and shared in a powerful way by John Franklin in his presentation...

Meanwhile, others from the Healing History conference were also building on the connections made at Caux. Dr Edward Ayers, the president of University of Richmond, and Christy Coleman, Co-CEO of the American Civil War Museum, were invited to the University of Mississippi by Chancellor Dan Jones, whom they met in Caux last summer. Read more ...
Global engagement
Promoters of peace

Charles Aquilina, responsible for Middle East and Interfaith Initiatives for IofC USA, recently made a short visit to Lebanon to meet with a courageous group who have chosen to be "promoters of peace." Charles writes:
Lena Charafeddine with Marie Chaftari

I had the joy of spending a week in Lebanon after attending the fine "Making Democracy Real" conference at Panchgani, India. My main reason was to be with four Lebanese friends,  Assaad Chaftarie, Muhieddine Chehab, Ramez Salame, and Ruweida Saleh who had visited Washington in 2005 to meet with Congressmen and others interested in their story. Norah Boustany, who covered the Lebanese Civil War for a dozen years, described this in the Washington Post as how "Formerly Bitter Enemies Become Promoters of Peace."

I wanted to learn more about what keeps these friends going when their country seems to be constantly in a state of crisis. Currently, it is suffering from the spillover of the Syrian conflict and the influx of well over one million Syrian refugees. Recently there has been a spate of car bombings and targeted political killings.

On my first evening I was with a group of 20 who were attending their bi-weekly meeting which follows a simple formula - some news or reflection followed by a long time of quiet and then simple sharing of their thoughts. I was in the presence of a senior judge, former militia leaders, lawyers, Muslims and Christians coming from all the various communities of Lebanon. Read more ...
Trust and integrity in the global economy  
Michael Smith is head of Business Programs at Initiatives of Change in the UK and the author of  "Trust and Integrity in the Global Economy." He is visiting the US to meet with business leaders and entrepreneurs who are committed to responsible business practices and building healthy communities. This article appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Excerpts are printed with permission. 

Let us, for a moment, stand Lenin's infamous dictum-that "the ends justify the means"-on its head. Sorry, Vladimir Ilyich, you got it wrong. Time and again, we are shown that it is the means that determine the ends rather than the other way round.

This is what happened in banking and financial services which led to the crash of 2008. Not only greed but sheer dishonest means led to a disastrous end. You cannot possibly pretend that those who have no collateral can sustain their mortgage repayments. No amount of "slicing and dicing" of obscure derivatives, in order to spread the risk, was ever going to overcome the underlying dishonest premise.

In the UK such mortgage lending became known as "liar loans", when customers when encouraged to fabricate their incomes.
We in London, where I live, are in no position to point the finger of blame at Wall Street. Dishonesty continued in UK banking long after the crash. We have been reeling from the manipulation of LIBOR, the London Inter-Bank Offer Rate, which sets key interest rates; the scandal of HSBC's money laundering in Mexico; and the miss-selling of Payment Protection Insurance to customers who could not benefit from it. Lloyds Banking Group alone has set aside 9.8 billion to cover compensation to cheated customers. That's about half the total being paid back by UK banks.

Since 2008, nearly 6,000 London banking and financial service staff have been dismissed because of corruption, dishonesty or excessive risk taking. Things are beginning to change. CEOs are waking up to a new reality. Barclay's Bank CEO Anthony Jenkins outlines five values-respect, integrity, service, excellence and stewardship-which he expects all his staff to "live and breathe."

This is also what brings me back to Richmond, where I lived for four months in the 1980s. It is here in the USA and amongst US business people that I find signs of hope, despite the real hurts that many in the business community have suffered, following the market crash. 
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
A place of pain can be a place of healing
Weaving a community of change
Breaking records from day one
Freak accidents or divine orchestration?
The spirit of Caux in Texas and Mississippi
Promoters of peace
Trust and integrity in the global economy
Reflections from Ukraine
Rebooting democracy
Investing with sustainablity in mind
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Reflections from Ukraine

Lena Kashkarova
is one of the courageous young leaders of Initiatives of Change in Ukraine who interned with Hope in the Cities last fall. Rob Corcoran has included her most recent reflections in his blog
Pain and hope in Ukraine"
Rebooting democracy 
Making Democracy Real
Alex Nuwagaba at the dialogue with other CSP alumni from Africa
Several Caux Scholar alumni participated in the
Making Democracy Real dialogue in Panchgani, India. Alex Nuwagaba (CSP 2013) from Uganda has written his "Reflections on democracy from India." A full report of the dialogue is online and you can also read an excellent article about the conference written by Salman Rashid from Pakistan.
DC Interfaith Network
Investing with sustainability in mind


An event in Washington, DC, organized by the DC Interfaith Network and the SAIS Student Middle East and North Africa Club at Johns Hopkins University, was aimed at demystifying Islamic finance and investing and demonstrating the commonalities of values-based investors of all types.

 Read more ... 

Caux Conferences  2014
Caux: the door is open 

This short video by Karen Elliott Greisdorf introduces you to the Caux conference center. 

June 30-July 4 
Caux dialogue on land and security

July 5-10 
Trust and integrity in the global economy

July 12-17 
Just governance for human security

July 20-24 
Seeds of inspiration

July 26-August 1 
Children as actors for transforming society

August 3-8  
Living in a multicultural world

August 10-13  
International peace-builder's forum

More information available on the Caux website
2014 Caux Artists Program

In 2014 the Caux Artists Program will return to Caux with an expanded interdisciplinary summer course in drama, music theater, 
vocal music and the humanities. Apply now!
2013 Caux Conference  Reports

Read online or order hard copies from the IofC office 
 Hope & inspiration
Check out the tools for change  in our books and media catalog


by Rob Corcoran


Read his latest blog,

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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. 

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 our website 
for more information.
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