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                                       Summer 2014




This summer, Caux alumni will help lead and participate in the CSP reunion and the International Peacebuiders conference. It will be great to learn from and be challenged by them and to watch as they re-experience the beauty and power of Caux. As part of the process, they may discover a deeper sense of self and purpose through the realization that interdependence with others and our environment is critical to human survival and development.

Our hearts go out to all the alumni who are currently facing hardships and uncertainties. We are glad to highlight in this issue the article by BBC reporter Abdujalil Abdurasulov (CSP 2003), from Kyrgyzstan, about his view of the current situation in Ukraine. Dr. Stauffer's article focuses on the issue of corruption as a peacebuilding issue of critical concern. Hala Fleihan Halawi (CSP 2004) from Lebanon reflects on the ten years since her participation in CSP. Tanja Peric (CSP 1996), from Bosnia and Herzegovina, writes about her work with Roma in the field of human rights in Europe.

On June 5th, we had an exciting CSP fundraiser in Washington, DC, for the 2014 class which brought together 11 alumni, whose testimonials about the program helped us reach the fundraising goal for the evening. During the event, we shared several videos from our upcoming class, which you can find on our website. Two couples, Brian and Katie Kennedy and Kenny and Debbie Robison, were honored as Sponsors of the Year. "Giving young people tools that can be used to help transform conflicts is a worthy goal," said Kenny Robison in his remarks (read below).  


We are so grateful to all of our generous supporters. As Voltaire would say, "appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well."  


From the Academic Director
Corruption as structural violence

Carl Stauffer
, PhD, Academic Director of the Caux Scholars Program

We often think of corruption as an economic development or political governance issue. I would like to propose that corruption is a peacebuilding issue of critical concern. I would argue that corruption is a form of structural violence and therefore connected to the notion and goals of peacebuilding. Most conversations about corruption start with laments over the breakdown of personal ethics and/or societal morality. However, I maintain that if corruption is widespread enough in any given society, it becomes regenerative as a system. In other words, it develops a self-perpetuating "life of its own" like all other forms of systemic violence do. Rational choice theory would tell us that corruption originates from individuals making calculated choices of self-interest - a kind of cost-benefit analysis regarding the risks and advantages of participating in corruption. While it is tempting to adopt a simple solution to a complex problem like corruption, those of us who have lived and worked in societies rife with corruption know that it is not that easy.

From a systems perspective, corruption has many driving factors and characteristic elements that place it in the category of oppressive, structural violence. Corruption, like endemic violence, may be better understood as a public health issue. It is a socio-political and economic disease whose destructive legacies and aftermaths are pandemic in proportions and nature. At the foundation of this conversation, it is incumbent on us to acknowledge that corruption is one of the outgrowths of widespread poverty and inequality around the Globe. It represents a legacy of the yawning gap between the rich and the poor plaguing most countries worldwide. One could say that corruption is like the often ignored, "unwanted child" of our dominant global economic system - one that promotes unregulated capital accumulation, profit, greed, self-preservation and the commodification of human labor. Read more ...  
Stories from CSP alumni in the field
Minority rights in Europe: Roma

Tatjana Peric
(CSP 1996), from Bosnia and Herzegovina, writes about her work in the field of human rights of Roma in Europe:

It all started almost by accident. In the winter of 1998 - two years after my summer as a Caux Scholar - I was studying human rights and religious freedom at Columbia University in New York. One day a Czech colleague took me to a panel about the human rights of Roma, a subject I knew nothing about. Soon after that I moved to South Africa to conduct research in relation to my studies. Inspired by the panel, I began seeking information on Roma, and from the reports I read I realized that I had simply accepted the poverty, lack of education, unemployment and social status of Roma as they were, never even acknowledging, let alone challenging, the ways in which the Roma are stigmatized and discriminated against by non-Roma.

Some time later, I started working for the European Roma Rights Centre, a non-governmental organization based in Budapest (Hungary), and my first research trip was to Novi Sad, a city in Serbia where I had been a university student. This trip was an eye opener: in a city where I had lived for years I visited large Roma settlements that I did not even know existed, where thousands of people lived lives completely invisible to me and other people like me. Just next to us, many Roma lived in shantytowns, in deplorable living conditions, and most children did not go to school. (My later work in the field has shown that, in many countries across Europe, Roma live under very similar circumstances.) At that time I realized how ironic it was of me to travel all the way to South Africa to conduct research, when there was evidence of discrimination and segregation right in front of me. And that is how my journey began. Read more ...

A big part of who I am today
Hala Fleihan Halawi (CSP 2004), from Lebanon is currently Community Outreach Coordinator at the American University in Beirut. She reflects on the ten years since her participation in CSP:

Ten years ago, around this time of the year, I never would have thought that making the decision to participate in the Caux Scholars Program (CSP) would have shaped a big part of who I am today on so many levels.

In an article about CSP I wrote nearly 10 years ago, I said:

"The Caux Scholars Program has been a great transformation for me. I can't put my finger on how I've been fully transformed but I know that time will allow me to process all I have learned and appreciate the value this program has had on me. I will take with me the knowledge acquired and lessons learned from my fellow scholars, mentors, friends made from the House and share these experiences with my community. I will enrich their minds and hearts with my stories and help them find their great passion and strengthen their beliefs in achieving it. I hope one day to be able to stand up and share my experiences with people who seek guidance and love."

In retrospect, my experience at this peaceful, serene and breathtaking meeting place on the top of a beautiful mountain they call Caux, was a transforming stepping stone to get me where I am on my journey of self-discovery and sharing my gifts with the world. It taught me that no matter where you are, you can make change in that moment, with the people closest to you. For me, the CSP experience reflects a mirror image of what the world should look like. The power of celebrating unity and diversity under one roof is not only so strongly felt but intentionally revealed. Read more ... 
Civil society in action


Abdujalil Abdurasulov, (AJ) CSP 2003 from Kyrgyzstan, is a reporter and journalist working for the BBC. AJ covers news and current affairs with a focus on Central Asia, Russia, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. He writes of his experience in Ukraine:

One of the most striking things I witnessed in Kiev in February was how quickly people organized various services without any support or involvement from the state.


I arrived in the Ukrainian capital on February 20th, the last and the worst day of the killings in Maidan. "I can't get you in to the square, it's not safe," my colleague told me. So I wandered around and went to the Mikhaylosvkiy cathedral, which had been turned into a makeshift hospital. The bustling yard of the cathedral looked chaotic at first sight, but I soon realized that there were many things going on at the same time, and yet it was quite organized.


In one corner volunteers were sorting out the medicine people donated to treat the wounded from Maidan. A few meters away, there was a "field kitchen", where anyone could come and eat. I kept stumbling onto an old babushka who was distributing tea. Further away, there was a huge pile of clothes people brought for those who were spending nights in Maidan. It was winter and warm clothes were badly needed.


The wounded were kept inside the building, but by the time I arrived it was empty as they were either discharged or transferred to a proper hospital. Before the 20th of February there were cases when wounded were detained by police as soon as they were brought to hospitals. Hence places like Mikhaylovskiy cathedral were so busy. Read more ...

Breaking the cycle of corruption

Daniya Baisubanova
(CSP 2007) from Kyrgyzstan, reports on an occasion to present the book Ghagba at the National Press Club, Washington, DC:

I feel honored to meet outstanding fellow Caux Scholars whose innovative work is making a difference. Robtel Neajai Pailey, a Ph.D. Student at School Of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), is one of them. She is an author of a children's book on corruption called Gbagba, which means "trickery" in her native Bassa language. She presented her book at National Press Club in an event organized by Kathy Aquilina, whom Robtel called "warmth personified" for longtime support of Caux Scholars.

Robtel presented her work along with Seren Fryatt, who runs a nonprofit called Life and Change Experienced thru Sports (L.A.C.E.S.). They both shared their insights on the problem of corruption and their efforts to address it by focusing on children.

Robtel's quest for addressing corruption started when she realized how persistent it is in all aspects of life in Liberia. She noticed the systemic lack of integrity among Liberian youth who learn about lying and corruption from their parents. "Kids are innocent and honest until they are taught not to be" she said. Thus, Robtel became interested in countering corruption and deceit at a grassroots level working with kids. The book is targeting eight to 10-year-old children as "at this age they start developing their ethical standards."

Robtel wrote Gbagba in 2013, which has since become a hit and has received endorsement from a number of governments and private institutions. She is pushing the Liberian Ministry of Education to introduce the book into Liberian curricula for third to fifth graders. For every three books sold, one book goes to a Liberian school. Robtel is already working on a sequel, which she plans to publish in 2016.  Read more ...
Meet a CSP 'Sponsor of the Year'

Kenny Robison is  a veteran of the United States army and is currently employed as an economist at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC.  His wife, Debbie, is the accountant for Initiatives of Change. At a recent Caux Scholars fundraising event they were honored as "Sponsors of the Year," along with Brian and Katie Kennedy from Chicago.  


Debbie and I do not make contributions to what we deem worthy causes in order to be recognized. Rather, the Caux Scholars Program is a program that we believe in. Giving young people tools that can be used to help transform conflicts is a worthy goal.

Many of the program participants we have met exhibit a confidence that is contagious. But it takes a strong sense of courage to work as peacebuilders. Just getting people to look at themselves and recognizing that maybe they are the ones who need to change is a really big deal. A person wanting to do peacebuilding work is very admirable to me.

Tomorrow is the seventh anniversary of "D-Day."  I think of my Uncle Edgar who was one of the soldiers in the initial assault on Omaha Beach. Among the injuries he sustained was the loss of one eye and damage to the other. Uncle Edgar didn't tell war stories but he was a great teacher. The great lesson that I learned from him was that "Life goes on and that it can be good." 

After my injuries in Vietnam in December 1968, I have tried to remember how Uncle Edgar lived. "Life goes on and it can be good."  On Valentine's Day 2011, I began a fitness program with Jill, a medical exercise specialist who practices near our home. The first exercise she taught me was to lift my big toes off the floor. Getting my balance, flexibility, and strength back into harmony is one of our goals.

One major injury was in my left arm. The doctors said that I had a damaged nerve and that the numbness in my left hand would get progressively weaker as I aged. Jill's response to that was "well, let's see about that!" Read more ...
We hope you enjoyed this issue of Cauxmunique. Please share this newsletter with your friends and forward it to those you know have a passion for peacebuilding.

Thank you!
Follow-up Links

HIC on Facebook
In this issue
Corruption as structural violence
Minority rights in Europe: Roma
A big part of who I am today
Civil society in action
Breaking the cycle of corruption
Meet a 'CSP Sponsor of the Year'
Believe it or not, 
you are just a click away from changing the world!

Support our fundraising campaign and help us raise
the scholarship funds
needed for 2014!
Donate online or send checks to our office payable to  
Initiatives of Change  
Join the CSP Reunion!
Revisit Caux this summer 
  August   8-10  
Meet your classmates and other Caux Scholars.

Great model for fundraising!
Many of us don't have ready cash to donate to CSP, so some, like Ednah Kang'ee (CSP 2011), are using creative strategies to fund training for emerging leaders.  

Ednah has a lovely African Craft Collection from Kenya which she is offering in exchange for donations to the
Caux Scholars Program:
Lap top and jewelry cases, clutch purses, beaded belts, earrings, necklaces and other high quality items are available. 

For more information email CSP
The class of 2014

Afghanistan: Shair Ahmad Azizi (Journalism, Kabul University) is a Donor Relations Specialist at the Ministry of Higher Education in Kabul. He volunteers with Mahboba's Promise, a nonprofit that runs Hope Houses for orphans and widows.

Zara Harutyunyan is pursuing her MA in Human Rights and Democratization in Yerevan. Zara works at the Human Rights Educational Center (HREC).

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Sasa Denic (Masters of Engineering, University of Novi Sad) is a research analyst with a Social Housing Program, an EU Project Consultant, managing projects for a Roma Youth Organization.   


Colombia: Diana Franco (Masters Clinical Psychology, Universidad del Norte) is a teacher at the University del Rosario in Bogotá and conducts a social program in the Colombian Society of Psychoanalysis, providing pro bono psychological and psychoanalytical consultation.


India: Prerna Rathi (International Studies, Development and Conflict Resolution, American University in Washington, DC) attended the European Union Program in Brussels and was awarded AU's Honors Capstone Grant for a thesis project on "The Power of Dialogue."   


Kenya:  Daisy Kosgeiis pursuing a MS in Development Studies at Moi University, while working with UNDP as a Peace Monitor in Uasin Gishu County. She also implemented programs on peaceful elections with USAID.

Lebanon: Myriam Aziz(Political Science and International Affairs, Lebanese American University) works for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the registration site, determining refugees' status and providing counseling to Syrian refugees.   


Mali (resides in Belgium): Drissa Kanambaye (MA and PhD candidate in Information and Communication, Université Libre de Bruxelles) is the founder and director of the I Kanda Organization, focusing on fighting poverty and improving medical support in Dogon, Mali.  He writes for Yambola Magazine. 

Mexico (resides in UK): Chris Forbes (International Relations & Anthropology, Sussex University) for nine years has led peacebuilding workshops in Croatia, France, Austria and Central America, researched corruption, and continues to advocate for minority rights. He joined Conciliation Resources as an IT Assistant.  

Philippines: Jean Alia Robles (MA in Peace Education at the University for Peace in Costa Rica and a MA in Public Administration) is an Army Captain in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.  She was awarded the highest award bestowed by the Philippine military for civil-military operations.

Philippines: Katherine Christine Woodbright (International Politics and History Jacobs University, Bremen) has been doing a research internship for Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker - Centre for Science and Peace Research, responsible for research on the effective implementation of confidence building measures within the biological Weapons Convention.  

Maria Kochneva (International Relations, Tomsk State University) teaches English at Tomsk State University and also at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Her interests include international security, and learning foreign languages (English, German, Spanish, and Arabic).


Rwanda: Nadine Umutoni is studying Communication, Peace, Social Justice and Sociology at Berea College in the US.  She is the Service-Learning Program Manager at the Center for Excellence in Learning through Service and the Community Friendship Program Coordinator at the Center for International Education. 

Sierra Leone: Andrew Benson Greene (English, Civil Law and International Relations, University of Sierra Leone) is CEO & Founder of B-Gifted, Sierra Leone, focusing on technology and human rights of children in conflict.

South Sudan: Ohide Joseph Tartisio (MAS in Peace and Conflict Transformation, WPA, UNibas-Switzerland) is Acting Program Manager for Peacebuilding and Governance for Catholic Relief Services, working on grassroots inter-ethnic dialogues to reduce conflict within the local communities and state government.   

Sri Lanka:
  Mohamed Rahmathullah (MA in Peacebuilding, Coventry University, UK and a MA in Development Studies and Public Policy at Open University, Sri Lanka) is a Monitoring and Reporting Officer at UN-Habitat. 

(residing in South Africa): Redempta Rwebangira is pursuing her Masters in Conflict Transformation and Peace studies at the University of KwaZulu Natal.  She works at the University as an Information Access Officer and is currently interning with IofC in India.

Ukraine:  Antonina Didyk (National Pedagogical University) works as an English teacher and organizes projects such as: "Dialogue on searching for understanding in Ukrainian society," and "Alternatives to Violence," and The Oppressed Theater performances.

USA:  Janelle King
is pursuing a degree in International Affairs, with a concentration in Political Science and Criminology at Florida State University. She volunteers with PeaceJam, With Words, Take Back the Tap-Sustainable Campus, the American Red Cross, and the Refuge House.

USA:  Jacob Sharpe
(University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) works at the Nashville International Center for Empowerment, where he assists immigrants in adapting to life in Tennessee. Jacob researches and writes articles on human rights, foreign affairs, and armed conflict in the Middle East and Africa for the Humanitarian Intervention Center.

USA: Daniel Sullivan is pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts at the Extension School of Harvard University. He was a legislative aide and the Chief of Staff to the Dean of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Daniel chairs the young professional group of the UN Association of Greater Boston. 
Video messages from some of the 2014 Class

Shair Ahmad Azizi - Afghanistan
Shair Ahmad Azizi - Afghanistan
Diana Franco - Colombia
Diana Franco - Colombia
Prerna Rathi - India
Prerna Rathi - India
Jean Alia Robles - Philippines
Jean Alia Robles - Philippines
Antonina Didyk - Ukraine
Antonina Didyk - Ukraine

Caux Scholars is a program of
Initiatives of Change

IofC USA focuses on the link between personal and global change and seeks to inspire, equip, and engage individuals as peacemakers and 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.